Hitting with Feeling vs. Hitting with Thinking

I was watching ESPN this morning and they were covering Tiger Woods’ first win on the PGA Tour in over two years. They interviewed former PGA Tour Pro, Paul Azinger and he made a really interesting comment:

Tiger was hitting with feeling instead of hitting with thinking.

This was a perfect summation of what I’m trying to get to with my tennis game. After learning a lot of new shots and footwork patterns over the last few months, I know that playing tennis with a lot of thinking just doesn’t work. When I hit with Jeff a couple days ago, he was talking about creating pictures of the shots you want to hit in your mind. He used the word “snapshot” to describe the vision of each shot and it was more than just visualizing success or winning a match – it is literally a vision of what each shot is going to look like.

I started to do this when I went out and hit yesterday. It took me a little while to get the hang of it, but when things started to click, I was hitting the ball a lot better. It’s hard to explain, but by creating a snapshot of what shot I wanted to hit, it relieved some of the pressure I was putting on myself. It was almost like, “I want to hit that shot, so I might as well try it.”. That probably sounds counter-intuitive, but it seemed to work for me.

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About Neal

tennis, go-karts, blogging, turkey sandwiches.

Posted on March 26, 2012, in Pros and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Yes creating a snapshot does work. I always say that for golf one should forget the bad shots and keep a mental image in your mind of what a good shot looks and feels like. Then when you go to make your next shot you don’t have to imagine what a good shot looks like because you will know what it looks like.

  2. I think Tennis and Music are very simular because you play your best when you play by feeling your shot or note and not by specific technique. The specific technique happens but, the focus is a snapshot and is one point at a time. I sometimes will image a “bullseye” or “x” where I want to hit the ball. It is really important to give yourself a margin…
    Love your website Neal!..Got to meet your coach Jeff, at the USPTA Northern meeting this winter. He was great!
    Everyone loved him. We were very lucky to get him…Best of luck Neal and remember to enjoy the journey!

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