Do Not Leave Your Wingman!
For those of you who are working on improving your tennis game and want to reach your ultimate potential, this article applies to you. On the other hand, if you are quite content with your current game and lack the commitment of long term game improvement this might not be the best advice for you.
That was some of the best flying I've seen yet. Right until the moment you got killed. – Viper
You never… never leave your wingman. – Jester
Maverick... It's not your flying, It’s your attitude. – Viper
The enemy's dangerous, but right now you’re worse, dangerous and foolish. – Viper
From the movie Top Gun
Click photo to hear Heath Waters talk about the phrase "Do not leave your wingman."
Just as Maverick had to learn a costly lesson, we too can learn a similar lesson regarding our tennis game. So how does leaving your wingman in air-to-air combat apply to tennis? Well, I know it's a stretch, but think of your wingman as your own tennis game's strengths, your style of play, your go to shots. These are the parts of your game you are best at. Whether you are a serve and volleyer, a power baseliner, a slice and dicer, an angle lover, a counter puncher, or an all court pressure applying player like Federer, when under pressure, it is surprisingly easy for most of us, coaches included, to leave our wingman.
I remember watching Boris Becker in the middle of his career begin to take some uncharacteristic losses because he wanted to prove to the world and more likely to himself he could win from the baseline. He did have some reasonable success but never to the degree that he had when he stuck to his strengths, following his booming serve and ground and pound strokes to the net.
Pete Sampras, in the last year of his career, suffered a horrid losing slump when he stopped hitting topspin backhands.
Similarly, Pete Sampras, in the last year of his career, suffered a horrid losing slump when he quit going for his big forehand, all together stopped hitting topspin backhands, and dropped several mph on the serve. Pete and coach Paul Annacone had split during this time and that may have been part of the problem. It was not until the US Open, the final tournament of his career (and one that Paul Annacone came back to coach him), that he once again stuck with his wingman. In that tournament, he went back to his strengths and the rest, as they say, is US Open history.
As a coach, it is very easy to provide band-aids to our players' games in order to obtain the instant gratification a win can provide. For example, say a coach knows his player's strength is the serve and volley game and that style will lead the students to achieve his ultimate potential. So far, so good, however, the student has been struggling with his volleys for a couple of days and has a match coming up against a good player. The coach also knows that his player, if he stays back and plays from the baseline against this particular player, he might possibly pull out a win. What do you think the coach should advise? Go for the instant gratification or stick with his strengths by serving and volleying and try to figure out how to win with what he does best even when having a bit of an off day?
The easy route is tempting but it is not going to help the players ultimate development.
If you truly want to reach your tennis potential you need to choose a style that suits
your strengths and stay committed to this win or lose. In other words, stay with your wingman if you want to reach your ultimate potential. Long-term development vision is essential. Patrick Rafter, John McEnroe, and Stefan Edberg, no matter how much they struggled on a particular day stuck with their game plans which was to put non-stop pressure on their opponents by serving and volleying. and getting to the net at the first possible opportunity. They did not try to be Andre Agassi or Ivan Lendl at the first sign of trouble. They simply made adjustments to their serve and volley game styles rather than abandoning it altogether.
Even when strugling, Patrick Rafter stuck with his game plan.
So, the moral of this story seems obvious. Stick with your game, it gives you the best chance to reach your full potential as a player, and learn how to make adjustments to your game when things are not going as you would like them to.
If you get in the habit of putting band-aids on problems, you will never allow for complete healing. How can you master
your game style if you always leave at the first sign of trouble?
In closing, everyone wants to win and many will ask the question, shouldn’t I do whatever it takes to make it happen? The answer is, of course you should. Try different strategies, tactics, etc. but do it within the framework of your game style and do it off your strengths. Don’t waste time playing styles that do not suit your strengths or you will not master your own style,
the ultimate key to winning.
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Virtual Tennis Academy
Current professional tour coach, Heath Waters and wife, top 100 and former no. 33 in the world ranked tour player, Lindsay Lee-Waters, are proud to release the first predominantly all streaming video based e-learning tennis instructional website at www.virtualtennisacademy.com
Subscribers will receive personal video tennis instruction directly from Heath and Lindsay as well as mental coaching, sports performance training, and much, more from a hand chosen team of experts currently working with professional tennis players on tour. Now anyone in the world, no matter what level, can receive the same world class training the world's best tennis players receive right from the convenience of their own home.
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Professional tour coach, Heath Waters, completes his cutting Edge video series on the two-handed backhand by analyzing the endings of four of the world's top professionals. Heath points out the major reference points used by all of these great players and shows you how to mimic them to improve you own game.
"Play tough on the big points!" "Concentrate harder!" It might surprise you but these and other tips like them, though they may sound pithy, in fact can distract you from what is really important on the tennis court, hitting through the ball. Rolf Clark thinks, concentration should be the same on all points because that simplifies your game. Find out how and why.
Chronic Tennis Elbow
Take a look around your club these days and your likely to see an awful lot of arm bands just below the elbow. The reason for this is tennis elbow. Interestingly, on the pro tour, where the forces generated by the players are far greater, tennis elbow is almost unheard of. Yet among 3.0 to 4.0 players, tennis elbow is almost epidemic. The reason is almost always improper technique.
The Etcheberry Experience DVD
For more than twenty years Pat Etcheberry has been providing athletes from around the world with the winning edge. We call this the Etcheberry Experience, and players with an Etcheberry experience have hoisted Championship Trophies at over one hundred major championships, including 28 Australian Opens, 18 Wimbledons, 22 UP Opens, 22 French Opens and 15 Olympic medals.
And now it's your turn! This is your chance to experience the same drills, exercises and words of tennis wisdom that Pat gave to Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jennifer Capriati, Martina Hingis, Jim Courier, Justine Henin-Hardenne, and others, that helped launch them on their incredible careers. For the first time, Pat Etcheberry shares his training secrets in a series of DVDs for players of all ages, their coaches, and trainers.
Jeff Greenwald - Fearless Tennis
Feel you're playing tentatively and know that you have greater potential than you're demonstrating in tournaments? This one of a kind, double- CD audio program, FearlessTennnis: The 5 Mental Keys To Unlocking Your Potential, will help you compete with confidence, close out matches and is a great way to get the mental edge en route to a tournament.
Schedule Jeff Greenwald to Speak
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