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Tennis Warrior
November 2009 Article

Tennis Warrior Archive

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Increasing Your Speed In Tennis

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Tom Veneziano

If you would like to get a jump on the ball, the Direction Reaction will do wonders for your game. The Direction Reaction is your ability to react to the direction of the ball from your opponent's racket. You do not know exactly where the ball is going, but you see a direction and go! The ball could be going upward, to the left, to the right, etc. Here are two points that may come as a shock to you.

  1. Even the pros do not know the exact destination of the ball.

  2. Most people can quickly read the direction of the ball from their opponent's racket.

That's right, the pros do not know the exact destination of the ball, they get a general idea of the direction and they move. They analyze the exact destination of the ball while on the run. With practice this is all done quickly and instinctively. Unfortunately, most players have conditioned themselves to stand still and analyze exactly where the ball is going first, then decide to run. They have unknowingly reversed the process!
You must practice reading and reacting to the direction of the ball from your opponent's racket immediately. Not sure you can do this? I disagree! As stated above most people can quickly read the direction of the ball from their opponent's racket. The problem is, you read the ball fast, but you have not conditioned your body to react to that information. You have the DIRECTION part of the Direction Reaction, but there is a breakdown in the REACTION part of the Direction Reaction.
How do I know you read the direction fast? Simple. Every time your opponent hits the ball, watch what your eyes and head do. Your eyes and head will immediately follow the path of the ball. I have seen this phenomenon over and over again when watching my students cover a lob. I will usually yell, "Go, go after the ball!" They look at me and say, "I didn't know that it was going to be a lob!" So I look at them and ask, "Then why did your head immediately follow the ball upward right over your head?" Think about that, they are looking up at a ball saying, "I don't know where the ball is going."
Yes, you definitely read the ball from your opponent's racket much faster than you think. The key to improving your speed is to practice following your head like the pros. If the ball is hit to the right and your head moves that way, make sure your body is moving with your head. If the ball is hit to the left and your head moves that way, make sure your body is moving with your head. Whatever way your head moves make sure your body moves with your head. If while moving after the ball, you see the ball going out, then you can stop. The Direction Reaction is designed to make you react to the direction of the ball exactly the way your head and eyes do. Test yourself the next time you play to see if your head is moving, but your body is staying in one spot. If you are, get off your derriere and get moving!!!

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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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