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Time to Raise Elbows

Matt Browne is raising his
elbows on his backhand service return. Submitted Photos

READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com Ironically, when I grew up playing tennis on the Har-Tru (clay) courts at the Milwaukee Town Club (former home of the United States Clay Court Championships) back in the late 1960’s, we never had to contend with high-bouncing tennis balls. Sure, many of my peers had nice, well-groomed American Twist serves, but no one commanded vicious topspin groundstrokes that routinely bounced above one’s shoulders. In my era, there was such a premium on the serve and volley strategy that points were relatively quick. Conversely, in the present game, foes constantly battle from the baseline ... Read More »

Myers Wins Pro Title at Hideaway Beach

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com The big stage never looked better; no wind, no humidity and 175 enthusiastic fans cheering on 28 talented Southwest Florida professionals during the finals at Hideaway Beach. Tye Myers, who grew up in Naples and now is a club pro at both Eagle Creek and Hideaway Beach, needed enough of his A-game to edge out the stiff competition as he won the number one title by one game! His biggest competition was Benji Kendall, former tennis star at Penn State University and Lynn University. Kendall boasted a flashy and bombastic forehand drive and ‘dipper’ as ... Read More »

Hideaway Pro tennis tournament coming

A solid, steady player.

READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com Earlier this month, Hideaway Beach hosted the 4th Annual Open Doubles Tournament and it showcased some of the finest tennis players in our area; 3.0 through 4.0 divisional stars exhibited their many talents over a two-day period. On Wednesday, March 26 at 4:30 PM, the Hideaway Beach Tennis Club will be running the finals of the prestigious Pro league, and they will be using a different format than what was done over a 20 week period. Prior to the playoffs, players often played with their favorite winning partner and they played one two out of ... Read More »

4th Annual Hideaway Beach Open

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com Doug, I’ve played USTA tournaments throughout the state (Florida), and this is the best organized event I’ve attended,” entrant and former champion Monson Douglas offered Sunday afternoon. Not only did we have the largest draws in the four-year history but we had the greatest talent as well. The weather was picture perfect with 80 degree temperatures and literally no wind, and the players responded with stellar play. Finally, we had record crowds cheering their friends on Saturday and Sunday — a minimum of 200 players patrolling the grounds around the beautiful tennis center at the ... Read More »

This pro exemplifies the never-say-die attitude

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com We’ve all heard the cliché: The postman always delivers the mail whether it be rain, sleet or snow, right? Well, I think I have another profession with the same never say die attitude: tennis professional. Meet Hideaway Beach tennis pro, Leslie Holmquist Browne, who exemplified the real meaning of mental toughness despite incredible odds. Even though Leslie had a previous injury to her finger (she gashed her finger cutting a tomato and it hit the artery), she had it wrapped to the max and was armed and ready to go. However, midway through her ... Read More »

Hideaway Beach, Marco YMCA host big tournaments

Noreen Pitts and Carrie Masci.

READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com The Hideaway Beach Club is hosting its Fourth Annual Open Doubles Tournament March 1-2, and is offering the following events: Men’s and Women’s 3.0, 3.5 and 4.0 divisions. Each team is guaranteed two matches, logo t-shirt and lunch. The first 16 teams to sign up in each group are offered a spot in the draw. Here is the list of our 2013 winners: Women’s 4.0, Rachel Schenk and Jackie Pham; Women’s 3.5, Noreen Pitts and Carrie Masci; and Women’s 3.0, Margaret Kimberly and Ibit Scott. In the Men’s divisions, the 4.0 champions were Mike Piro ... Read More »

How can amnesia be a good thing?

Rafael Nadal is able to overcome mistakes by employing his tennis 'amnesia.' photo by Doug Browne

READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com As long as I can remember, the word amnesia had negative connotations. More recently, just about every major network magazine broadcast (“Dateline,” “20-20”) showcased certain amnesia cases that left the viewer scratching their heads. For example, a father of four is found 1,000 miles away and cannot remember his past life, or the woman from Michigan who strangely ended up in Key West homeless and unable to recall her former life. In each situation, it is hard for the observer to imagine how a person could completely erase their past lives and embark on a ... Read More »

Is your mental game up to par?

