In the Effortless approach there
are three phases to the game: the learning or pre-competitive
phase, the competitive phase, and the effortless or beyond competitive
phase. The pre-competitive phase is the time when you learn the
game, it takes a minimum of 2 years. During that time competition
should be non-existent. The reason for this is that in a competitive
situation people's focus shifts from learning, to doing whatever
they need to do to win. Before playing competitively it is essential
to have a solid foundation which includes consistency in hitting
all the shots; forehand and backhand groundstroke, serve, return
of serve, forehand and backhand volley, lob, and overhead. Combined
with that is developing good footwork for all the shots. While
you are getting those elements together, you also need to learn
how to keep your mind focused and your body relaxed while you
are running all over the court under increasing pressure. It's
a good challenge.
When we learn to play to our potential, success is the natural
outcome. Once the ego has gained enough confidence, through being
successful in competition, then competition becomes less important.
It is no longer necessary to prove anything to anyone, because
you have proved to yourself that you are a good player. In Effortless
Tennis the competitive phase is an optional part of the program,
not mandatory as in conventional tennis. If you have no desire
to compete, you don't have to, you can just have fun and work
to be your best.
In the effortless/beyond competitive phase the emphasis shifts
from winning to attaining the "effortless" state. The
goal becomes increasing the time you are able to sustain that
peak performance experience. The true joy in this game comes,
not from beating someone, but from being in "the zone."
The Effortless program makes the pre-competitive phase more enjoyable. You don't have to prove yourself before you know what you are doing. If players take their time and learn the fundamentals, anyone can play this wonderful game. This approach also reduces pressure and allows everyone to develop at their own pace. What's the rush? So many people are concerned about beating other people to show who's best, who's superior. Give it a rest. Daily life is filled with so much pressure to win, we don't need more pressure when we are doing something for recreation. We can have a good time just hitting balls and learning the game. Relax, have fun, and enjoy the learning process. The results will take care of themselves.
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