In today's world of consumerism it is usually the corporate marketing guru who has his finger on the pulse of the American heartbeat. Not only do these corporate whiz kids so adeptly read the mind set of the public they are also insidiously savvy in knowing how to manipulate that message to the advantage of their product line. Aligning, balancing, leveraging - it sounds like how one might connect with a tennis ball - but instead it is how corporate marketing execs connect with our pocketbooks, and ultimately our consciousness.
Click photo to hear Doug King talk about the real meaning of guts - it's not what you think.
They have become the new breed of coaches, educators, pundits, and diviners. They are the New-Age Pied Pipers of teenagers and age-phobic adults the world over, seductively luring their share to the altar of the Holy Mall. And nowhere is their message clearer than on the brand bearing T-Shirts of our youth. "Just Do It!", "NO FEAR!", "Just Win, Baby" are more than catchy slogans, they have become cultural precepts.
As fun, cute, ridiculous, sad, or pathetic as these marketing mantras are, there is usually some underlying truth to the hype. Take one of my favorites as an example, "No Guts, No Glory." This is a familiar anthem among the i -pod plugged tennis pugilists that lounge courtside these days. And if you can look past the chest thumping, vein popping, eyes bulging, racquet wielding Neanderthal that is often depicted just below the slogan you may glean a well buried kernel of truth. For in reality it couldn't be more true - no guts, no glory. But what is "guts?" I sometimes think the marketing man would like to feed our testosterone driven imagination the picture of a lone soldier running through a hail of bullets to toss a grenade behind enemy lines, or a barehanded hunter wrestling a wild beast into submission. Courageous acts indeed, if not, perhaps, a bit foolhardy. Is that what being gutsy is about? Filling one's self with reckless determination to the point of ignoring common sense? Well that may play well in selling shoes with the latest power infused heel implant but I'm not so sure that is what plays so well in tennis shot making.
"Fatigue makes cowards of us all,"
Guts are such an important part of sports that the term "being gutsy" may well have originated as a sports analogy. You see, power comes from flex in sport. The body works like a spring to bend and coil and release energy. The waist is the largest and most central flex of the entire body. Being able to flex at the waist is the most fundamental source of power in sport. What prevents this from happening is most often fear. Fear creates tension. Another form of tension comes from fatigue.
Vince Lombardi, the legendary coach of the Green Bay Packer dynasty once put it perfectly when he said, "Fatigue makes cowards of us all." In either case the legs stiffen and the body loses its spring. Having "guts" simply means remaining "springy." How one maintains springiness is a good question, but rather than trying to break down your opponent with intimidating stares, or pumping your fist with shouts of "C'MON", or ripping the cover off of the ball I would suggest the following techniques:
- Relax your grip. Tension is most easily detected in the grip so ease up.
Slow down and take a few easy breaths. When the tension mounts so does our respiration. The best way to bring it down is to slow yourself down and BREATHE.
- Bounce on your toes. As we stiffen we tend to get back on our heels. Bouncing on the toes will help relax the whole body.
Concentrate on just focusing on the ball. In tense situations our minds tend to race around and they usually go to places that they shouldn't be - places that only increase tension. Simplify your thought process by telling yourself to just watch the ball more closely.
- Try to laugh. Nothing loosens the guts better than a good belly laugh - but even a little chuckle will do wonders.
Now most of these instructions are pretty mundane, not very sexy or attention grabbing - certainly not T-Shirt material. But just give them a try and see if you don't feel a little more "gutsy" the next time you serve for the match or have to stave off a break point deep in the third set. Remember, as the shirt says "No guts, no Glory." Oh, by the way, it doesn't hurt to realize that the "glory" was already yours when you picked up the racquet and stepped onto the tennis court. I can think of a lot worse places to be.
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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 froma 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 theconvenience of their own home.
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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