Just thought I would share an email I sent today to contribute to this instruction part of the forum. Some may find it useful: Hello (parents), Just wanted to give you guys a report on my lesson today with (player) and some thoughts. (Dad) was present when we discussed some of the goals regarding (player's) focus during matches. I want (player) to concentrate on the things he can control, and not on those things outside of that, such as winning. Players are not always able to feel or play at their best, and cannot help to an extent how their opponent is playing, or what the conditions are like and so forth. (Player) should however be able to control his effort level and attitude no matter what, and his chances of winning will be much better. If he is too wrapped up in winning and dwelling on missed shots, he will probably not play to his potential. Mental toughness is the most important element for him to improve right now. I highly recommend the books I referrenced in my last email, as well as any video you can find from Dr. Jim Loehr on "ideal performance state" and mental toughness. The second goal I have for (player) is building a foundation of consistency, solid shotmaking and smart decisions to build upon. Part of this will be working on a few things with his technique. Much of it also is playing within himself, and realizing that tennis is a game of mistakes rather than scoring touchdowns or hitting homeruns. He must allow the opponent the chance to miss, rather than beat himself. He needs to abandon the temptations to hit the more gratifying and flashy shots which might make him look like a better player, and instead hit the shots he knows he can make ideally 80-90%+ of the time, which will allow him to win. Please go over these things with him when you can, I will be as well. I can share a couple stories with you that demonstrate these points. It is interesting that I had some things in common with (player) as a junior player. I liked to play very aggressive, yet had a couple small deficincies in my technique and was prone to errors on off days. I had been extremely frustrated on court often on these days and in practice. In college as a freshman, our nationally ranked team faced another ranked team in a very important match for playoff positioning. The team score was tied 4-4 and came down to my match which was in the third set and going beyond 3 hours. I played against a player that hit with no pace but was quick and made very few unforced errors, while I was hitting occasional winners but losing points on missing. I ended up losing the match, and felt horrible. I made a pact to myself at that point that I would never beat myself in a match again, and would commit to hitting at 50-60% pace, keeping every ball in play and running everything down my opponent hit. Though it was a conservative style of play, it paid off in huge ways. I began to enjoy playing tennis again, cutting my error rate down exponentially, and I also moved up from #5 singles to #1 in a short amount of time. I did it by slowing my shots down, working hard covering the court, and letting the opponent take risks or try to beat me at the same strategy. Eventually I ran into some really proficient aggressive players who could put me away, and that is when I began to develop my aggressive game to beat them and continue to move up to the next levels, but I could not have done it without the foundation of solid and smart play. Toward the end of (player's) lesson today, we played a baseline points game that made consistency a priority. Points were normal with the additional rule that if (player) could hit 6 balls in play he would automatically win the point right then. I also stated that I would be hitting only solid shots and not trying to hit hard or get him on the run too much. The first game, he lost 11-0, usually missing within 2-3 shots, a couple times even on the first ball feed. After we discussed some of the things earlier in this email, he was getting the 6-shot points very frequently, and I began to also hit a little harder and into the corners. He ended up winning the game 13-11; a huge turnaround from the first game! Hopefully he can see that slowing the pace down and simply keeping the ball in play, without beating himself, will allow him much more success. As he moves up, he will need to develop his offensive game as well when he needs to do more, but at his level, or especially to begin any match, one must have the game plan to allow opponents' errors. A consistent foundation is different for every player, and for (player) right now that may mean hitting at 50% or less so that he is rarely committing unnecessary errors. Once he can demonstrate consistency, the foundation gradually increases in pace all the way to where the pros are hitting most shots at 80%+ of maximum power. If a player without consistent foundation tries to hit at this pace or go for too difficult of shots than what is mastered, a player will self-desruct. Hopefully this helps, and we can work together toward strengthening (player's) tennis game! He certainly has the talent. Talk to you soon.