The Art and Science of Victory
The following are commonly used terms and concepts.
Open/Closed Stance

Open (azure) and Closed (hot pink) stances on the forehand and backhand sides.

  • Open Stance - In the open stance the right foot is to the right of the left foot and the chest faces the opponent (i.e. the opponenbt could read a logo on the front of your shirt.). This stance is used in the semi-western topspin forehand and two handed backhand.
  • Closed Stance - In the closed stance the right foot is either in line with the left foot or to its left. In general, the Open Stance is very open and everything else is closed. The closed stance is used in the continental forehand and single handed backhand.
Inner Logic


Like bigfoot, this bad boy lurks in the dark recesses of your game. It can pounce on you and and devour your victories. It is usually the 'but' in 'I should have won that game, but...'

Those of us who have seen it know that it is real, it is big, and it is really, really bad but we have a heck of a time covincing others that it even exists. There is considerable resistance to the idea that there is a gremlin inside each of us with its own needs, desires and motivations. People like to think that they are more or less in control of themselves at all times. The good news is that if we recognize the gtremlin we can bargin with it, entreat it, even outsmart it. The bad news is that we can't ever really cast it out because it is US.

An example: You are playing very well against a quick little rabbit of an opponent. You are bounding serves and groundstrokes into the cornes with masterful precision. Your opponent can only scamper around and stab back high fluffy balls that land right in your power zone. It is 5-1 in the first set and you are already lookiing ahead to cocktail hour. Gradually, though, you notice that your opponent is getting to more of your balls, keeping the points going just long enough for you to make some errors. This shouldn't be much of a problem; your opponent isn't hitting any winners after all, but one of the costs of hitting winners to the corners is that you cant hit ten in a row. So you make a few errors. Big deal. You correctly percieve that statistically as long as you hit the winner before you make an error you win the point, and if you do this 51% of the time you win the match. No problem.

Then something very strange begins to happen. You start hitting your beautiful winners into the center of the alley. Sometimes you do it on the first hit, sometimes on the third, but your erros go up precipitously and you start to loose first points, then games, then the first set. About 15 minutes and three broken racquet frames later you have lost the second set 6-0. You have hit so many balls 4-6 inches out you begin to suspect that either someone repainted the lines on a changeover or you have suffered a stroke. Golf begins to look pretty good.

This is a typical inner logic attack. This is the result of your ego being presented with the threat that your opponents game might just be superior to your game, which you ego translates to your opponent is better than you. This is completely unacceptable to the ego and this threat transcends all others, including all 'temporary' considerations such at whether or not you loose the current match. To counter this threat the ego hatches a plan...hit every ball into the center of the alley or 4-6 inches out! The logic goes something like this: 'My opponent is running down my balls. May entire game is based on hitting balls by opponent can't return. Therefore I must put the ball someplace that I can be sure my opponent won't return it. Since my opponent is so good at running down my winners, the only place I can put the ball that my opponent won't return it is...out of bounds!'

There are no flaws in this reasoning. Of course you will loose the game, but the ego will be satisfied. It will ascribe the loss to a 'bad day' - a transient phenomenon. Painfull but not permanent. Your game is still superior to your opponent's.

Inner logic is a process by which your ego satisfies its needs. It often does this at your expense. Most people cannot accept the existance of inner logic, so I will try to prove it with a few observations:

  • When you are in walkabout (this is what the Aussie's call this phenomenon, likening it to staggering around the outback dying of dehydration), you don't spray the ball all over the court - you place the ball very precisely in the center of the alley or in a narrow band just 4-6" outside the lines. This would be challenging if you were trying to do it, and too much of a coincidence if you are just mishitting the ball.
  • When you way ahead there is an almost irrisistable urge to play more cautiously - as though the lead is a delicate flower that must be protected. This often lets your opponent back iinto thge game and results in some of the most crushing defeats. Of course the best thing to do is not change a winning game, but since this is impossible you should resist the urge to play less aggresively and in fact play ever so slightly more offensively when ahead.
  • When your serve is bad, your whole game goes down. There is no reason for this except for the ego's belief that hitting a serve into the court is easier than dealling with balls your opponent hits - therefore if you can't consistatly hit the serve you cant consistantly hit grounstrokes - a crisis of confidence.