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Tennis Warrior
August 2009 Article

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Two Tennis Misconceptions

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Tom Veneziano

Misconception # 1 - Keep your eye on the ball to hit the sweet spot Keeping your eye on the ball does not make you hit the sweet spot of your racket. Many times when players miss hit you hear them say, "keep your eye on the ball." Sounds logical, but it is not true! It is your JUDGEMENT that helps you hit the sweet spot of your racket, not keeping your eye on the ball. When your judgement improves your eyes do not even have to follow the ball right into the strings.
 
How do you think a pro hits the ball from behind his back? He never sees the ball hit the strings, but he hits the sweet spot anyway. It is ball judgement that is the key! Stop thinking that keeping your eye on the ball will make you hit the sweet spot of your racket. It will not! At best, keeping your eye on the ball gives your brain information about the flight of the ball and eventually, with time, your judgement will improve. Over time (repetition), when your judgement improves, you will be able to follow the ball with your eyes automatically. The better your judgement is, the easier it will be to keep your eye on the ball!
 
Misconception # 2 - Grip tighter to stop the racket from turning in your hand
 
When the grip turns in your hand you think you did not hold on tight enough. As a result, the next time the ball comes to you, you squeeze tighter to make sure this does not happen again. Squeezing tighter is not the answer. The true answer is you did not hit the sweet spot of your racket! You hit off center which causes tremendous pressure and makes the racket turn in your hand. I have always felt that this was one of the reasons players develop tennis elbow. They simply are squeezing the racket too tightly! Holding tighter is not the solution. When you hit the sweet spot there is no pressure for the racket to turn.
 
How do you hit the sweet spot of your racket? Simple, keep your eye on the ball... only kidding! Again, the answer is to improve your judgement by learning from the greatest teacher of all - REPETITION! If your judgement improves you will hit the sweet spot more often. Hitting the center of the strings is a natural result of improved judgement.
 
The interesting thing about hitting the sweet spot of your racket is that no one can tell you anything technical that will speed up the learning process. Watching a lot of tennis balls go over the net will teach you. This is very similar to the way we learned how to walk. Repetition was the great teacher. If you would like to learn how to hit the center of your strings and improve your ability to watch the ball, simply play more tennis or practice on a ball machine. The more times you see the ball go over the net, the faster your judgement will improve. Remember, the key here is judgement.
 
In summary, stop thinking every time you miss hit that you have not kept your eye on the ball and every time your grip turns in your hand that you did not hold on tight enough. The solution to both of these problems is improving your judgement. I challenge you to not say or think a thing the next time you miss hit or your grip turns in your hand. Test yourself when you are on the court and see what automatically pops into your mind when you miss hit or lose your grip. Then remind yourself of this tennis lesson, forget whatever you were thinking and move on!

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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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