Ideas and theories of Allen Fox

#1
Today, I saw two things posted to TTW that caught my attention.

The first was that winning rec tennis is about consistency that was attributed to Allen Fox.
I agree. You simply can not win the point if you hit the ball out or net.
(pushing like Murray and Hewitt wins Slams)

The 2nd was in in someone's sig
"...the human emotional system was not designed to endure the mental rigors of a tennis match." Dr. Allen Fox

Both are insightful statements.

Any Allen Fox fans here?
Can we discuss his books, articles, and videos ?
 
#5
I made the same observation in my math students: some will rush through a problem just to finish it, seemingly regardless of whether they're doing it right or understand it. It's stressful and by completing the problem, the stress goes away [until I point out their errors and start to review how to solve it].

With one particularly challenging student, it wasn't enough for me to tell her to stop: I literally had to take the pencil away from her to get her to focus on what I was saying.

Not so sure how well this would work with a tennis player but it's worth a try!
 
#6
I don't think you can lump all of rec tennis into one basket and you cant call every defensive player a "pusher". Each level will have aggressive and defensive players. A 3.5 pusher wont do very well against an aggressive 4.0 player. Are you saying the aggressive 4.0 would be a 4.5 if he played more defensively? I don't think that is universally true. Defensive play requires different skills than aggressive play. Most experienced players will maximize the value from their own skills and land somewhere on the defense vs offense spectrum where they are most effective.
 
#7
I have found that mental tennis coaches like Allen Fox only goes so far. I find the mental aspect very important but it is not as clean cut as the mental coaches ( who make their living teaching it) make it out to be nor is it as important as they make it. For rec players I believe it is even less important. There is much much lower hanging fruit. The higher in level the more important emotional control becomes. But till 5.0 or 5.5 you can play fine being nervous and tight at that level.

Usually it is the fallacy of lower level players that believe it's their mental game that is holding them back. It is not. It is because they have not practiced enough. Nor practiced properly enough.
 
#12
I have found that mental tennis coaches like Allen Fox only goes so far. I find the mental aspect very important but it is not as clean cut as the mental coaches ( who make their living teaching it) make it out to be nor is it as important as they make it. For rec players I believe it is even less important. There is much much lower hanging fruit. The higher in level the more important emotional control becomes. But till 5.0 or 5.5 you can play fine being nervous and tight at that level.

Usually it is the fallacy of lower level players that believe it's their mental game that is holding them back. It is not. It is because they have not practiced enough. Nor practiced properly enough.
The counter-observation: lower-level rec players concentrate about 95% on technique, 4% on physical, and maybe 1% on mental. I think the mental aspect, while widely recognized, is under-emphasized.

Just look at all of the threads posted here: what % are about technique vs the mental aspect? How many people announce they are going to work on being kind to themselves or resisting distractions?

I also disagree that one can play fine being nervous and tight < 5.0: the nervousness and tightness destroys technique, judging from the various posts.

If I had to bet, I'd take the mentally tougher player with inferior technique.
 
#13
I was not implying anything about technique.
The counter-observation: lower-level rec players concentrate about 95% on technique, 4% on physical, and maybe 1% on mental. I think the mental aspect, while widely recognized, is under-emphasized.

Just look at all of the threads posted here: what % are about technique vs the mental aspect? How many people announce they are going to work on being kind to themselves or resisting distractions?

I also disagree that one can play fine being nervous and tight < 5.0: the nervousness and tightness destroys technique, judging from the various posts.

If I had to bet, I'd take the mentally tougher player with inferior technique.
 
#14
The counter-observation: lower-level rec players concentrate about 95% on technique, 4% on physical, and maybe 1% on mental. I think the mental aspect, while widely recognized, is under-emphasized.

Just look at all of the threads posted here: what % are about technique vs the mental aspect? How many people announce they are going to work on being kind to themselves or resisting distractions?

