INSTANT TENNIS IMPROVEMENT
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INSTANT TENNIS IMPROVEMENT

  2001,  Roger Haeske

Here's a powerful tip to instantly improve your performance on the tennis court. Before I used this idea on a regular basis I played well below my athletic potential. It's really very simple, but deceptively powerful. Most people who have a formal education tend to think and analyze their strokes too much. Over-thinking causes stress and takes you out of the Flow State or The Zone. 

The principle is to: FOCUS on your DESIRED RESULT and Not on how to hit the shot or the mechanics. Focusing on mechanics are necessary when you are first learning a shot. You have to have a basic idea of how to hit the shot. But when perfecting your stroke you should be focusing on the End Result of the stroke. Your mechanics will keep adjusting until you are hitting your visualized picture. I've found this technique to be the fastest way to learn tennis. Thinking about mechanics while hitting produces horrible results. Just try to hit shots while thinking of the mechanics. I'm sure you will agree that it is very difficult. In fact you may find your coordination going way off. 

An extreme example of this was a lesson I was teaching many years back. I was having my student work on footwork. It became very difficult for him to do the footwork I wanted him to do. He had to think about it to do it. It got so bad that he actually tripped  and landed on his mouth and cracked a tooth in half. You don't want that happening to you do you? 

Now try hitting your shots by only visualizing your Desired Result. Imagine and Feel how hard, how much spin and the height over the net the ball will travel. Then let your subconscious give you the Feeling Command. (This is a complete subconscious instruction to help you hit a tennis ball. This is as opposed to thinking about different parts of the stroke and mentally repeating these parts to yourself just before hitting the ball. That is what I mean by thinking.) 

An exercise I sometimes use with my students is to pretend they are a famous player like Pete Sampras and to pretend that they are playing exactly like Pete or that they even are Pete. This is setting your goals high. But I've seen over and over again a remarkable improvement in students who use this visualization technique. They drop the how and like magic they start hitting better almost instantly. Of course you need to start with some kind of mechanics but eventually you have to stop thinking about mechanics so you can hit effortlessly like the pros. 

To learn this feeling command on your own, just pay attention to hitting your favorite shot and notice that you hit it by following an inner feeling and image. It is nonverbal, but it tells you how to hit the whole shot. You're in essence letting your subconscious do the work instead of trying to do it with the very limited conscious awareness or what Timothy Gallwey author of "The Inner Game," series of books calls Self 1.

Your conscious self should be choosing the kind of shot to hit and where to hit it to. You must let your subconscious do the hitting. 

For years I used to be constantly worrying about my mechanics. Then one day I was playing someone and I decided to take this visualization principle and try it out in my tennis game. I couldn't believe it but my shots instantly improved. I felt confident and was hitting the ball hard and placing it where I wanted to. It was an instant 20% improvement in my stroke quality.

Keep in mind that mechanics are ok when you are learning to hit a shot but they get in the way if you think of them during the shot. The ability to hit a tennis ball requires millions of bits of information and feedback. Only the subconscious mind can handle that information. The conscious mind can only handle a few things at a time before it becomes crippled. If you think too much your reaction time will be very slow and you'll end up hitting the ball out because you were late.

Remember, focus on where or how you want your shot to go, not on how to get it there. Book an Superlearning Tennis Lesson with me to learn more. Call 732-432-4839 or email me at mailto:roger@supertennis.net.

 

 

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Copyright 1999-2005 Roger Haeske 
Last modified: March 07, 2005
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