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Mental Equipment
April 1997 Article

Contact John Murray

Mental Equipment Archive

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Mental Equipment By Dr. John Murray


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Tennis Instruction Is Essential

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Dr. John Murray

This month, Mental Equipment targets tennis players wherever they may be with an important and straightforward message: tennis lessons are worth your every dime!

........First, thanks to the hundreds who wrote back regarding their favorite articles and topics they would like seen addressed in the future. Your feedback is vital to allowing Mental Equipment to serve your individual needs. Let's keep the communication flowing!

Don't Just Spin Your Wheels

If you do not take lessons or have a regular coach, you may be establishing faulty technique quite effectively. I see players of all levels fail to progress year to year either because they do not understand their weaknesses, or know their limitations but cannot make necessary changes! The saying "practice makes perfect" is quite misleading. Actually, practice makes permanent. Only perfect practice makes perfect! This applies to other sports and professions as well. Ongoing evaluation with "accurate" information is mandatory in any competitive quest. To ensure improvement and satisfaction in the challenging and technically demanding sport of tennis, there is just no substitute for lessons.

Find A Good Pro

Tennis professionals come in all shapes and sizes. Find one who knows the game well, communicates this knowledge effectively, and keeps up with the latest developments. Also check their professional certifications. The best pros are certified by a major tennis teaching organization such as the USPTA or USPTR, or an associated organization if outside the United States.

Trust that your pro knows what is best for your game, but don't just sit back and take the spoon. Read about the game, attend camps and seminars, play tournaments, and bring your knowledge back to your lessons. Dare your mentor to come up with a better mousetrap for you and challenge yourself by asking good questions and keeping notes. I'm sure your pro will enjoy your lust for the game!

Should you take private or group lessons? Group lessons are typically less expensive and offer the social advantage of finding partners with a similar goal. Private instruction costs a little more (ask if there is a discount for a series of lessons) but intense and focused attention gets to the heart of the matter quickly.

Share This Message

On court instruction is vital for improvement in tennis. Sport Psychology tips complement this instruction and help supercharge performance. Regular tennis lessons combined with Sport Psychology will keep you from from spinning your wheels and put you one step above the crowd. However, no message is any good if it falls on deaf ears.

I recommend the following:

  • Tennis Pros: Post this article on your bulletin board or somewhere near the courts so that all members view it. Also make copies and mail to your members as a bonus to help them discover the Mental Equipment archive at:


  • Players: Mail or hand deliver this article to your pro or coach and suggest that they follow through on the above advice. You can bet that your pro will appreciate your efforts in helping them generate more tennis activity! Everybody prospers.

Let's all get in this great game! See you next month...

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Mental Equipment 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 Dr. John Murray, all rights reserved.

Dr. John F. Murray is currently a licensed clinical psychologist and sport psychologist in Florida. In addition, he is a tennis professional (having taught tennis internationally in North America, Hawaii, Europe, Middle East), formerly certified with both USPTA and USPTR. He has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and masters degrees both in Clinical Psychology and Exercise & Sport Sciences from the University of Florida. He maintains a personal web site at http://www.johnfmurray.com/.

Questions and comments about these columns can be directed to John by using this form.


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