The topic of this blog post is freedom, in particular, finding it in your swing.
I played tennis recently with my friend Steve. I hadn't had an opportunity to play over the few days prior and I was really eager to get on the court.
The second reason is I always find inspiration from getting on the court to write these articles...
Anyway, it was a good night of tennis.
I talked with Steve after the match and we both commented on how well the other had hit the ball. Steve won the match (congrats Steve!) but I truly felt I had hit the ball really well during the match as well.
It was a nice feeling. While I wanted to win, of course, it was really nice that end of the match we both finished feeling really good about how we played.
That doesn't happen that often I find.
Somewhere about the third game of the first set, I started to feel really good about my swing and my groundstrokes. My swing felt easy, relaxed but I think the best way to describe it is that if felt free…
(Image from ATP website)
When I'm not hitting well I often find that my swing feels forced. I'm not only fighting the ball but I'm fighting my swing as well. There's tension in my body, my mind, and my game.
When I am hitting really well, I am hitting without tension. My body and my mind are free of tension.
It's a great feeling to hit the tennis ball with freedom!
Now hitting with freedom doesn't mean swinging out at 80-100% all of the time. I was still swinging in the comfortable 50-70% range.
What it did mean though was that my swing was very fluid and I was really finishing my swing well.
Really finishing my swing well means that I was getting a good amount of topspin.
Getting a good amount of topspin helped me get a lot of balls in, hit a lot of heavy balls, and get good depth on my ball.
The mental aspect of feeling freedom in my swing was really important as well.
A couple of times I started to feel tension creep into my game and I was able to get rid of it. I thought back to the groundstrokes I had hit so well, with so much freedom earlier in the match and I was able to release the tension from my mind and from my body.
There's a saying, "Where the mind goes, energy flows".
I find that to be a very true statement. It's true in life and it's true on the court ...
On the court, for me, it meant that by focusing on being relaxed and calm I was able to free my mind of tension and in doing so find freedom in my swing.
To hit the ball my best I need to swing with confidence, with ease and freedom.
The next time you're hitting really well focus on how you feel, and what swing thoughts you have. Yours may not be the same as mine.
The next time you're not hitting as well as you'd like think back to that time you were hitting well, focus on how you felt, and your swing.
If you are able to release any negativity and focus on that past positive experience I am confident it will help your game.