nodot nodot
Tennis Warrior
June 2013 Article

Tennis Warrior Archive

Send a message to Tom

Get Tom Veneziano's book The Truth about Winning! at Amazon.com

Tennis Server

Do You Want To Be A Better Tennis Player?

Then Sign Up For A Free Subscription to the Tennis Server INTERACTIVE
E-mail Newsletter!

Tom Veneziano You will join 13,000 other subscribers in receiving news of updates to the Tennis Server along with monthly tennis tips from tennis pro Tom Veneziano.
Best of all, it is free!

Tennis Features Icon TENNIS FEATURES:

TENNIS ANYONE? - USPTA Pro John Mills' quick player tip.
TENNIS WARRIOR - Tom Veneziano's Tennis Warrior archive.
TURBO TENNIS - Ron Waite turbocharges your tennis game with tennis tips, strategic considerations, training and practice regimens, and mental mindsets and exercises.
WILD CARDS - Each month a guest column by a new writer.
BETWEEN THE LINES - Ray Bowers takes an analytical and sometimes controversial look at the ATP/WTA professional tour.
PRO TENNIS SHOWCASE - Tennis match reports and photography from around the world.
TENNIS SET - Jani Macari Pallis, Ph.D. looks at tennis science, engineering and technology.
MORTAL TENNIS - Greg Moran's tennis archive on how regular humans can play better tennis.
HARDSCRABBLE SCRAMBLE - USPTA pro Mike Whittington's player tip archive.

Tennis Community Icon TENNIS COMMUNITY:

Tennis Book, DVD, and Video Index
Tennis Server Match Reports
Editor's Letter
Become a Tennis Server Sponsor

Explore The Tennis Net Icon EXPLORE THE TENNIS NET:

Tennis News and Live Tennis Scores
Tennis Links on the Web
Tennis Warrior Banner

Green Dot
Tennis Warehouse Logo
Green Dot


Tennis Practice Versus Match Play

Tom Veneziano Photo
Tom Veneziano

It seems most players misunderstand what is happening when they play an important tennis match and they do not play in the same way they have practiced. They become completely despondent. Without a doubt, the number one question that has been asked to me over the years is, "Why can't I play tennis like I practice?"
The short answer to why you can't play match tennis like you play tennis practice is: YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO! You may be thinking, "Okay, then how am I supposed to play?" The short answer to that question would be: THE WAY YOU PLAYED IN THE MATCH!
Making any sense yet? Let me explain. The most important mindset you can develop to help increase your victories in match play is to accept the way you are playing tennis on any given day. Then you do the best you can, using what you have to work with to win the match. That's it!
If you ever hope to someday close the gap between your tennis practice play and your match play, you first must learn to adopt this attitude. What happens, happens! This is not fatalism. It is orientation to reality! Learn to deal with the adversity, adapt and keep fighting! This also includes choking on a point. Forget it and play the next point. Train your mind to keep moving forward and play the hand you have been dealt on that day. "The next shot is more important than the last mistake."
The good news is that this mental strategy really works. All of the best tennis pros in the world have mastered this thought process. The bad news is most amateur players refuse to accept their shortcomings, stay positive and vigorously continue to play their match. Whining about their mistakes, their problems and their adversities leads only to the quagmire of self-pity and distraction from the Champion's mental attitude.
Here is the scenario where most players' minds short-circuit the correct mental attitude. Picture this: They are in an important tennis match and they are not playing well, even choking on some of their shots. Confused, their mind begins to wander and they think only about the way they play in practice. They muse, "Why can I not play in matches the way I play in practice? I know I can play better than this. Just last week in practice I was really hitting the tennis ball well."
You should never compare your important match play with your practice play. They are two separate events that do influence each other but are definitely NOT the same. Never compare them as a means of determining how you should play in important matches.
As the great golfer Bobby Jones said 80 years ago, "You may take it from me, there are two types of golf. There is golf - and tournament golf. And they are not at all the same thing."
Improvement in tennis practice will influence your improvement in matches but will rarely be the same. Your previous practices have allowed you to play at your current match play level. As your tennis practice improves so will the level of improvement in match play, but they will not be the same.
If you would like to compare how you are playing in an important match, compare it to other important matches, not your practice play. Then see if you can improve on that level.
For instance, you may have played a tennis match a week ago where you felt really nervous the entire time and you never hit one comfortable shot. Recently you had an important match and you hit three or four comfortable shots, even though you were still nervous. That's improvement! Look for simple, subtle successes, then build upon these successes in each match.
You still did not play like you practiced, but that is totally irrelevant. You must not make that an issue. You are not practicing, you are playing a match! Again, as Bobby Jones says, THEY ARE DIFFERENT. Treating them as different events that are not the same is the key to eventual match play improvement.

Green DotGreen DotGreen Dot

Tennis Warrior Archive

If you have not already signed up to receive our free e-mail newsletter Tennis Server INTERACTIVE, you can sign up here. You will receive notification each month of changes at the Tennis Server and news of new columns posted on our site.

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.

Audio CDs by Tom Veneziano:


Web tennisserver.com
nodot nodot
The Tennis Server
Ticket Exchange

Your Source for tickets to professional tennis & golf events.
Australian Open Tickets
Dallas Open Tickets
Delray Beach Open Tickets
ATX Open Tickets
Mexican Open Tickets
BNP Paribas Open Tickets
Miami Open Tickets
Credit One Charleston Open Tickets
US Men's Clay Court Championships Tickets
Wimbledon Tickets
Citi Open Tennis Tournament Tickets
Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic Tickets
National Bank Open Womens Tennis Canada Tickets
Odlum Brown Van Open r Tickets
Tennis In The Land Tickets
US Open Tennis Championship Tickets
Laver Cup Vancouver Tickets


Popular Tennis books:
Winning Ugly: Mental Warfare in Tennis-Lessons from a Master by Brad Gilbert, Steve Jamison
The Best Tennis of Your Life: 50 Mental Strategies for Fearless Performance by Jeff Greenwald
The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey
Most Recent Articles:
October 2022 Tennis Anyone: Patterns in Doubles by John Mills.
September 2022 Tennis Anyone: Short Court by John Mills.




"Tennis Server" is a registered trademark and "Tennis Server INTERACTIVE" is a trademark of Tennis Server. All original material and graphics on the Tennis Server are copyrighted 1994 - by Tennis Server and its sponsors and contributors. Please do not reproduce without permission.

The Tennis Server receives a commission on all items sold through links to Amazon.com.


Tennis Server
Cliff Kurtzman
791 Price Street #144
Pismo Beach, CA 93449
Phone: (281) 480-6300
Online Contact Form
How to support Tennis Server as a Sponsor/Advertiser
Tennis Server Privacy Policy