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How to Establish Momentum
by Tom Veneziano

Momentum! What is it? How do you get it? How do you lose it? And how do you get it back again? Good questions. You will be glad to know you do have some control over momentum, but you must have your mental attitude on straight. Otherwise momentum shifts in a match will drag you down. Actually I should say YOU will drag YOU down, not the momentum.

Let's go to the dictionary for a definition of "momentum." In Webster's dictionary momentum is, "a property of a moving body that determines the length of time required to bring it to rest when under the action of a constant force or moment." What! What in the world was that? Forget it! Here is my definition. Momentum is when your opponent is on a roll and you have to stop them - or lose! Ahhh, that's much better. Apparently Mr. Webster does not know much about tennis! Of course, you can also be the one with the momentum and your opponent must stop you.

Momentum is the unseen drive or force that moves you continuously forward. You must learn to develop your own momentum in a match and if you lose it, you must gain it back! Most players do not realize it, but the key to momentum is consistency. Here is a phrase you should remember - "consistency establishes momentum." If you want momentum on your side, be consistent. Consistency is the gateway to momentum. This is one of the reasons why handling your negatives, mistakes, and failures is top priority. If you are always letting up when you fail, you will not be consistent and consequently you will struggle to maintain momentum. If you lose momentum you must focus on consistency to gain it back. Consistency establishes momentum!

The key to momentum is consistency, the key to consistency is concentration, and the key to concentration is self-discipline. What I am telling you is YOU have a lot to do with momentum. You must be self-disciplined to not let negatives, mistakes, and failures bother you. You must be self-disciplined to be patient when you lose momentum, and look to reestablish your consistency. And you must be self-disciplined to keep playing the same way and not change your game when you have momentum on your side. Self-discipline will help you maintain your consistency and keep your momentum.

Have you ever noticed when one player has the momentum then some unusual situation occurs and the momentum shifts back the other direction. For example,at a crucial point, player "A" who does not have the momentum accidentally hits the net cord and the ball drops over on to player "B's" court. If it is a crucial point many times the momentum will swing back the other direction on that one point! Do you know why this happens? It happens because consistency establishes momentum. The player who hit the net cord and won the crucial point feels motivated. The player who had a bad break during a crucial point feels a little down. Being a little down causes the player with momentum to lose some concentration and his consistency wanes a bit. Since consistency establishes momentum, he is vulnerable to losing some momentum at that moment. On the other hand, the player that caught a break at the right time feels great and his concentration improves which affects his consistency. Therefore, he is in position to grab the momentum back and many times this is exactly what happens!

One way you can grab the momentum back is to self-discipline yourself to be patient and keep plugging away waiting for a similar opportunity to present itself--then seize the moment!

In conclusion, remember consistency establishes momentum. The key to momentum is consistency, the key to consistency is concentration, and the key to concentration is self-discipline. All of these principles come down to one little word that always makes the difference in any match. That word is YOU!

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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