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Paralysis by Analysis

As tennis legend Arthur Ashe famously said, “There is a syndrome in sports called paralysis by analysis.”

Paralysis by analysis is the state of over-analyzing a situation, resulting in poor execution. The history of paralysis by analysis dates back thousands of years to where the concept can be seen in one of Aesop’s Fables: 

A fox boasts to a cat that it has hundreds of escape options while the cat only has one. When the two animals hear hounds approaching, the cat scampers up a tree while the fox gets caught up, paralyzed upon debating which escape route he should take.

Especially amongst juniors, most tennis instruction is centered around correct biomechanics, and while technical aspects are fundamental, it is all too easy for players to fall into the trap of this ‘practice mindset’ and constantly devote their attention to the split step, unit turn, pointing with their left hand, driving the butt cap through, brush up the ball, elbow finish high...

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