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A Champion's Mental Attitude After Failing
by Tom Veneziano

A phrase I have heard many times from successful athletes and businessmen is 'start from where you are, and new options will open up as you go along.' The application for tennis or any sport is phenomenal. Mentally tough players realize they must start from where they are regardless of what has occurred. Whether it's a negative, mistake, or failure, champions have a built in 'start from where they are' button they can push immediately to keep them on track. Most players have an 'anger' button, 'self-pity' button, 'frustration' button, 'rationalization' button, or an 'over analyzation' button they push first before they get to the 'start from where they are' button. In fact, in many cases the 'start from where they are' button has not even been installed!!!

The trick is for you to first CHOOSE to install one. Then, when adversity hits, you can practice not pushing all the other buttons first, but instead push the 'start from where you are' button. You may be thinking, "how do I do that?" Haven't you heard? Adversity is inevitable, negative thinking is optional. You CHOOSE to allow these incorrect emotional responses to control you. In a match you may be feeling frustrated, angry, or annoyed, but that does not mean you can't choose the 'start from where you are' button. Doing this will eliminate the incorrect emotional reactions, and keep you looking forward. When you look forward, and not backward, new options will open up that you did not even expect. Options like:

  1. Feeling in control of yourself and not fearing failures.

  2. Feeling a mental strength you previously did not possess.

  3. Feeling an increased confidence from that strength.

You accept the fact that you're in control. You're the one that makes the decision to push the 'start from where you are' button or not. Then 'adversity is inevitable, negative thinking is optional' becomes a way of thinking.

Whether you're an aspiring junior, club player, or a pro, if your 'start from where you are' button is busted or not installed, you better have a talk with yourself and fix it fast. Why? Because this is the stuff that champions are made of.

The other day I had a talk with a player who wanted to purchase my books and tapes. I asked him, "why?" He said he also played golf and was a 12 handicap. The other day he played with some top notch players that were out of his league. He noticed how they handled adversity in comparison to what he would have done. For instance, when they hit the ball in the water, without any anger they just got another ball and proceeded forward. He said he would have wrapped the clubs around a tree. An experience I understand many people who play golf have had. :) He thought to himself, "maybe there's something to this mental stuff." A couple of days later he came across my site and it peaked his curiosity.

In conclusion, speaking of golf, I'll always remember what the great golf legend Bobby Jones said when he was asked how he coped with never playing golf again because of debilitating health problems. His reply gave me goose bumps. He said, "I play the ball from where it lies." A golf term for 'start from where you are.' He was a great champion on and off the course.

When adversity hits on the tennis court which button do you push? The panic button? Do you even have a 'start from where you are' button to push? If not, get one fast!


Tom Veneziano has been a tennis pro teaching in Houston, Texas for over twenty-five years. He has taught thousands of players to think like a pro with his Tennis Warrior System, which is described on his web site at www.tenniswarrior.com.

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