I was practicing my new forehand when a curious thing happened. The more I tried to lift the ball higher, the more the ball stayed down until I was practically hitting it into the ground. The problem, of course, was that I was coming over the ball too much but the solution is something different. If you start to do something wrong and you can’t correct it, stop. Go and do something else and come back to it some another day. Sage advice I have gleaned from Lanny Bassham. The flip side of this is to practice and keep on practicing when you are doing something right.
The something else I did was to practice my serve. I was pretty happy; I was able to see the ball so well that I could see the racket turning over on the ball as I hit it. Then I started to imagine that I was serving in a match. I switched from deuce court to ad court for each serve. And then another curious thing happened. I started to get really nervous! I got so nervous that I was having trouble gripping the racket correctly. I straightened myself out well enough to serve by mentally rehearsing the serve before each stroke so that my mind was occupied with something other than nervousness. Nonetheless, this is a situation that calls for a directive affirmation, a tool developed by Lanny Bassham to change behaviour. When I have composed my nervousness directive affirmation, I’ll post it.
I didn’t wait for another day. I went back to practicing my forehand after practicing my serve. To correct my problem, I used advice from an excellent tennis instructor, Sean Brawley. He is the only instructor I know of who is certified by Tim Gallwey, The Inner Game of Tennis guy. Instead of worrying about stroke mechanics, he suggests thinking about where you want the ball to go and let your body figure out how to get it there. I thought about a level on the wall I wanted to hit and my forehand improved immeasurably as I started to hit that level regularly.
Practice Report: hit against the wall for 45 minutes and practiced my serve for one bag of balls.