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Tennis Warrior
September 2013 Article

Tennis Warrior Archive

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Coping with adversity in tennis

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Tom Veneziano

Adversity is inevitable but negative thinking is optional. I have been teaching tennis for over 35 years but it still amazes me how many players still allow external distractions to control them. I guess this originates from not wanting to take responsibility for our failures and learning from them. Instead, it was the wind, the sun, the ball, the court, the racket, the strings, the drill, my partner, my husband, my wife, my second grade teacher, my dog, my opponent's red outfit, etc. Did I leave anything out?
When we think of repetition we think only in terms of hitting tennis balls to improve our physical skills, not the more important mental repetition to improve our mental skills. Learning to practice mental skills can have an impact on your thinking -- your mental toughness can set you apart from most players. Your physical skills may teach you to hit a tennis ball, but your mental skills teach you to win.
When you practice thinking correctly over and over again you will develop mental toughness. My website, email lessons, books and audio CD's will help you improve your thinking and master mental toughness. But you must make the application!
Remember, negative thinking is optional. You choose to let stress paralyze your thinking. All the outside distractions do not make you think negatively. You choose to think negatively. I know you could swear it was this thing or that thing giving you a poor mental attitude, but you're wrong. You have control over your own mental attitude.
Best-selling author Wayne Dyer wisely stated, "You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside."
The problem is that players have conditioned themselves to think that external adversity is the problem for their internal stress. They are the victim. Many players have used this external rationale so instinctively that they do not even know what I'm taking about! The idea that they have internal control over external situations is completely foreign.
Repetition can improve our mental skills just as repetition can also condition poor mental skills. This is exactly what many players are doing. Week after week on the tennis court they continue to condition themselves to allow adversity to control them. Tennis matches are filled with obstacles, failures and adversities -- these negatives are not the problem. The problem is letting these adversities dictate your mental attitude.
PRINCIPLE: The more you surrender to adversity, the more adversity will control your mind.
If you are constantly practicing and conditioning yourself to think correctly, when you are under pressure situations the wrong thinking will not rear its ugly head and make defeat inevitable.
Remember this: Each time you step on the tennis court to play a match, your mental attitude is on the court with you to be tested. You mentally never stand still. You either allow the external adversities to control your mind and become mentally weaker, or you control your mind from the inside to minimize the adversity and grow mentally stronger.
You are always conditioning yourself one way or another. Do not let adversity incorrectly mold your thinking because adversity is inevitable. Negative thinking is optional. Choose wisely! It's up to you.

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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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