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Tennis Warrior
November 2013 Article

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A Tennis Challenge to Unleash Your Inner Power

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Tom Veneziano

I have a friend who has recently taken an interest in golf. Knowing that I have a system for tennis based on 'feel' not mechanics, she questioned me about utilizing this system to learn golf. Can it be done? I told her it could, and we discussed the various aspects of learning to play with your own individual style, form and personality without being short-circuited by excessive technique.
She caught on quickly, understanding that the body has the ability to unconsciously self-correct with sensory feedback from repetition - similar to learning how to walk or learning how to ride a bicycle. I cautioned her that if she read books or magazines or listened to the commentary during a golf tournament she would encounter a preponderance of techniques.
The next time I visited with her she had just purchased a golf.com magazine. "Look at this!" she said and pointed to an article. I read the opening paragraph and was shocked! A young phenom pro golfer, Rickie Fowler, had written an article explaining his golf philosophy. Below is the beginning of the article that made me stand up and cheer. A standing O!
The article is "Unleash Your Inner Power!" by Rickie Fowler:

"I'm not your typical Tour player - before I took the game seriously I raced motorcycles in the deserts of the Southwest. I've never looked at my swing on video - I rarely think about mechanics, and sometimes I take a practice swing before I hit a shot and, well, sometimes I don't. For me, golf is about feel and swinging free, like you couldn't care less about your results. I know that might be hard to accept, especially if you've been struggling to hit the ball straight or have contact issues, but hear me out. When you're able to build trust in what you're doing and simply 'let it go,' power creeps into your swing as if by magic."

I never looked at my swing on video! Rarely think of mechanics! Play by feel! Build trust in what you're doing! Simply "let it go"! I almost had a heart attack when I read these common sense concepts all in a single paragraph.
The highest priority when learning to play tennis is to keep monitoring yourself and reminding yourself of these principles. Yet, how easily we all slip back into the subtle trap of overthinking mechanics. Often it is for our own emotional security that we rationalize our failure and blame mechanics. It is easier emotionally to have a reason (imagined or real) for why we have failed than to just accept the failure and move on. Having a reason conveniently transfers the responsibility to the reason as the cause of failure and not ourselves.
With that in mind, here is my challenge to you. The next time you are playing think only of conquering these two mental stumbling blocks:
  1. Failure. When you miss a shot do not say a word or even think about the failure. You just keep remembering, "The next shot is more important than the last mistake."

  2. Mechanics. During the match do not think about mechanics. There is no time to tell yourself to bend your knees, keep your eye on the ball, keep your head still or anything. Repetition practice will give your strokes that feel.

If during your match you happen to falter on one or both of these stumbling blocks, just keep playing. Constantly remind yourself that the next shot is more important than the last mistake. Stop wasting your energy and focusing on inconsequential factors. Tennis "is about feel and swinging freely, like you couldn't care less about your results."

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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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