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Tennis Warrior
September 2007 Article

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Playing a lower-level player

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Tom Veneziano

In order to learn how to win, you must learn correct winning principles. In a practice session one day, I brought in Alicia, a 3.0 player, to play Sonya, my junior student who was a 4.0 player, to see what would happen. Sonya knew that Alicia was a lower-level player so she figured there would be no problem. After all, Sonya was two levels above Alicia! Sonya did not realize it but she was in for an important lesson. Sonya tried to hit power winner after power winner to beat the lower-ranked player. To Sonya, being the better player means to hit quick winners and annihilate the lower-ranked player. Only one problem: This strategy was causing her to overplay and she missed power winner after power winner, again and again. It was an ugly sight! She was losing and very upset.

In between sets I explained to Sonya that she was a better player because she was the more consistent player. Just because her opponent is ranked lower does not mean she can change her strategy and try to blast Alicia off the court. Winning is simple. Just play the game as you would normally, and let the chips fall where they may. Executing this strategy, Sonya slowly worked herself back into the match and eventually won. Yet Sonya made winning this match ten times more difficult than it had to be!

Do you make your matches more difficult than they have to be? You must learn what principles are at the core of winning to be able to learn how to win. It is paramount that you learn to play within yourself when playing a lower-level player. Do not think that because you are the better player that you blast your opponent off the court to win. If you do, you will find yourself scratching yourself on the head after the match and thinking, "What just happened? How did I lose that match?"

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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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