Looking Backward To Move Forward

rearview-mirrorChapter Five


“The reality of life is that your perceptions — right or wrong — influence everything else you do. When you get a proper perspective of your perceptions, you may be surprised how many other things fall into place.” – Roger Birkman

Your perceptions can also be defined as your beliefs. These are based on emotion, and affect your ability to define your True Desire.

If you don’t believe it is attainable, your True Desire will not have any specificity.

In order to find out what your True Desire is, you have to look backward from where you are now.

What are your perceptions of your tennis game right now?

Are you financially unable to take action and get the help with your game that you know you need?

Is having a wife/husband and kids too much of a ‘responsibility’ for you to spend the time you’d like to improving your tennis game?

Do you feel that you would have to give up too many other important things to go after your tennis goals?

Make no mistake; how you ‘feel’ about all of these things affects your decision-making far more than these things themselves.

Take some time and ask yourself:

“What do I really need to work on in my game, and what limiting beliefs do I hold that are preventing me from working on what I know I need to work on?”

You see, the reason most players don’t have the game that they want is because of the reasons they tell themselves that they can’t have it.

A good example would be this:

Jim Says:

“I really wish I had a strong, powerful first serve that went ‘in’ a

high percentage of the time, that I could place anywhere in my

opponent’s service box at will.”

I say: “Well, why don’t you have that kind of serve, Jim?”

Now let’s listen to Jim answer that question, and list the

reasons he says he can’t have what he wants.:

“I’m too old too hit the ball hard”

“I’ll screw up my arm trying”

“I’ve never had a good serve to begin with.”

“I don’t deserve to have a serve that good.”

Now let me ask you a question:

Are there opposite responses to every one of those reasons Jim just listed?

Of course there are:

“Age is just a number”

“You can discover and apply the proper techniques without hurting yourself”

“You can have a good serve from now on”

“You deserve to demand the best from yourself”

How you feel about your game will always be a direct reflection of how you feel about yourself. That’s why you must make positive changes in yourself before you’ll see any positive changes in your tennis game.

But don’t worry, it’s not as hard as you may think!

Desire & Expectation

So many people have been programmed, consistently, albeit slowly, over the course of their lives to be ‘realistic’ and ‘practical’.

You have seen the world, and know that there’s plenty in it that you don’t want.

Most people know what they DON’T want, and very few adults know what they DO want.

Want proof?

Just look at a ten-year-old before his birthday, or a little kid before Christmas, or a child in the candy aisle of a grocery store.

They have no problem telling you what they want.

Why is that?

It never occurs to them that they might not get something that they want.

You want to know why that little kid in the grocery store is screaming bloody murder when he’s told he can’t have that candy bar he wants?

It may not be the answer you think.

The problem is that he has been raised with the EXPECTATION of getting what he wants, and he has the WILL to do whatever it takes to get it.

Read that again.

He EXPECTS to get something, and has the WILL to do whatever he thinks it will take to get it.

He just hasn’t been taught yet that he’s not going to get everything he wants, and he’s not going to get it whenever he wants. His parents must TEACH him that.

What results have you learned to expect when you’re on the court?

What have you been taught to expect by your coach?

Your fellow players?

Your doubles partner?

Do you apologize to your opponent when you hit an unbelievably great shot?

Or do you simply acknowledge to yourself that the reason you hit that great shot is because you’ve put in the time practicing and deserve the result?

Questions like these are powerful, and you should take the time to ask them and answer them.

I Spot a Fake!

What happens when people limit their expectations of themselves is not uncommon.

It is very commonplace, in fact.

Remember earlier when I said that the enemy is patient?

He’s very patient, and very consistent.

You have been given a script, the kind an actor follows.

In your case, since you are engaged in a battle, you are a soldier, and we’ll call your script your ‘orders’.

Your orders, however, were not given to you by your True Self.

The orders you have in your possession are fakes.


The enemy has taken all of the things that you’ve been told you shouldn’t do and shouldn’t expect in from yourself and dripped these things into your subconscious mind over the course of your lifetime.

These became your marching orders.

They are what you have followed up to this point.

You are going to learn how to re-program your subconscious mind with new orders, and you’ll do it by first learning how your subconscious mind operates.


The Power of Focus & Your Subconscious Mind

Your sub-conscious mind will do whatever it is told to do, period.

The following exercise is a great example of your subconscious mind doing what it is told to do.

Sit comfortably and read the following, slowly and vividly imagining that you are doing everything it says:

Imagine that you have a whole lemon in one hand, and a knife in the other.

Imagine now that you are cutting the lemon in half.

Imagine that you are holding one half of the lemon up to your nose.

Smell it.

Now, bite into the lemon, and feel the lemon juice squirting out.

At this point, you are probably experiencing an increase in saliva in your mouth, your eyes are squinting, and your lips are puckered.


