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Tennis Warrior
October 2004 Article

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Learning from my bad decision!

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Tom Veneziano

One of the most important aspects of match play toughness is to understand some of the subtle but match-breaking decisions a player must make. To be aware of these subtle moments and to make correct choices is the key to winning a higher percentage of your matches. When closing out a set or a match there are many mental traps a player can fall into. In this quick tip I will explain a mental trap that deceived me, in hopes that you will not do the same. I will also explain the rationale behind my bad decision.

I was just about to close out a match. I was up a break and serving at 5-4. I had been holding my own serve by simply serving down the middle to the backhand on the deuce side and wide to the backhand on the ad side. I was in a battle, but everything was going according to my game plan. It was now my serve to close it out. All of a sudden this crazy thought came over me. I had been serving to the same spot the whole time, so maybe I should change my serving placement and surprise my opponent. My rationale was that it seemed too predictable and obvious to continue serving to the same spot.

It's funny what often happens when you are about to win. In essence, the importance of the moment made me change my thinking! Nevertheless it cost me the game, set and match. The strange thing is that I knew NOT to change a winning game, but did it anyway! I remember at the time something inside was telling me to not do this. From that catastrophe I learned not to be afraid of doing the obvious when you are about to close out a set or a match.

The bottom line: Never let the moment of victory deceive your mind into thinking that this moment requires something extraordinary, something spectacular to win. If the obvious tactic is winning - STAY WITH IT! Principle: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

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This column is copyrighted by Tom Veneziano, all rights reserved.

Tom is a tennis pro teaching at the Piney Point Racquet Club in Houston, Texas. Tom has taught thousands of players to think like a pro with his Tennis Warrior System.

     

In Tom Veneziano's book "The Truth about Winning!", tennis players learn in a step-by-step fashion the thinking the pros have mastered to win! Tom takes you Step-by-step from basic mental toughness to advanced mental toughness. All skill levels can learn from this unique book from beginner to professional. No need to change your strokes just your thinking.

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