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February 1, 2002
Have you had a paradigm shift yet?


Welcome to all the new subscribers to my email tennis lessons.  You will receive one long lesson on the first of every month and some quick tips in between.

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All past email lessons are posted at my website under "Archives" from 1 January 1998 to 1 February 2002. www.tenniswarrior.com


1.  "The greatest mistake a man can make is to be afraid of making one."

Elbert Hubbard

2.  "The next shot is more important than the last mistake."

Tom Veneziano

3. There are many ‘perfect' tennis players with ‘perfect' technical strokes out there, but I can tell you one thing, they are not in the top ten professionals of the world because the top ten are swinging, jumping, diving, and flailing at the ball with controlled abandonment!

4. Remember the basic principles for learning tennis with my system is to develop a ‘feel' for different strokes along with developing mental skills through REPETITION.  Repetition of simple procedures create that ‘feel' NOT an over emphasis on the technical skills and mechanics.  Click here for an article that I wrote on 'feel' vs 'mechanics' in April 2001

Tom's Online Tennis Lesson
Have you had a paradigm shift yet?

Welcome to Tom's Online Tennis Lesson, sponsored by TennisWarrior.com, "Where you can learn to think like a pro!"
One of my favorite word combinations is "paradigm shift."  A paradigm is an example, pattern or model.  When you have a paradigm shift you shift your reality in a certain pattern or model that you believed to be true.  Many times it's the difference between theoretical knowledge versus application knowledge.

Many years ago I had a paradigm shift in tennis.  I had preconceived ideas about the way you learn and play tennis based on traditional and accepted truths.  When teaching I often remember thinking, why am I teaching my student this technique, when I do not do it myself?   I dismissed the doubt and kept teaching figuring this is the way it is supposed to be done.  I thought, I'm a pro and my students can not do what I can do yet.  

Then, the next haunting dilemma popped into my mind.  Exactly at what point do my students abandon this so called correct way and begin playing the way I was playing.  Unknowingly I was TEACHING a rigid, robotic type of game with all this emphasis on technique, but I was PLAYING a more free flowing automatic instinctive game with entirely different techniques.  Now what?   I began questioning the conventional wisdom and experimenting on my own.  

I remember one of my first breakthroughs.  When my students hit a groundstroke and stumbled off balance I would say, "try to stay still and balanced after the shot."  Of course, when I played I didn't stay still and balanced.  Instead I recovered to be ready for the next shot by jumping off the ground if necessary.  This prompted me to experiment with my students.  I had a hunch that if I said nothing when my students fell off balance eventually their balance would improve by itself.  Week after week I said nothing and watched astonishingly as my student slowly went from stumbling all over the place to a more controlled recovery similar to the pros.  What I was trying to force them to learn was happening automatically by sheer repetition and challenging their body to figure it out. 

It seemed like a miraculous breakthrough at the time, but when I thought about it what was happening was exactly the same principle we all used when learning to ride a bicycle.  You simply fall off balance over a over again until your balance improves and you learn to ride.  You do not learn to ride a bicycle by trying to stay in one spot still and balanced.   In fact it's funny to even think about it.  Tennis is also a moving game.  You do not efficiently learn balance by standing still and balanced in one spot.  From day one you must practice recovering by allowing yourself to fall off balance until your balance improves...it works!

I began challenging many of my conventional teaching methods and replacing them with more automatic, instinctive techniques that are the signature of a champion.  My books, tapes, web site, and newsletter are a result of that paradigm shift.

With this newsletter I want to encourage you to keep experimenting, explore new options and have your own paradigm shift.   Many of you are beginning or have already had this shift.  The testimonial under READER FEEDBACK at the end of this lesson is an excellent example.  Make sure you read it.  

Tennis is a magnificent game that anyone can play in a more automatic instinctive mode. Yes, learn some correct procedures, but in your matches you must learn to let go mentally and just play without over analyzing every technical failure.  Try to breakout out of that confined box mentality that conventional methods stuff you into which tends to make perfect conventional techniques and form the reason why you win.  Psssst, here's a secret...the pros don't play that way either.

As I have mentioned before this does not mean to play sloppy tennis and to abandon all technique.  But, you must learn to play more automatically with the game you possess on any given day, even if it is not technically correct according to conventional wisdom.  Learn to let go and let it happen. 

To help you with your paradigm shift; if a pro were to take a conventional lesson he would be incorrect in just about everything he does!

Can't you just hear a conventional lesson given to a top pro.  You know Pete, you have a few problems.  Here is a list of some of them:

  • You jump off the ground on most of your shots.

  • You swing upward instead of outward.

  • You hit entirely too much with an open stance.

  • Your racket preparation is much too late.

  • You are not staying still and balanced on each shot.

  • You definitely are not staying down through the stroke.

  • You are hitting too many times with your body weight moving backward.

  • Your knees are not always bent.

  • Your racket head drops below your wrist too many times.

  • And you are rolling your wrist on your groundstrokes just about every time.

In short, you're a mess!  I think you need about ten hours of lessons a week for the next year to straighten all of this out. 

Pete Sampras responds, "but I just won Wimbledon!"

Your email tennis pro,

Tom Veneziano

APPENDUM:  I teach a total system of thinking in regard to stroke production and mental attitude which I cannot explain in one email.  Although each lesson can stand alone you will derive tremendous physical and mental benefit by understanding the total philosophy.  These emails, my web site, books, and tapes are part of a course in tennis, not just isolated tennis tips.  They all fit together into a system.  A system that once understood can help you not only learn tennis at a faster rate, and develop mental toughness, but also give you the knowledge necessary to help guide yourself and your children to a better understanding of the developmental process.
Click here for more information about my books and tapes 



"Hi Tom,
I wanted to tell you about how excited I am about this system of yours. I started by finding your web site by accident.  While searching a tennis shopping site your site was advertised at the top.  I went to it and was intrigued.  I registered for the free e-mail and from the first online lesson I found the archives section.  I copied all of those lessons, ordered both your books and the complete tape series.  I have read all the online lessons and I'm rereading them.  I have read one of your books and listened to the tapes six times.  I am noticing improvement in my game already and I am allowing myself time to develop these mental principles and not get angry with myself.  I was one of those players who always over emphasized the technical.  I started playing and learning tennis in 1967.  At this time this was the style.  I used to teach this way in the 70's.  It was the only method I knew.  Things like, "keep your eye on the ball," "plant your feet," "hit the ball out front," etc...!  The information you have put together is so refreshing I am filled with so much hope.  My goal is to move from a 4.0 rating to a 5.0 in a year.  I believe armed with this new information I will succeed.  I just wanted to say thanks and let you know that not only do I agree with your teaching, but I am another bit of proof it works.  I will keep you posted on the progress of my goals.  My name is Bob Fraser.  I live in Central California and the tournaments are about to begin in February.  Here we go, sold out to be a "Tennis Warrior," till mental toughness is the major factor of my game.  Thanks again Tom."

Bob Fraser, Clovis, California

Click here for more information about my books and tapes

Copyright © 2002 Tom Veneziano. All rights reserved


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