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Tennis Warrior
February 2020 Article

Tennis Warrior Archive

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That Dam Technique!

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Tom Veneziano

Relying on overdone technique to learn tennis invariably results in relying on overdone technique to win matches. What is wrong with that? Everything! Technique does not play the match, you do.
I have taught before about players using technique as a crutch. Let's say you have been learning tennis with overdone technique and you miss a shot while playing a match. You will probably scold yourself, blaming the miss on some bad or neglected technique. In this scenario, you are guilty of letting technique play your match and become a crutch. If the technique acts as your crutch, YOU do not have to accept personal responsibility for your failures, nor do you have to mentally move on. You have simply transferred all responsibility to the technique. The bad technique made me fail, not me!
From another perspective, overemphasis on technique can also be viewed as a dam which obstructs the positive flow of Tennis Warrior thinking. As you know, when you are in a tennis match the match itself has its ebbs and flows. Those are unavoidable and must be accepted as part of the game. Your thinking, however, which is completely under your control, has its own ebbs and flows. Your chance of winning goes up dramatically if you can mentally stay on an even keel, steadily moving forward and never waning, throughout the match.
When your thinking is consumed with technique, this continuous, positive flow is blocked. You create a mental dam. Your mind is now too preoccupied with negatives, with bad techniques, and with the problems that you believe can be solved if only you had the right technique! But technique does not win a match, YOU DO. When facing the challenges inherent in match play, you must free your mind to forget bad technique and keep moving forward.
Players who are overly focused on technique set themselves up for failure. Remember, we are dealing with the mind here, and the mind has a huge propensity to remember failures. If you constantly, and, I might add, innocently, scold yourself for bad technique every time you miss, you are creating a mental buildup of failures. The dam you built is now grabbing and holding on to every failure that sweeps along its path. Trouble on the horizon! Failure stacks on top of failure; every time you make a mistake, a similar failure in your past is instantly recalled and combined with the new failure. You think, "I just made that mistake and corrected the bad technique, but then I did the mistake again! What is wrong with me?"
This is obviously not a healthy mental situation. As the match goes on, you find yourself moving from one bad technique to another bad technique, only to fall behind. In allowing technique to dam up positive flow, you are sabotaging yourself and losing your mental equilibrium. That is why the top priority in your mind should be maintaining a stable equilibrium, not maintaining technique.
When you as a player remove the barrier of technique, you will still have failures. But now you will have a more positive flow to your match play. Any failures will wash right over you, and you will find yourself instantly and positively thinking about the next point. And guess what? Technique will not prevail, YOU WILL!

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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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