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August 1, 2012
Avoid this Tennis Mental Trend


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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
Avoid this Tennis Mental Trend

In your quest to develop tennis mental toughness, you should beware of mental traps and make decisions to protect yourself from them. Though they may seem small and innocuous, decisions you make now will affect your options in the future. Certain choices can set in place harmful mental trends.

For instance, let's analyze a player's natural inclination after playing poorly and then demonstrate how his decisions develop a mental trend that affects his match play. Most often, players are totally oblivious to this link between their practice and match play.

Every week, whether a player has played brilliantly or miserably, whether he has won matches or lost, going back to his training routine is crucial. Sounds simple enough, but when a player has had a poor week of tennis, he often struggles to maintain his training program. Why? Because he does not feel motivated to get into the grind and train. As a result, he mentally makes one of three decisions.

1. He skips his next one or two training sessions.
2. He trains but is listless and does not give it his all.
3. He practices and is motivated, but all his energy is directed toward quick-fix solutions in which he frantically tries to solve problems.

What these three decisions create are mental obstacles in a player's mind. These obstacles, in turn, block the correct mental attitude in future match play. The player unknowingly affects his long-term thinking that is paramount in his mastery of mental toughness. Let's go over these decisions one by one.


When a player skips his training sessions after a bad week, he mentally conditions himself to give up when things get tough. He creates a mental habit and sets a trend in place that will show up in match play. When things get tough or do not go his way in a match, he will check out. He'll mentally go home! He may still be on the court playing, but his mind will be miles away. He could stay with this mindset for ten minutes, twenty minutes or even a whole match! The mental trend that was created by skipping training sessions becomes the mental attitude that moves right with him in match play. After all, you take your thinking with you wherever you go!


In this situation, the player shows up to his training sessions but is mentally absent and spiritless. Like the previous player, this player will be in trouble when things get tough in future matches. His listless mental habit in practice will transfer into low mental energy in match play. He will not totally check out but will maintain a weakly positive mental attitude that could collapse when the next negative storm hits. Everything must go well, or else! His mental trend of listless practices will be evident in his match play, and yet he will never connect the two. If this happens to you, you now know the answer. It's all about your prior decisions.


This scenario often happens when a player has had a bad week and wants quick answers to his problems. He trains in a frantic search to find solutions and turn his disastrous week into a success. This is a misguided attempt to quickly make his fragmented mental attitude whole again. It never works! He should continue his normal, intense practice sessions and in time let the process solve these problems.

How does this mental trend affect match play? Suppose the player has developed the perfect strategy and is carrying out his well-orchestrated game plan in a match. Then, for five or ten minutes things do not go well. All of a sudden, the frantic search for a new strategy begins. He erratically tries this strategy or that strategy, and consequently loses his focus. The inevitable result is disaster! By changing his training habits after a poor week, he set a mental trend that affected his match play. He should have stayed with his match strategy through those ups and downs inherent to match play and slowly let the plan work. Changing strategy too soon is not the answer. You must first let the process take root and grow, weathering the bad conditions and the good.

The bottom line is, the decisions you make after a poor week of tennis can be crucial to your mental toughness conditioning. Although these decisions may appear harmless, they can easily turn into a mental trend that will affect your match play. You can avoid all of these negative mental trends by simply maintaining your intense training program though thick and thin. But do not take my word for it. Think about the top player known for maintaining a super-intense, relentless training program. Ask yourself, what would Rafael Nadal do?

Your tennis pro,

Tom Veneziano




Your site is easily within the best 25 tennis sites on the web as far as I am concerned. I have definitely learned a lot from your thoughtful techniques. I also want you to know that I really enjoy the tennis tips and I look forward to your emails. A few months ago, I also purchased your two books, "The Truth About Winning" and "The Relax Technique," and I can truly say that my tennis has reached a higher level. Thanks for all your help now and in the future.

Jim Beacham
Portsmouth, VA


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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