Because your sub-conscious mind did not know that you were simply imagining that you bit into a lemon; it can’t tell the difference between fantasy and reality.

It took the information you gave it, and told your brain that you were biting into a lemon, and your brain started the biological process of telling your saliva glands to produce that saliva and told your muscles to pucker your lips based on the previous experience it had to draw upon.

So, from this exercise, you can gleam that:

1) Your subconscious mind does what it is told to do.

2) It does not distinguish between fantasy and reality.

3) It does what it does based on previous experience.


Well-Meaning Failures

We talked earlier about ‘orders’. These are things that you have perhaps been told by teachers, family, friends or fellow players.

Well meaning people, to be sure. But alas, people all over the world have been hurt by going for their dreams. People have failed. These well-meaning people who have failed, or seen others fail, love you.

There is pain in failure.

These people want to protect you so that you don’t experience the same pain they did. Some of them, however, do not have your best interests at heart. Take a good look at who your acquaintances are. Are these people that would inspire you and support you in your efforts to build your dream game? If they are, then they are worth more than gold to you.

If not, you need to do some soul searching and ask yourself why you are focused on spending your time with them. How have people reacted to you when you’ve told them about your desires and hopes, your dreams and your plans? If they’re being critical (as long as you are being realistic), a red flag should be up and waving.

Assessing the Risks

There is pain associated with failure. When we think that we may experience pain, we make assessments. Risk assessments are paramount in our decision making process. What is the pain associated with doing________, or not doing__________? What is the pleasure I may gain by doing____________, or not doing__________?

The reason you make risk assessments so often is because it is crucial to your survival. You do it hundreds of times a day, in every decision you make, from stopping your car at a stop sign to avoiding that extra slice of pie for dessert. You do this not only to survive in the physical sense, but also in the emotional sense.

It is the reason is why you were not sure you should ask so-and-so out on a date in high school. It is the reason you slowed your car down during that terrible rain storm you were driving in. It is the reason that you ‘eased up’ on your second serve in that 3rd set tie-breaker.

You assessed the risk involved with either taking a certain action or not taking a certain action. You based your decision on the two things that we mentioned earlier: pleasure and pain. Let’s talk about those two things a little more.


The Old Bait-and-Switch  

Pleasure is the physical manifestation of fulfilled desire. Pain is the physical manifestation of fulfilled fear. This is an important distinction. Pleasure and pain are physical. Desire and fear are (other than adrenalin related ‘shock terror’) are emotional.

The enemy I keep talking about is using the emotional to enhance the physical, but not in the way you think. The enemy is crafty, remember? The enemy has gotten you to desire pain and fear pleasure.

Read that again. If you’ve ever seen a person with selfdestructive behavior, perhaps even your own from time-to-time, you have witnessed this bait-and-switch.

One example would be when a person puts on those extra pounds during a two-day binge eating comfort food after losing a sectional match that would have gotten them to the state tournament.

They know, instinctively (based on past experience) that this is not good for them. Yet they do it anyway, based on – you guessed it – how they felt at the time.

We’ve all done it.

But if a person were to let their emotions rule the day on a regular basis, you can see how destructive this behavior could be.

I’ll give you an example of how the enemy will orchestrate the dialogue in this person’s head:

“Man, oh man, that’s a tough loss; if you hadn’t got hooked you woulda won that match. C’mon, let’s go get some pizza. Then we’ll eat that half-gallon of Ice Cream we’ve been looking at for a month. After all, you poor thing, you deserve a little break from yourself. You’ve been good all month, and you didn’t deserve to lose that match. You’ve need a break…”

Now, after awhile, your other self will come back and want to have a little follow-up chat with you. After all, you’re pretty close with each other after all these years…

“Okay, okay.”, he’ll say. “Quit being such a baby and put the food down, you fat pig. Good thing you have me around or you’d eat yourself to death. You haven’t been on the court in two whole days. Look at you, you’re pathetic; and after everything I’ve done for you…”

Now if this were an adult talking to a child in this manner, they’d get locked up for child abuse. If this was a husband talking to a wife, he’d probably get a frying pan upside his head.

The type of talk that comes from your other self is far from sane, yet you allow this type of conversation to go on inside the confines of your mind.

Enough is enough.

It is time to prepare to capture your enemy and make him your slave for good. You are going to use several techniques to do this preparation, and as you’ll see in the next chapter, the formula is simple.


That’s right folks – ‘simple’ usually rules the day here at The Tennis Vault. Improving your tennis game is about doing very simple things extremely well. But you’ve gotta know what those simple things are, and how to do them. If you’d like to know how to master the things that will help your game become bullet-proof, head up to the top of the page and check out the most fundamentally and technically sound stroke production series in the world – and get YOUR tennis game to the next level!

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