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Excerpted from "Rising Through The Ranks"
(All Rights Reserved, Pros Inc. 1991 ©)

TENNIS LESSON   Chapter #7 - Attitudes

TENNIS INSTRUCTIONI'd like to discuss now the difference in Attitudes between all three levels of tennis players.  C players expect failure, B players ignore failure, and A players accept failure as a reality towards success.  I'll illustrate what I mean in terms of the Alley Shot.

Expecting failure, C players are so afraid of missing Alley Shots that they never take them.  B players ignore their fear, hit the Alley Shot too much and at the wrong times, and aren't interested in the statistics that demonstrate why they should be using the shot less.  A players understand that the Alley Shot represents a high probability of failure, but this doesn't stop them from using the shot at the most high percentage of times.  Reality has taught them that if they use the shot judiciously, they will succeed.  They make the effort to do this, where the B player often leads with their chin and gets knocked out.

A similar thing happens in tennis when it comes to the use of the lob.  C players expect and fear failure so much that they don't hit the shot except by accident.  B players ignore the reality of what a great shot it is and are ego involved in banging the ball so they wouldn't be caught dead hitting a lab.  But the A player knows what an easy shot it is to hit, and how devastating a shot it can be.  An A player will lob his way to victory if he has to.  So the A player will lob, while the B and C players won't, although for entirely different reasons.

Let's look at all the tennis attitudes regarding smashes.  For the C player the smash is the hardest shot in tennis.  If they get their strings on the ball they never hit it hard.  The B player can hit the smash hard and they do so all the time in practice.  But during a match they find every reason not to hit it hard.  They'll say: "the sun was in my eyes," "the wind was blowing," "I wasn't set up just right," "it was too high, too low, or too deep."  I've heard all the reasons ten times over, and none of them hold weight for the A players. 

A players recognize the smash as the easiest shot in tennis, relish the opportunity, and have fun with the shot. They always hit the ball hard ... live or die, they smack the ball. If they make the shot it's a winner and if they miss the shot, at least, maybe, they'll scare someone!

The smash is so easy because it's just like a serve, except you are closer to the net and you have the whole court to hit into, instead of just a tiny service box.  Your smash should be hit harder and more consistently than your fastest first serve.  The only difference, negatively, between the execution of the serve and the smash is that your opponent is tossing the ball, not you.  So if you get to the right position and hit the ball sweet, you'll smash like a Pro.

Now, we all know in tennis that there is a certain amount of "choke time" that's also involved in hitting smashes.  And this is the part that gets to the B players.  "Choke time," the time it takes for the ball to drop out of the sky, is the time that B player's find all of their reasons not to hit the smash hard.  But A players refuse to acknowledge this "choke time" by approaching the shot with a complete, power mentality.  They are going to live or die, make it or miss it, but they are going to hit it.  Once all the emotional reasons to chicken out have been obliterated, you can then focus on the position and the contact, and knock it away for a winner. 

C players have a good excuse not to hit a smash - they have none. B players have excuses not to hit smashes, none of them being valid.  A players have no excuses and so they just let it rip!

A similar thing happens on the serve. Tennis has something unique that no other sport has....

TENNIS TIP   There are 16 other chapters in "Rising Through The Ranks," loaded with valuable, winning, tennis tips.  Buy Tennis Instruction CDs Now!

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