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Tennis Warrior
January 2013 Article

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Panic creates pandemonium

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Tom Veneziano

If you have been playing tennis well, then suddenly you go into a slump, DO NOT PANIC! Thinking goes out the window when panic comes in the door. Just relax, wait out the cycle and the slump will change. Above all, do not go gallivanting around from pro to pro or from teammate to teammate asking for advice and a solution. Everyone will have an opinion and the advice will vary from person to person, which will distract and confuse you even more. Stop! Take a deep breath! Think, and remember that no one is perfect. When you are on a losing streak, it seems like you have a host of problems to choose from. The truth is, you are always doing something wrong, even when you are on a winning streak. This is true for all players. The difference is, when you are winning no one notices your flaws, even though they still exist.
 
This is also true about the pros. Look at what they have said over the years about Roger Federer in his so-called major slumps. Back in 2008, Boris Becker, the great German player, commentating at the US Open said, "Roger is just not moving correctly anymore. He takes too many big steps and not enough short steps when moving to the ball. This is one of his big problems now." Of course, Roger has always taken long, flowing steps and always floats around the court when he plays, but now that he has lost a few matches he no longer moves correctly. Impressive, isn't it? Roger (with his lousy footwork) ended up winning the very US Open in which Boris Becker made that comment. After that, everyone thought his footwork was fine once again!
 
When your game is struggling, you will find yourself receiving an abundance of unsolicited advice. I would suggest that you stay objective about what other players and coaches are telling you, but ignore most of it and get back to the practice courts and grind out another practice. DO NOT MAKE ANY MAJOR CHANGES TO YOUR GAME. Do not let self-doubt take root and grow. When you are in a slump, do not over-think it. And avoid developing a negative attitude. Your game is not as bad as you think or as bad as others are telling you. Having a slump is part of the process in playing tennis and it happens to all players, including the best in the world. So, why would it not happen to you once in a while?
 
Players, coaches, the media and commentators will always exaggerate a slump and blow it out of proportion. Most of them simply do not have the ability to accept the negatives without getting discouraged or becoming negative themselves. Remember, since the beginning of time failure has always been a part of success. Do NOT let it influence you. As a Champion you must mentally go it aloneā and stay positive. Then when you work your way back into the winner's circle you can watch the naysayers change their tune!
 

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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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