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December 1, 2011
Five Powerful Tennis Concepts


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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
Five Powerful Tennis Concepts

There are five areas of thinking you should master if you want to develop mental toughness. We have learned about these mental concepts in many lessons over the years, but here they are in condensed form to help jog your memory and cement them in your mind.

Just like the physical skills, your mental skills need repetition to eventually become automatic and instinctive. In the heat of battle, instant mental recall is critical to stabilize your game. Here are the five areas to conquer.

1. Emotions controlling thinking
2. The hitting winners mentality
3. Freedom to go for your shots
4. Over-thinking
5. Monitoring yourself


Emotions in a match are fine, but when you allow your emotions to influence your thinking your perception of reality becomes distorted. "The next shot is more important than the last mistake" becomes "The last mistake is more important than the next shot." Totally backwards from the correct viewpoint.

The correct tennis principles in your mind must dominate the emotional reactions that are counterproductive. You know you have gone astray when everything becomes a problem. You can't handle the failures, the adversities and above all the pressure situation. When this occurs it is essential to use the Refocus Technique, "the next shot is more important than the last mistake," to keep your emotions in check.


The pitfall of thinking that winners wins matches is universal. The confusion comes from watching pros hitting that dynamic winner that brings out the applause. "Aha!" you figure, "That is the way to win!" Of course the pro's consistent play throughout the match is ignored. Only the spectacular and fantastic is remembered. This results in attaching hitting a winner to nothing! What I mean by that is, the best players attach hitting a winner to consistent controlled play first. Once they establish consistent play, the winners become a natural result. This simple logical progression eludes most players. Do not be one of them.


We have been over this mental principle many times. When you play you must learn to play with no tentativeness or cautiousness. Whether you are hitting the ball hard, soft or with a medium touch, the absence of cautiousness is the mark of a champion. But the freedom to go for your shot is not possible if you fear failure. Self-doubt and playing not to win leads to cautious play, while no fear of failure leads to the mental freedom to just play!


Paralysis by analysis! Players over-think everything from learning the game to playing under pressure. The concept of relentless practice while allowing the game to unfold naturally is foreign to them. Instead every little minute detail is over-thought and over-analyzed in hopes of quick results with less practice. Avoid paralysis by analysis and you will develop spontaneity through preparation.


Over time, monitoring yourself becomes a natural way of thinking. Champions are constantly keeping mental tabs on themselves to keep their emotions in check, maintain a correct long-term strategy, play with mental freedom and not get bogged down in inconsequential details. These are the other four mental concepts we have just covered. Monitoring himself helps a player change his course when he recognizes he has gone astray. You must learn to do the same.

Combine all five of these mental concepts and you have a power house of thinking to develop mental toughness. But remember, you learn everything in increments. You'll need time and lots and lots of practice to allow the mental and physical process to teach you. The process is always the cornerstone and the great teacher in the Tennis Warrior System.

Your tennis pro,

Tom Veneziano



Hey Tom,

I just wanted to let you know that I played in a 3.5 USTA tournament this weekend and made it through to the semi's before going down to the eventual tournament winner. I have got to say, that I have never played calmer and more focused than I did this weekend. By making a concentrated effort on the current point and only the current point at hand, I was able to play a much more relaxed and enjoyable tournament. Even when I lost, it actually did not seem to bother me, because I immediately came away with the areas of my game that I need to refocus on (primarily, more effective volleys and overheads). I recognized the negatives, and have stayed positive. Two of my opponents whom I have lost to in the past even complimented me on my noticeable focus and lack of reaction on errors or blown points. This stuff really works and it is soooo easy to incorporate. I have already turned on a handful of tennis buddies to your website and they will probably be ordering the books.

Thanks again!!!

Bill Poulakis
Woburn, MA


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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