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  1. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Clearwater, Florida
    Posts
    32

    Who is playing (continued)

    Instinct is the operation of the being at the highest level of thought, with perceptions coming in and decisions going out at a speed that the mind can’t grasp. Ironically, you can develop this by waiting - by taking your time. Conversely, you can lose it by rushing.

    In professional tennis, when the player is well focused, the spirit, that inner core, is playing, computing by feel. The ball may be traveling at a high velocity, but the player is efficient with no need to rush. He looks for the ball with the racquet as if it is part of the body, an extension of the hand. Finding it, he explodes with power, guiding the ball over the net and in the intended direction. The total focus is on finding the ball then looking to repeat a certain feel. The player may have a favorite place in relation to his body to execute this feel, but will adjust to the situation as needed, regardless of the position of the ball.

    Attention to sound is equally import when focusing on feel. It takes the mind off the task at hand. That is why top pros play better when there is absolute silence during a point. They hear the opponent’s stroke, the bounce, then their own stroke. This sound will confirm to the player that he is focusing and staying in the present time.

    I have had students count to five after the bounce. This seems to occupy and calm their minds, making for a far more polished timing of the ball and a cleaner hit. After a while, the mind becomes accustomed and the counting becomes unnecessary. However, if a player gets nervous again, an indication of too much thought interference, he can count again until he calms himself and gets back to the present time.

    Even with the power of the modern game, top players will tell you, “today I felt the ball,” or “I did not.” Those who are not at the professional level can learn to hit the same way by focusing on the same principles. Play as if the racquet was an extension of the hand, stalk the ball, find it and feel it. Then strike it without exerting too much force, without worrying about body position, or feet placement. On the contrary, move naturally, in a light and subtle way, like a cat on a hot tin roof. Balance yourself as you learned it as a kid, chasing the ball in the most efficient way.

    For beginners, practice like a slow motion movie, copying basic strokes from a favorite pro, stalking the ball first, then exaggerating the finish. Play slowly, efficiently, without rushing. Later on, when the game speeds up, you’ll need only to adjust your speed, not your form.

    Using these principles I had total beginners hitting 60, 90, up to 120 ball rallies within an hour, at a medium pace, with full forehand strokes. Miraculous, No! That is actually the potential of the inner being when it acts naturally by feel apart from conscious thought. Using these principle, one time I had a hard practice rally with Jimmy Arias, a former U.S. Open semifinalist, of over 400 balls. And that was the first ball we hit that day! (And he missed first!)

    Practice deliberately, slowly and by feel and you’ll be more conscious of the angle of your racquet when meeting the ball, which is the determining factor of the direction of your shot. Tennis will become easier, more fun, because conscious thought about too many details will inhibit the flow of the game. So take your time, enjoy, and don’t rush your game.
    Oscar Wegner
    www.TennisTeacher.com
    THE LEADER in modern tennis teaching methodology.

  2. #17
    Oscar, thanks for sharing your knowledge with us. It has given me a new perspective on tennis. I have one question - an important one that others who have read your article are also probably thinking about. Can someone ingrained in a very "thinking" oriented playing style adapt to the method you have described, and let instincts take over? Have you seen people who are very set in their ways make the change? Thanks in advance for your reply.

  3. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by snarec
    I have a question for you, I am an okay player and I play very well at times, when I play people of higher skill than me in a match I tend to play very well and even win the match. But when I play people of lower skill than me I tend to play horribly, keep hitting into the net, hitting slow, and I tend to become very worried and self concious about my game which has driven me sometimes into losing the match. Any help on how to improve this? Also, I have a tendency, like a time I was up in an 8-game pro set 5-2 and was playing well until, all of a sudden I lost it. I dont know what happens but I seem to choke when I'm in the lead by a lot and in that match I even ended up losing 5-8 and when I was done was so confused at what happend I didn't know what to do. Any help or information would be appreciated.
    On playing lesser players it could be your discipline with your footwork. When you play better players your sense for urgency is much better and you are ready and anticipating to move quickly to keep it competitive. IT could be that when you play lesser players you let your guard down and you get a bit lazy in the footwork department.

    Being up a match can also be a link to your mental toughness. Being mentally tough means you are able to maintain a level of concentration to keep plpaying your best no matter the score. You simply concentrate and are able to concentrate on one point at a time.

    This losing a match when you are in the lead can also be something that is overlapping into your inability to play well when playing lesser players. This a concentration issue and something that needs to be worked on.

  4. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Oscar
    Instinct is the operation of the being at the highest level of thought, with perceptions coming in and decisions going out at a speed that the mind can’t grasp. Ironically, you can develop this by waiting - by taking your time. Conversely, you can lose it by rushing.
    I can buy that. This is what I call being in the game, being in the groove, developing rhythm for the match or practice, dancing with the ball, etc., etc.

