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November 2, 2008
Panic creates pandemonium!


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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
Panic creates pandemonium!

If you have been playing tennis well, then suddenly you go into a slump, DO NOT PANIC! Thinking goes out the window when panic comes in the door. Just relax, wait out the cycle and the slump will change. Above all, do not go gallivanting around from pro to pro or from teammate to teammate asking for advice and a solution. Everyone will have an opinion and the advice will vary from person to person, which will distract and confuse you even more. Stop! Take a deep breath! Think, and remember that no one is perfect. When you are on a losing streak, it seems like you have a smorgasbord of problems to choose from. The truth is, you are always doing something wrong, even when you are in a winning streak. This is true for all players. The difference is when you are winning, no one notices your flaws, even though they still exist.

This is also true about the pros. Look at what they were saying about Roger Federer in the recent, so-called major slump he was supposed to be in. Boris Becker, the great German player, when commentating at the US Open this year said, "Roger is just not moving correctly any more. He takes too many big steps and not enough short steps when moving to the ball. This is one of his big problems now." Of course, Roger has always taken long, flowing steps and always floats around the court when he plays, but now that he has lost a few matches he no longer moves correctly. Impressive, isn't it? Roger (with his lousy footwork) just won the US Open in the same tournament that Boris Becker made that comment. Now everyone will think his footwork is fine once again!

When your game is struggling, you will find yourself receiving an abundance of unsolicited advice. This happens to the pros also. Below is a excerpt from an interview with Roger Federer posted at www.usopen.org after he won the US Open title.

"Q. You mentioned you lost a few tournaments. Did that bother you that there seemed to be this growing conventional wisdom that Roger Federer has had a great career but he may have peaked at this point and he's on the downside. Did that ever get to you?

"ROGER FEDERER: No, I don't think it got to me, but I was aware of it. I mean, I'm a bit disappointed. Sometimes to a point a bit annoyed, because all sorts of crazy people started writing me and trying to reach me, telling me I need some help either mentally or physically. (Laughter) You're laughing but it's the way it goes. People come out of closet and think they can start helping me now. It's just a pain. For me, this sort of puts them to rest a little bit, and calms down the phones at my parents' a little bit, which I'm happy about."

Everyone else panicked but Roger! Actually he has lost only12 matches so far in 2008 and most, with the exception of the French Open, were very close matches that could have fallen his way. In 2007, he lost 9!

When you are in a slump, do not over-think it. And avoid developing a negative attitude. I would suggest that you stay objective about what other players and coaches are telling you, but ignore most of it and get back to the practice courts and grind out another practice. DO NOT MAKE ANY MAJOR CHANGES TO YOUR GAME. Do not let self-doubt take root and grow. Your game is not as bad as you think or as bad as others are telling you. Having a slump is part of the process in playing tennis and it happens to all players, including the best in the world. So, why would it not happen to you once in a while?

Players, coaches, the media and commentators will always exaggerate a slump and blow it out of proportion. Most of them simply do not have the ability to accept the negatives without getting discouraged or becoming negative themselves. Remember, since the beginning of time failure has always been a part of success. Do NOT let it influence you. As a Champion you must mentally go it alone and stay positive. Then when you work your way back into the winner's circle you can watch the naysayers change their tune! That's exactly what Roger Federer did.

Since Roger won the US Open I have not heard a peep about how badly he is playing. Have you?

Your Tennis Pro,

Tom Veneziano



Dear Tom,

Thank you for keeping the tips coming through. They are very well appreciated. My son has recently gone into professional training and your tips certainly help, not just in tennis - but life situations in general.


Ann de Villiers


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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