I also disagree that one can play fine being nervous and tight < 5.0: the nervousness and tightness destroys technique, judging from the various posts.

If I had to bet, I'd take the mentally tougher player with inferior technique.
How about low level rec players feel the mental aspects of the game because they miss shots they should not miss: overhead, volleys, serve.
Which one is easier to practice? Technique vs mental toughness. I will take techniques any day.
 
#15
How about low level rec players feel the mental aspects of the game because they miss shots they should not miss: overhead, volleys, serve.
Which one is easier to practice? Technique vs mental toughness. I will take techniques any day.
I totally agree that practicing technique is easier which is one reason why people avoid practicing mental toughness. People can also see immediate feedback practicing a technique.
 
#16
Murray and Hewitt are not pushers. Lol.
TTPS says all kind of crazy sh*t. i am not surprised anymore.
I totally agree that practicing technique is easier which is one reason why people avoid practicing mental toughness. People can also see immediate feedback practicing a technique.
how do you practice mental toughness? self hypnosis????
 
#18
how do you practice mental toughness? self hypnosis????
Go on YouTube and look for mental toughness videos.

Put yourself in many competitive situations where there is something on the line so you get accustomed to pressure.

Try to play matches as you practice and vice versa.

Learn to accept that you're going to make errors. Let go of the past.

You can practice this just like physical conditioning.
 
#19
I totally agree that practicing technique is easier which is one reason why people avoid practicing mental toughness. People can also see immediate feedback practicing a technique.
Oh great ... it's not enough that every tennis player now has a tennis coach tuck them in bed at night. Now "mental coaches". If they start posting here I am blaming you.

Wah... I find tennis so stressful ... just grow a pair. :D
 
#20
Go on YouTube and look for mental toughness videos.

Put yourself in many competitive situations where there is something on the line so you get accustomed to pressure.

Try to play matches as you practice and vice versa.

Learn to accept that you're going to make errors. Let go of the past.

You can practice this just like physical conditioning.
So play more matches... lol.
 
#28
Today, I saw two things posted to TTW that caught my attention.

The first was that winning rec tennis is about consistency that was attributed to Allen Fox.
I agree. You simply can not win the point if you hit the ball out or net.
(pushing like Murray and Hewitt wins Slams)

The 2nd was in in someone's sig
"...the human emotional system was not designed to endure the mental rigors of a tennis match." Dr. Allen Fox

Both are insightful statements.

Any Allen Fox fans here?
Can we discuss his books, articles, and videos ?
Fox is awesome. I've got his book "Think to Win". A few points I like
  • topspin is for passing shots, and not for rallies
  • pronation on the serve happens automatically
  • same with scissor kicking on overheads
  • a determined lobber can beat most rec players
Also, great to read about him playing Whitney Reed in the NCAA championships.

I have found that mental tennis coaches like Allen Fox only goes so far. I find the mental aspect very important but it is not as clean cut as the mental coaches ( who make their living teaching it) make it out to be nor is it as important as they make it. For rec players I believe it is even less important. There is much much lower hanging fruit. The higher in level the more important emotional control becomes. But till 5.0 or 5.5 you can play fine being nervous and tight at that level.

Usually it is the fallacy of lower level players that believe it's their mental game that is holding them back. It is not. It is because they have not practiced enough. Nor practiced properly enough.
Like when people talk about "choking". If you 'choked', it means that it is something you know how to do, so the explanation for the fail is choking. If you simply don't know how to do it, well, what do you expect?
 

Raul_SJ

Hall of Fame
#29
No need for a 3.5 to work that much on the mental game per se. I have no problem with 90% or more of practice time dedicated to technique and fitness . Those are much higher priorities. Improving those will also boost confidence which likely boosts mental game.

If you play more real matches the mental game will vastly improve. If you're playing just as well in real matches as in practice that is a very good sign. Some will play better in matches. Even better.

