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Your Link to Professional Thinking!

Focusing on the Mental Battle

There are two different mental attitudes toward going for your shots and missing. With the first mental attitude when you go for your shots and miss you think, "I'll make it next time, keep going for your shots." With the second mental attitude you think, "I'm going for my shots, but I'm missing. I should stop doing that." Which one are you? Do you have a pessimistic view of your misses or an optimistic view of your misses? Are you mistake oriented or solution oriented? I hope you are optimistic and solution oriented. If not, there's still hope.

To improve your mental ability to go for your shots you must get your mind off the physical battle and on to the mental battle. Playing a match is not a battle between you and your opponent, it's a battle between YOU and YOU! The YOU that concentrates solely on the physical battle and the YOU that concentrates on the mental battle. If you lose the match, but win the mental battle, you've won! You say, "that's fine but I still lost the match." And there you go again focusing on the wrong thing. When are you going to wake up and get with the program. (sorry I had to get a little tough there :)

The physical part of winning is the easy part. It's the mental battle that's tough. Would you like proof? Have you won any matches lately? I'm sure all of you have. Whether you won or lost the match how many of you consistently won the mental battle? I'm afraid, not too many. The mental battle is where the real war is taking place. You must CONSISTENTLY concentrate on winning the mental battle. Give yourself the freedom to go for your shots and if you miss, ACCEPT IT.....AND THEN MOVE ON. Remember, going for your shots does not mean to pulverize the ball every time. It's the absence of being too careful and being afraid of failing.

Stop confusing yourself by having too many gears to choose from when you play. You have the 'go for your shots' gear, the 'kind of go for it' gear, the 'I'm being careful' gear, and the 'I'm a basket case' gear. Keep it simple, one gear, the 'go for your shots' gear whether you win, lose or draw.

Now, get out there, go for your shots and lose. You say, "that's not very positive." And I say, "you're still not getting it!" Going for your shots IS POSITIVE. You are the one making an issue out of losing. Your mind is still focused exclusively on the physical battle. You've heard it before, tennis is 75 to 90 % mental. It's time for you to apply this principle - 75 to 90 % mental. Tennis is first about winning the mental battles. All great competitors LOVE THE BATTLE. YOU must learn to do the same. Now, get out there go for your shots and lose.

Your email tennis pro,
Tom Veneziano
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