Engage in Positive Self-talk While You Are Playing a Tennis Match

One more important advice for tennis players from the book Maximum Tennis by Nick Saviano.

Nick Saviano and Jennifer Capriati

Engage in Positive Self-talk While You Are Playing a Tennis Match

It is critical to converse with yourself in a positive way when you are on the tennis court. Don’t berate yourself or talk negatively about your game. You cannot afford to battle two opponents, the person on the other side of the net and yourself. One opponent is enough. Engaging in negative self-talk will bring you to defeat quicker than a superior opponent. If you miss an easy shot, the worst thing you can do is to reinforce the mistake by verbalizing, “Oh, what an idiot I am. No way I should have missed that shot!” Instead, say something like, “You’ll get it next time.” Or don’t say anything at all and quickly visualize yourself hitting that shot for a winner. You can even take a practice swing to imprint the positive image in your brain. Along those same lines, try to always be optimistic and think in terms of what you want to happen instead of what you don’t want to happen. For example, assume you are serving for the tennis match. During the changeover, think about wanting to hold serve and what you need to do to be successful, as opposed to thinking to yourself, “I can’t lose serve now” or “Just don’t miss your first serve”. The point is the more you tell yourself what you don’t want to happen, the more likely it is to happen. So, always think and project positively and optimistically and focus on positive affirmations.

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Tennis Strings for Junior Tennis Players. How to Prevent Injures of Players

Some tennis players and specialists are wary of poly tennis strings. There are articles and opinions that poly strings are injurious to junior arms, and strings’ manufacturers advise lower tensions.

It is always more useful to get independence expert’s opinion on this topic. I asked our expert Bruce Levine about his opinion regarding poly tennis strings and how to prevent injures of junior tennis players.
Bruce Levine
Strings today have become as important as the racquet itself to the point that they have taken the spotlight in the industry.

The big attention has been directed at the ever changing poly strings. They have gone from being just round and harsh poly to becoming softer and more forgiving and having “sides” or “edges” to better grab the ball.

The reason the professional players like the poly string so much is that it is basically “dead”. To make that easier to understand; they are very unlively. This allows a player to swing with a lot of speed and energy and the ball won’t travel as far nor as wildly leading to greater control and increased power and spin. The thing that makes the poly great for professionals is the same thing that will hurt junior players arms; the dead and lack of life in the string.

Because the poly is a “dead” material, it provides little energy that is returned to the ball. The second piece about poly is that it is very unforgiving; meaning that if you hit the ball off center or away from the sweet spot, you get a harsh message in your arm that you missed in the form of a jolt or more simply put a shock. If the string were soft and forgiving, you would still receive the same message but in a kinder, gentler manner; like a “love tap”.

Because of the jolt that you receive, it has been recommended that players string down at lower tensions to minimize the trauma that can be caused by the poly and cushion the “blow”. As this pertains to juniors; it is important to protect their arms and give their bodies and musculature a chance to develop before consistent and persistent trauma is applied. Damage that can be done could cause many different maladies including tennis elbow and these injuries could be chronic keeping them out of tennis for long periods of time if not permanently.

I would recommend that juniors play with multi-filament strings that offer some “compassion” for their arms and give them some touch and feel for the ball on their strings. This will also help them developmentally as players so that they can learn about different parts of the game and develop better skills. As players mature and age up into the 16’s and 18’s poly may be an option but better would be a co-poly which is kinder and gentler than the pure poly but, still has many of the traits of the poly. I would also suggest strongly that a blend of strings (very common today) be used by juniors. An example of this would be using poly in the main strings and a good multi-filament in the crosses.

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Who Will Win at 2012 Wimbledon?

Wimbledon 2012

Who Will Win at 2012 Wimbledon?

The most prestigious and famous Grand Slam tennis tournament will start next week. I wanna share my thoughts about the upcoming 2012 Wimbledon. I believe that Serena Williams has the biggest chance to win it and Maria Sharapova is her only competition. No other tennis player on the women’s side has a chance to win in London.

And now some thoughts concerning the men’s draw. Four players have the same chance, but I like Roger Federer on grass more than others. Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are also major candidates to win it all at the 2012 Wimbledon. The fourth player who can compete for this major is Milos Raonic. He has the best serve at the ATP tour right now and it will definitely help him on the grass of the Wimbledon courts.

What do you think about Wimbledon 2012? Who will be winners?