    In professional tennis, when the player is well focused, the spirit, that inner core, is playing, computing by feel. The ball may be traveling at a high velocity, but the player is efficient with no need to rush. He looks for the ball with the racquet as if it is part of the body, an extension of the hand. Finding it, he explodes with power, guiding the ball over the net and in the intended direction. The total focus is on finding the ball then looking to repeat a certain feel. The player may have a favorite place in relation to his body to execute this feel, but will adjust to the situation as needed, regardless of the position of the ball.
    Oscar, I wish you would be more easy on coaches around the world. Many times we are saying and believe in the same things but just use different words. terms, analogies, and phrases. I realize there are coaches that are stuck in the past and only want to go as far as teaching what is comfortable to them.

    On the other hand, there are many coaches that are not stuck in the past but say and do things within their own chosen methods and phrases that are similar but may not subscribe to your philosophy, or tennis view.

    A bet was made with Vic Braden a long time ago with Arthur Ashe. Arthur insisted that the forearm supinated for a slice serve. Vic said it didn't and made a bet with him. Arthur found out the hard way and lost the bet. He then apoligized and changed his teaching at his tennis camp from then on. I think the difference between Arthur and you is Arthur was willing to fess up to something he might be wrong in or make sure they were analyzing the same thing.

    I get the impression that a lot of people who sign up with you become indifferent to the so called "old school" coaches throwing every coach that doesnt teach exactly your way as a bad coach. I think that is wrong and also false.

    Do you understand what I mean?
    Last edited by Bungalow Bill; 06-11-2006 at 10:08 PM.

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    France
    Posts
    46

    interpretation

    Quote Originally Posted by snarec View Post
    I have a question for you, I am an okay player and I play very well at times, when I play people of higher skill than me in a match I tend to play very well and even win the match. But when I play people of lower skill than me I tend to play horribly, keep hitting into the net, hitting slow, and I tend to become very worried and self concious about my game which has driven me sometimes into losing the match. Any help on how to improve this? Also, I have a tendency, like a time I was up in an 8-game pro set 5-2 and was playing well until, all of a sudden I lost it. I dont know what happens but I seem to choke when I'm in the lead by a lot and in that match I even ended up losing 5-8 and when I was done was so confused at what happend I didn't know what to do. Any help or information would be appreciated.
    From my point of view, I assume you play more with your wrist than your arm.
    Most of the players who told me your story, swing with the wrist instead of the shoulder.
    Correct me if I'm wrong but I think you consider better skilled players those who hit more powerfully...?
    If I'm right, it's a common idea of beginners to think they're better against btter skilled opponnents.
    Actually, they hit with more power, taking risky options leading to more mistakes. On you side, you don't have to hit very hard since the ball comes with more energy and you just have to be like a wall...As you don't have to focus on power, the ball is often better centered in your racket...leading to more control.
    When I was young, I had to face the same kind of problem too. but being from the powerful side. Being a bit pretentious, I assume those who hit less where less skilled than me. But every match against an elder guy was a nightmare for me and they were telling me they played heaven.
    Then I realized I shouldn't give them my power. If you've played against a wall, you have certainly noticed spin has as much influence on the rebound as speed.
    So I started taking no risk. Great lift over the net, hardly any speed, so the ball could bounce over the height of their shoulder, now and then, a slice. I won my matches finishing dry, where my opponents were stating they were in a bad day.
    Since this is a forum about Wegner's method, you should try to focus on the end of your move...You'll get more power and great control with playing with your arm and not less your wrist (keep it for wipping = giving spin).
    This will help you when you feel the pressure (about to conclude a match for instance) with playing point after point to clear your mind until a "natural end" (I teach the players they should be surprised by the end of the match).

    Good luck.

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    France
    Posts
    46

    Blink

    Quote Originally Posted by tennisplayer View Post
    Oscar, thanks for sharing your knowledge with us. It has given me a new perspective on tennis. I have one question - an important one that others who have read your article are also probably thinking about. Can someone ingrained in a very "thinking" oriented playing style adapt to the method you have described, and let instincts take over? Have you seen people who are very set in their ways make the change? Thanks in advance for your reply.
    I still consider myself as a "very thinking oriented playing style" what is very good to analyse and help other in every details ;-P
    I was pleased Oscar could sum up all the details I was taught to focus on while playing, in one. I often made mistakes when I had too many choices to finish in 2 hits the point, but nearly none when under high pressure (ex : backhand passing shot in a run after my opponent's volley).
    After 2 months, I can tell it clears my mind and it's very helpful to :
    - focus on what I wanna do (tactically),
    - evacuate stress,
    - get back the feeling whenever it is necessary (bad day after hard working time).
    My wife, who is just a beginner has won 3 matches against intermediate after 4 months of practice (although in 3 sets after very very long rallies on each points where she had to play very high to win some time...She actually doesn't like to play this way but enjoyed...winning :-D ).

    Don't know anything about scientology but I read a book, not specific to tennis, the tittle is "blink" in english I think...Based on the idea a specialist is someone who knows his business so well he acts with what he will consider as his intuition (being uncapable to describe the followed process). Deciding at the speed of a blink...Book that I recommend, of course, even if I read it in my language (american author I think).

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