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Tennis Warrior
June 2004 Article

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The 'Brilliant' shot distraction!

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Tom Veneziano

I received an email from one of my readers, Francis Perry, who purchased my book, The Truth About Winning. Francis asked if he was on the right track with one of my principles. He came up with what I thought was a perfect corollary to my phrase, "the next shot is more important than the last mistake." Below are his comments:


In re-reading "THE TRUTH ABOUT WINNING" I have a question on page 29, The Refocus Technique, about the key phrase "The next shot is more important than the last mistake." Here is my question: would you consider this a corollary to that phrase?

"The next shot is more important than the last brilliant winner."

The idea being to stay focused on the present and not get distracted by whatever has gone on in the past. I'm certainly not trying to modify what you've presented, only trying to clarify it for myself, and get your input on whether or not I'm on the right track.

Francis Perry

I thought this was a perfect additional concept! The main principle is to clear your mind of any distraction that stops you from focusing on your next shot. Whether a mistake or a brilliant winner, both can distract you from total concentration on your next shot. The "last mistake" is your obvious distraction, but your "brilliant winner" can be the most subtle distraction. There is nothing wrong with enjoying your great shot, but when you're on the line to serve or return serve you MUST let go and focus on the job at hand. Often when players think about how well they are playing or about their last brilliant shot, that subtle distraction can become their nemesis when playing their next shot, game, or set!

What comes to my mind is a little ploy that some players use when their opponent is serving well. On the change over they quietly say to their opponent, "you are serving really well today." With puffed up confidence, the opponent then begins dwelling on how well he or she is serving and loses his or her focus!

So the last mistake, a brilliant winner, a bird flying overhead, or your mother-in-law calling you on the cell phone :) does not matter. The principle is the same: Focus on the shot at hand, clear your mind of ANY distractions and keep moving.

Thank you Francis for your "brilliant winner" concept!

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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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