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April 1, 2011
Putting Your Tennis Failures in Their Place


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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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
Putting Your Tennis Failures in Their Place

You can't have it both ways. You cannot be a Tennis Warrior and, at the same time, constantly dwell on your negatives and failures. In the mind of a Tennis Warrior, failure and success are two sides of the same coin. There is no separation. Negatives and failures are simply a part of the process toward becoming a Champion.

On the tennis court, you can be negative-oriented or success-oriented. When you are success-oriented, you do not focus on your negatives and then hope for something positive. Instead, you focus on positives and let the negatives or failures come along for the ride. Many players are negative-oriented and immediately assume their failures are terrible and their successes are terrific, leading to endless frustration in match play and in practice.

What most players fail to recognize is that you must have failures to succeed. Failures are an intricate part of the journey in developing a strong mental and physical game. They provide valuable feedback for the body to learn and make changes. Failures are also critical to strengthen your mental skills in your pursuit of mental toughness. The more you are able to cope with mental adversity and failures the more mentally tough you become.

Michael Jordan, one of the greatest basketball players ever, summed it up perfectly when he said,

"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. I can accept failure, but I can't accept not trying. Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game."

I think it is safe to say that Michael Jordan believed that failures were a key factor in his success.

Part of my challenge of being a coach is fighting a constant battle to keep players on a positive path. Players are bound and determined to focus on their negatives and failures, and they place too little value on their successes. In practice a player could hit three beautiful shots in a row then miss two. Inevitably you will hear, "Why did I miss those shots? I'm always hitting out!" Next comes the ultimate question to the coach. "What did I do wrong?"

My answer is, "What you are doing wrong is focusing on the negatives and failures. Haven't you heard, the next shot is more important than the last mistake? Move on!" You may be thinking, "But don't I have to correct my mistakes to improve?" My answer to that is, hogwash! A technical correction of a mistake is often simply an emotional crutch to lean on. It may make you feel better after you fail, but it ignores the body's innate ability to learn from the failure and make adjustments.

It is crucial for you to master the blending of failures and successes as you advance toward your goals. And your first and foremost goal should be to learn to fail with poise and confidence. Then, seize that confidence, embrace your successes, and watch your mental toughness grow!

Your tennis pro,

Tom Veneziano




I've been having a lot of trouble with my game lately. I've been overthinking each and every shot, mentally castigating myself for errors and becoming overly emotional even when I hit a winner. Tennis was no fun, as a matter of fact, it was an ordeal.

So, I went back to your CD, "The Refocus Technique: Controlling Your Emotions in Tennis". Gosh, you must have been watching me play to have written that tape! That's me you were talking about. You know exactly what was in my head. I had gotten so much into strokes, methods, the clinics, and fitness, that I forgot about the mental part of the game. You are so right - the mental attitude has to be strong in order to play the game at all!

So, I played your Refocus Technique CD a few times before my matches, and, voila, I'm back in the rational, strong, warrior game again. And, I'm enjoying myself, too! I am employing most of what I have been taught in my clinics and approach the game without dread and fear of making my shots or losing or whatever dumb thought I had. Gosh, once you clear up your head of all the stupid stuff, the game actually improves!

Thanks so much, Tom, for all the encouragement I have received from you: your monthly tennis e-letters, and the CD's I've purchased. I refer to them often. After all, life is a Game!

Best Regards,

Diana M.
Fairfax, Virginia


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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