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Tennis Warrior
March 2003 Article

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You are not a cookie cutter mold!

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Tom Veneziano

Do not try to fit yourself into an exact mold when learning tennis. This is one of the things I dislike about some of the conventional methods of learning tennis. They try to fit you into this unrealistic mold. What's interesting is THE PROS DO NOT EVEN FIT THAT MOLD. Why should you?

You should maintain your own individuality when learning and playing tennis, without breaking the laws of physics. If you would like to hit topspin on your shots you must swing low to high. If you would like to slice on your shots you must swing high to low. But, there certainly are many ways to swing high to low and low to high. Seek out your own style through practice and repetition of simple principles and let the repetition mold your own style.

Remember, in the past many players were advised to change a shot that eventually became their trademark. Bjorn Borg was told not to hit with a semi-western grip on his forehand and not to use all that excessive topspin! For some reason he kept doing it (I guess it just felt comfortable). The result was that Borg changed the face of tennis forever!

Many new players began hitting with more topspin and using semi-western grips! Conventionally, this was supposed to be incorrect. And how about the two-handed backhands of Connors, Austin, Evert, and Borg?! Today using two hands is commonplace and widely accepted, but initially many players were told it was unacceptable. But, the natural, instinctive, and automatic will always prevail.

By the way, in the 1937 Australian Open final between Vivian McGrath and John Bromwich both players had two-handed backhands! Even at that, the two-handed backhand did not gain prominence until the Borg, Evert era in the 70's.

Yes, you should practice, but beware of fitting yourself into the cookie cutter mold. Learn to develop your own individuality and style which is the signature of a champion.

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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.


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