Key is to play more tournaments. Practice matches can never replicate the pressure of a tournament match... Unless you're playing for money. :eek:
 
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#30
Fox is awesome. I've got his book "Think to Win". A few points I like
  • topspin is for passing shots, and not for rallies
Nadal would disagree.

Did he write why he thought this way? And is he talking about pros or in general?

  • pronation on the serve happens automatically
Based on all of the videos on YouTube discussing pronation, a lot of instructors disagree.

Playing volleyball, if I was hitting from the right side and I wanted to "slice", I'd supinate, not pronate.

  • same with scissor kicking on overheads
Observe a typical 3.0 match: do you see much scissor kicking occurring?

  • a determined lobber can beat most rec players
Agreed. Same thing can be said about a pusher in general.
 
#32
Observe a typical 3.0 match: do you see much scissor kicking occurring?
Agreed. Same thing can be said about a pusher in general.
My vertical leap is about two inches. It just doesn't matter. I wait for short lobs.

You didn't mention Whitney Reed. Whitney Reed played inside the baseline, in no-man's-land. He played facing the net. His weapons where dropshots and lobs. He had incredible touch. BTW, that year, (1963, is think), he had wins over Rod Laver and Roy Emerson!

I believe that shows that any style can work at a high level, if the player is just good enough.
 
#34
Fox is awesome. I've got his book "Think to Win". A few points I like
  • topspin is for passing shots, and not for rallies
  • pronation on the serve happens automatically
  • same with scissor kicking on overheads
  • a determined lobber can beat most rec players
Also, great to read about him playing Whitney Reed in the NCAA championships.


Like when people talk about "choking". If you 'choked', it means that it is something you know how to do, so the explanation for the fail is choking. If you simply don't know how to do it, well, what do you expect?
I'm sure there was more to the "topspin for passing shots, not for rallies". :D

Passing shots are situational ... both on opponent position at the net and your proficiency with each type of shot. I can elaborate different scenarios if you want.

Rally balls flat or topspin also depends on your skill set and style of play. I can't play like Nadal and he wouldn't :D play like me.

I didn't understand your comment on choking. Everyone gets tight, stressed, chokes if they are playing seriously to win, it's what makes tennis fun. Some manage it better naturally than others, but it hits everyone. You get better at it by playing competition where you have a big desire to win.
 
#35
Like I said. It is a legitimate concern. Just not for the posters on here for the most part. Running a mile 3 times a week will work better. Lol. No technical changes or hypnosis needed.
For sure. I think it's a case by case basis. I'm one of those young, in shape hotheads that could stand to do a few breathing exercises in between points!
 
#38
I'm sure there was more to the "topspin for passing shots, not for rallies". :D

Passing shots are situational ... both on opponent position at the net and your proficiency with each type of shot. I can elaborate different scenarios if you want.

Rally balls flat or topspin also depends on your skill set and style of play. I can't play like Nadal and he wouldn't :D play like me.

I didn't understand your comment on choking. Everyone gets tight, stressed, chokes if they are playing seriously to win, it's what makes tennis fun. Some manage it better naturally than others, but it hits everyone. You get better at it by playing competition where you have a big desire to win.
Don't get tight in rec tennis. I mean, nothing is riding on it. I don't place bets on tennis. Golf is better suited for betting.

Here's what I mean. Say a guy double faults on set point. But he was double faulting all the time anyhow. That's not a choke, that's how he plays.

Some guy who's only double fault of the match, was on match point...now that might be a choke.
 
#39
For sure. I think it's a case by case basis. I'm one of those young, in shape hotheads that could stand to do a few breathing exercises in between points!
I would be hoping for my first netcord winner playing you. :D

I used to play a friend a lot of singles (early 20s), and we were fairly equal in ability. Time after time we would be in a close match, and I would get a netcord winner. Match over ... he always had a meltdown. :p I hit a totally flat ball back then ... netcords were a regular occurrence.
 
#40
Don't get tight in rec tennis. I mean, nothing is riding on it. I don't place bets on tennis. Golf is better suited for betting.

