Action Thinking

With PT Michelle

It is a critical point in the match; so you say to yourself, “If I can win this point, I can break his serve; and then…”  WRONG.

NOT Story Thinking

A tennis book I read years ago (“Mindset”) advised players in any sport not to look back at previous points or to look ahead to the results to come.  They called it “story thinking” and said you should instead focus on just the next point.

Action Thinking

The philosophy that many have espoused in many forms is to focus on where you want to hit the NEXT ball, not what will happen if you win or lose the next point.  So when I find myself drawn into my own “story thinking,” I force myself back into the mold of focusing on where I want to hit the serve, where I want to hit the return, the basic strategy I want to use against this opponent, etc.

It is amazing how the digression of your thought process can have a negative impact on your performance.  Worrying about the result will often cause you to tighten up or become too cautious.  Focusing on the next shot will help you loosen up and swing more freely.

What have you experienced?

Hip Update

My physical therapist Michelle (pictured) put me through all the rehab exercises every morning this week (a couple were fairly torturous!); but combined with then walking up and down the street, icing, and repeating the process in the afternoon has paid dividends.

On Friday, I met with Dr. Zehr who pronounced me “fit” and cleared me to drive (tennis ball machine in two more weeks).  I will try to keep myself on the exercise routine (with the help of Nurse DeDe) and as the good doctor says “Walk. Walk. Walk.”

Others:

Frank Hagelshaw is having double bypass surgery

Larry Turville is finishing up his many weeks of chemo and radiation; and planning to return to NC.

Jimmy Parker and Don Long are playing for the Gold at the 75 Hard Court Championships today (and both, along with Fred Drilling and Michael Stewart, have been named to the World Team).

And HELP the tennis father writing in the first comment below…

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4 thoughts on “Action Thinking

  1. Hi George, Hope you’re well.

    This is your Singapore-based neighbour from across the lake, ex-Chargers tournament opponent, and regular reader of your blog, Matthew here.

    Just yesterday, my eldest, now college tennis playing son Max, was told by a surgeon in Concord that he needs an operation on his torn ACL.

    Doc says 1 week on couch, 1 month on crutches, 9-12 months no tennis.

    From avidly following your progress, I know there are different entry points and ways of doing things with hip replacements, so now wondering if there are any similar considerations or choices to be made for a torn ACL.

    Just starting my own research and hoping it might be possibly to tap into that huge pool of knowledge of yours and possibly amongst your readership?

    Any surgeon recommendations, thoughts on techniques, the above quoted recuperation time scales, and/or other suggestions for getting him back on the court asap would be very greatly appreciated.

    Very best of luck with the rest of your recovery and hope to see you on the court again very soon. Warm regards, Matthew

    Matthew, sorry to hear about your son up in NH. While i am a “knee novice,” i am sure readers have much more experience and will hopefully comment. George

  2. Delighted your rehabilitation is progressing so smoothly. After eight months of PT on a right knee replacement that failed, I can appreciate the efforts that you are putting in. I get a second knee replacement surgery on May 22. Then will begin the rehabilitation process once again. It takes longer to get back on the tennis court from a knee than a hip but I am determined to get there. My last set played was March 2016. But our chosen sport is so special that I will do whatever it takes to feel ball on string once again. I turned 69 yesterday so got to get ready for the 70’s!!!

    Tom, anyone who comes to the court with seven hats, is a prepared guy! hope to see you at Newk’s soon. george

  3. Tom,

    I am so excited to hear that you are doing well and getting back on the court soon. I think often about the fun times we had hitting the court and seeing our opponents confused about playing two guys from Wyoming,wherever the hell that is. But they knew afterward didn’t they!

  4. George, Wow! have I ever learned through experience that what you call “Story Thinking” is, in fact for me anyhow, the proverbial kiss of death. Any time I allow myself to think “Just one more game and…” I don’t care if I’m up 5-0 the tide begins to turn and too often does and one-eighty. Now, when that thought enters my mind I remind myself that if I won five games in a row the same or better — like seven in a row can happen for my opponent. (I also think that when I am down 5-0 and that, too, has worked FOR me.
    As for thinking about the next point, especially when returned serve, I also force myself to avoid planning a specific return by repeating in my mind or under my breath “Play the ball. Seems that if I anticipate a serve to my backhand and plan a drop shot, or deep return to his backhand or a short low return cross court to his forehand — HE SERVES THE DARN THING TO MY FOREHAND AND…smack! I whack it out or into the net. Play the ball in the “flow” when you see it approaching and clearing the net. Let the autonomic nervous system react rather than committing the “over-thinking it” error.
    Sure hope all continues to go well for you, Larry and Frank. One of my favorite practice opponents here in the Dayton, Ohio, area, Dr. Gary Williamson, just had his second knee replacement and won’t be playing competitively until sometime late in July or into August. I miss him and give thanks every day that most of my parts are still in working order. Knock on wood, glass, steel, fleshy portion of forehead, etc….

    Bernie, one of my favorite pros down here had that same “play with the brain stem” philosophy. I hope Gary does well and is back on the courts for the January/February tournaments. george

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