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Old 09-08-2012, 08:00 AM   #50
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Location: Washington, DC
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Originally Posted by Cindysphinx View Post
I'm with Goober, to a certain extent. For background, I started as a 2.5 and am now 4.0.

Early on, I tried to implement singles strategy. I learned the directionals. It didn't work. (Meaning I didn't win). The reason wasn't that the strategies were wrong or bad. I simply didn't have the mechanics to execute anything on a consistent basis.

Take the pusher. One strategy for dealing with pushers is to take the net and so take away their time. Nice idea. Assuming you can hit an approach shot, a finishing volley and an overhead.

Nowadays, I find it works better simply to develop consistency in my strokes and work on fitness and agility. For that, I think clinics and lessons are a better way to improve at my level than videos on strategy. If you can't execute the shots, all the strategy in the world won't help you much.

That said, I do find a lot of value in FYB (and Essential Tennis) content on stroke mechanics. I also enjoy watching the pros implement strategy. Most of the time, I find myself thinking, "I'd beat everybody if I could do *that.*"
Glad we've been able to help Cindy. Nice work improving so much!

My experience has led me to a different conclusion than the one you reached. When you play a match, it's all about finding a way to win. You can do that with superior strokes. Superior strategy. Superior mental game. You can cheat, although I wouldn't recommend this last one!

I really think the mechanics-only approach is counterproductive. It often leads to the wrong mindset. How many of you out there have played a match where you weren't playing well and, as a result, you concluded it wasn't your day, conceded on some level mentally, and lost?

My guess is every single one of you reading this. I certainly have.

I have a concept called "The Broken Racket." Theblueark, I'm sure you're familiar with it. I teach it in Tennis Ninja.

Awhile back I was playing a buddy of mine. Very good player. I was up 4 - 2 in the final set of our match when I broke the strings in my last racket. Had to borrow one of his.

I hate his racket. Feels like a two-by-four. I spent the next few games golfing balls into the back fence. It was really, really ugly.

I was about to give up. "Hey, it's not my day. I'm playing terribly because of this racket. I've got a good excuse. I can lose this one."

But that's not what the good tennis players do. They don't look for reasons to justify why they're losing. They find a way to win.

So I proceeded to go full counterpuncher mode (arguably pushing off my forehand side - it was really tough to keep the ball in!). Backed up several feet and just made sure I retrieved everything. My buddy missed a few shots and got a little frustrated, probably in part because I was doing OK with his racket. Went to a tiebreaker and I ended up edging him out.

So now whenever I feel like it's not my day I always think about "The Broken Racket." Strokes aren't the only reason you win a match, and you shouldn't tie your fortunes to them. There are plenty of ways to win.

Hope that helps!

Will Hamilton
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