Stay in Present, When You Are Playing Tennis Match

I continue to post  psychological secrets of the tennis champions from the book Maximum Tennis by Nick Saviano.

Nick Saviano and Jim Courier

Stay in Present, When You Are Playing Tennis Match

This is one of the keys to concentration. Learn from the past and plan for the future, but in the heart of the battle, if you are psychologically anywhere but in the present, you are in trouble. In tennis terms, this equates to playing one point at a time. Andre Agassi summed it up succinctly when he said: “I have learned the hard way that to lose the focus on one point interferes with your job. If you let up for one point, what’s going to stop you from doing it on two? You can’t run out the clock. You have to finish.” If you catch yourself dwelling on the shot you just blew, the set you just lost, or a bad call or if you start thinking about the trophy you are about to win, you are not giving yourself the best chance to win the point you are about to play. Remember, when the point is finished, it is history. It’s over, gone, and there is nothing you can do about it except move on to the next point. Is that easy to do? No. I never said it would be easy, but if you want to play your best tennis, it is a must.

It was 1977, and I was playing in my first Wimbledon championships against a player named Freddy McNair. It had been a long, tough first-round battle. I had been down double match point in the fourth set, and now I was serving the match 5-4 in the fifth. I hit an overhead away for a winner to make the score 40-0, triple match point. I turned to my friend and quietly said, “I can’t believe I am going to win this match”. Guess what? Freddy hit a few winners; I made a few mistakes, and the next thing I know I had lost serve and then the match, 16-14, in the fifth set. Tough lesson. Stay in present, and don’t focus on winning or losing while you are competing.

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How Important is Tennis Specific Fitness?

How Important is Tennis Specific Fitness?

One more article about tennis fitness is written by Suzanna McGee. Suzanna is a former Ms Natural Olympia bodybuilding champion, currently nationally ranked tennis player and athletic trainer with focus on sport conditioning and injury prevention.                                                      Her website is http://www.tennisfitnesslove.com/

Suzanna McGee

For many tennis players and coaches, “tennis fitness training” means cone drills, sprints between the lines and some running in the grass. Although these activities can be a part of fitness preparation for tennis players, they are far away from tennis specific fitness training.

Tennis is one-sided sport and the demands on the body are tremendous. Most players hit open stance forehands, and choose to hit the forehands much more than their backhands. They hit there backhands with closed stance. Just hitting ground strokes, the right hip gets loaded much more than the left hip, which will over time lead to tightness, stiffness and overuse. Then think about your right shoulder and arm when you add serves and volleys and you can see the problem coming.

To continue this example, the right hip gets overused and tight and the left hip and glute may disconnect over time and not fire correctly, which will lead to other joints compensating and thus being overused. You get aches in the knees or ankles. You see the pattern.

Tennis specific fitness training has to address all these issues, in addition to running fast. The players need to focus on training their core and hips, and get them strong, powerful and explosive. They need to be flexible and evenly balanced on both left and right side. That’s a lot of work to do, if you think how many hours a player spends on the tennis court practicing her strokes and competing.

The older the player is, the bigger the chance that he accumulated many imbalances in the body, and therefore flexibility training is extremely important. A regular stretching routine has to be part of daily training program. In addition, self-myofascial release practice should be a part of the player’s repertoire as often as possible.

The younger players need to focus on developing strength and power so they could handle their growing bodies. Basic full-body exercises such as push-ups, squats, lunges, planks, burpees and many other plyometric versions are extremely beneficial. The young players need to develop the animal-like quickness and suppleness. Stretching is an important part of the program for the young ones as it is for the older ones.

The adult players who are not as strong and agile as they should be need to work on their athletic power, explosiveness and overall strength as well. It will help them to move lighter and quicker and lessen the stress on the body, thus prevent future overuse injuries.

I often hear the “excuse” that people don’t have time to workout in addition to their tennis, work and family. It is important to figure out the training schedule so some fitness training will fit it. It’s more important than you can even imagine. A good solution is to do a quick, intense workout directly after your tennis practice. You can do 20-30 minutes of high intensity training and if you do that four times per week, you now have total 2 hours of solid training. Everybody can find 20 extra minutes!

For your inspiration, look at this intense short workout that I often do after my tennis practice. Start with that. As you get fitter and stronger and start playing even better tennis, you will become more motivated to do even more.

Remember, even 10 minutes is better than nothing. Start today and see how quickly the results will come.