Here's what I mean. Say a guy double faults on set point. But he was double faulting all the time anyhow. That's not a choke, that's how he plays.

Some guy who's only double fault of the match, was on match point...now that might be a choke.
I was thinking tournament pressure ... too many years of tournaments.
 
#41
My vertical leap is about two inches. It just doesn't matter. I wait for short lobs.
The scissors kick is not so much to gain height but to cover more area behind. The second part of the scissors is to counterbalance to prevent falling backwards.

You didn't mention Whitney Reed. Whitney Reed played inside the baseline, in no-man's-land. He played facing the net. His weapons where dropshots and lobs. He had incredible touch. BTW, that year, (1963, is think), he had wins over Rod Laver and Roy Emerson!

I believe that shows that any style can work at a high level, if the player is just good enough.
That's because I had never heard of Whitney Reed. Santoro was also an outlier. But I don't think it's a good idea to emulate either in the hopes of achieving similar relative results.
 
#42
Don't get tight in rec tennis. I mean, nothing is riding on it. I don't place bets on tennis. Golf is better suited for betting.

Here's what I mean. Say a guy double faults on set point. But he was double faulting all the time anyhow. That's not a choke, that's how he plays.

Some guy who's only double fault of the match, was on match point...now that might be a choke.
I once played a set against a friend who was a much inferior player for an equivalence of 3$ US. Boy, it was not my thing.
 
#43
Peak tennis is like a lobotomy ... hit to their backhand and don't miss any shots. I guess for this discussion add the third ... "don't choke like a pu$$y".

No one is going to make any money telling people that. They want techniques for coping with it all. You don't get a lot of this in team sports. There it's sit your ass down until your attitude improves.
 
#45
The scissors kick is not so much to gain height but to cover more area behind. The second part of the scissors is to counterbalance to prevent falling backwards.



That's because I had never heard of Whitney Reed. Santoro was also an outlier. But I don't think it's a good idea to emulate either in the hopes of achieving similar relative results.
My health ins. co. doesn't cover me for jumping for OHs. :D

Whitney Reed learned tennis at a public park. If you lost your match, you had to get off the court. He didn't have the luxury of working to the long run improvement. It had to have immediate benefit. What worked best for a beginner at that park were drop shots and lobs. He didn't know about turning sideways. He stayed with this unorthodox way, until he mastered it.

I agree, that's not something to emulate. I just know to never dismiss an opponent as an 'easy win'. You never know.
 
#48
I agree, that's not something to emulate. I just know to never dismiss an opponent as an 'easy win'. You never know.
I'm with you: an opponent's ugly game does not translate into an easy win.

Maybe it would be better to judge an opponent based on his results: if he's consistent, or can put the ball near the lines, or otherwise make you uncomfortable, it's going to be a battle. Too many get hung up on the aesthetics.
 
#49
I'm with you: an opponent's ugly game does not translate into an easy win.

Maybe it would be better to judge an opponent based on his results: if he's consistent, or can put the ball near the lines, or otherwise make you uncomfortable, it's going to be a battle. Too many get hung up on the aesthetics.
Indeed. If a guy is incredibly consistent, you can't infer that from a small sample size. A guy who returns 90% of his groundies nice and deep is consistent. But one who returns 99% that way is ridiculously consistent. You can't distinguish by watching only a dozen shots.

Guys turn in videos here show someone return just a few balls. Those rating clinics just look at a few shots. Both only look at form and power. They really can't tell. League stats and tournament results are much more meaningful.
 
#50
No need for a 3.5 to work that much on the mental game per se.
Mental game is not something you should ever need to work on. It's a symptom.
Mental game is for people who are trying to compensate for not drilling and practicing.
My mental game is rock solid b/c I've put in the work and let the strokes take over.

I've also played several tournaments. Played them just like any other friendly match.
Anyone who says tournaments are different than a practice match is mentally weak.
 
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