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STROKES ARE BASED ON 'FEEL' NOT MECHANICS!
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
One practice drill, two misconceptions!
Welcome to Tom's Online Tennis Lesson, sponsored by TennisWarrior.com, "Where you can learn to think like a pro!"
Here is the scenario. You are practicing your volleys with a player who is hitting groundstrokes to you from the baseline. Your coach instructs you to volley the ball right back to that player. This is excellent training in practice play. After you hit a few balls you turn to your coach and whine, "I don't want to practice this! When I get in a match I want to hit the ball away from my opponent, not right back to my opponent." This complaint is followed by, "Besides, it's easy to hit the ball back to my partner when he hits it right to me. How is that practice going to help?"
MISCONCEPTION #1 - Not taking responsibility for your own thinking
Hitting right back to your opponent in practice drills does NOT condition you to hit right back to your opponent in a match. It DOES condition you to control your shots. The reason you are not hitting the ball away from your opponent in a match is because you lack control. Coaches are on the court hitting tennis balls right to their students all day long. If that coach plays a match do you think he will hit the ball right to his opponent every time? I don't think so! He has control of his own thinking and is able to shift gears from practice to match play.
Misconception #1 is that same old victim mentality that announces to the world that you take no responsibility for what you think or do, and you blame everyone and everything else. The rationalization goes like this: "It's not my fault that I can't hit the ball away from my opponent in match play, it's my practice drill's fault. Come to think of it, it's my coach's fault! He told me to do that drill." Does that sound like a Champion's mentality? When you think that hitting back to your opponent in practice will make you hit back to your opponent in match play you are surrendering control of your game to the winds of fate and happenstance. Hitting right back to your opponent as a practice drill is an excellent way to develop control of your game. Once your control improves you will then be able to hit away from your opponent in matches. Stop shifting the blame to the drill, your coach or your great uncle in Peoria! This whiney "not my fault"stuff is not going to fly.
MISCONCEPTION #2 - Denial
So you think you can volley the ball back to your hitting partner all day long if he is hitting it right to you? Many players have made that comment, but I have NEVER had one player who was able to control the ball consistently back to his practice partner...NOT ONE! Somehow the student truly believes that hitting right back to the hitting partner is easy. Denial? Delusion? Flights of fancy? Whatever!
Whatever the problem is, volleying right to the opponent on the baseline as a practice drill is fantastic! You can and will improve your volleys. You will have a huge advantage over the other players who give in to these two misconceptions and practice this way very little. As a result they unknowingly sabotage their own game!
Helping players understand these misconceptions and continue this type of training can be extremely challenging for coaches. Tom Landry, the former coach of the Dallas Cowboys, once quipped, "Coaching is getting players to do what they do not want to do, in order to achieve what they want to achieve."
How true it is!
Your Tennis Pro,
I just got into tennis 4 months ago and I improved a lot by following your principles about Tennis Warriors. I am writing you this letter because I know that I owe it to you. You see, when I started playing tennis in October (my first time) I immediately had a feel. But after a few weeks I started to get conscious and frustrated. I was told that I need to learn the basics and should attend a clinic. Fortunately, I saw your website, downloaded your Tennis Myths & Truths, and slowly but surely started developing a more consistent and focused game. It gave me much-needed confidence that I didn't have before because of the widely accepted principle that says, "To improve your game, you have to go to a clinic and establish a foundation." But, like you said, it helps but it doesn't necessarily mean you are assured of greatness.
As an official testimony to you and other Tennis Warriors, I recommend everybody to apply the principles in your books and website and they will be assured of a more practical and successful tennis career.
Thank you and best regards.
ADDENDUM: 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 you and your children to a better understanding of the developmental process.
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