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com Wow, the post-Christmas weather was spectacular, and the players were excited to perform in front of a huge Hideaway Beach Club crowd. More than 125 people were ready to watch the big winner-take-all doubles battle between Naples-own (Hideaway Beach summer Head Professional) Tye Myers and his new practice buddy, Matt Browne. They competed against two tough European stars in a two-out-of-three sets battle. The European pair started out quickly. They broke serve, and then held in dominant fashion as Myers scrambled to win his serve and stop their momentum. Once the score was knotted ... Read More »

Our 2014 Tennis Wish List

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com Each December, I get excited about Chanukah and Christmas, and I love to smell that crispness in the air. Our kids come home from Virginia and South Carolina, and we are able to celebrate the festivities. Oh, by the way, that includes cheering for the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Outback Bowl. The big decision is to decide if we go to Tampa or enjoy it on the big screen television in the great room. We just held a star-studded tennis ‘expo’ at Hideaway Beach, featuring the top Naples Pro League player and Hideaway Beach’s ... Read More »

“What were you thinking?”

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com We all know what happens when we assume something, right? Just last week, my tennis ladies kidded me about something I always say to them when we practice each Wednesday morning. We constantly work on doubles strategy, and too often I am perplexed on their shot selection during a drill session. Typically, at the end of a puzzling shot, I inquire, “What were you thinking when you hit that shot?” “Doug, you are assuming that I ever think,” one of my ladies remarked with laughter. After each team practice, I always huddle up with ... Read More »

My friend won’t let me join the Board!

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com In the final analysis, I really wasn’t that disappointed when my good buddy did not select me to join the board as he brushed it off, telling me it was due to my lack of experience in the field. Let’s be frank; how could I be deemed an expert if I had limited knowledge in any given area. Which brings me to the salient point of the day. If you have a short shelf life in tennis and play at the 2.5, 3.0. 3.5 or 4.0 levels, please limit your advice to your tennis friends. ... Read More »

Are you a Serving Machine or only a Serving Pretender?

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com Just last week, I had a unique experience I would like to share with my readers. During mid-afternoon, I had the pleasure to view over two hours of solid 4.0 level competitions and I walked away a bit perplexed. On the bright side, the men were hustling for every ball, often retrieving impossible shots as the players dazzled the crowd. One particular opponent had a lethal forehand drive and on several occasions ripped out-right winners. Due to his obvious forehand weapon, it was imperative for the home team to limit his opportunities. Notably, the serving ... Read More »

Most tennis matches are only 10 minutes!

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com Wow! Stu Woo of the Wall Street Journal just wrote one of the most provocative tennis articles titled, “How much tennis is played during a match?” Woo offers, “To add it up, we started the clock the moment the ball left a player’s hand for a serve, then stopped it the instant the ball hit the net, bounced for the second time or clearly landed out of bounds. If the call wasn’t obvious, we paused the timer when an official ruled the ball out or called a fault or let.” Even though Andy Murray’s US ... Read More »

Whatever you do, don’t call me a pig!

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com Here is the question of the day: In the game of doubles, is it ok to cross the middle line and take your partner’s ball? However, before we attempt to answer this delicate question, doubles partners must communicate before they go to battle. Remember, a doubles partnership is no different than a marriage. It doesn’t take a genius to know that to enjoy your marriage, it is essential to communicate well and flourish. Conversely, if couples avoid the important topics, it is only a question of time when it will blow up in their face, ... Read More »

Is your serving alignment up to par?

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com As long as I can remember, none of my coaches focused on my footwork on the baseline when I was serving. To me, this lack of detail is a little perplexing; a tweak here or a tweak there could alter the serve in a positive direction. Tennis is such a geometric game and the angles are so tight with little margin to hit the perfect target. Let’s take a look at a few different scenarios and analyze each one. The basic formation I was taught had me put my feet as close to the middle ... Read More »

Why Hasn’t Tennis Broadcasting Improved?

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com Wow. The USA can boast that we have at least 17 million active tennis players; 5.2 million plays at least three times weekly and we continue to grow. Promising, yes. Over a 12-year period (2000-2012) tennis is the clear leader, up 31% according to the Physical Activity Council (PAC), with gymnastics a distant second place. With the numbers rising and the game becoming more and more popular, I’m still mystified why we haven’t seen improvements in tennis broadcasting. During the boom of the 1970’s, tennis analysts’ go-to-move was to emphasize a player’s unforced errors. Fast ... Read More »

Belushi dazzles crowd; Obama, David hit the links

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com Editors Note: Just hours after this article was submitted by Doug, Maria Sharapova fired Jimmy Connors! So, after one match, Sharapova fired her new coach! If I wrack my brain, I still don’t think I can come up with a good tennis movie? The key problem is that no one tries to make the scenes look credible, whether it is the movie, Wimbledon or so many others, the actor’s strokes look amateurish at best. Conversely, many of the football, basketball or baseball movies come across as reasonably believable – the viewer starts to get involved ... Read More »

SW Florida tennis pros dominate

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com As I prepared to leave Marco Island for our summer on the Vineyard, I received a phone call from good friend, Scott Smith, former Floridian and currently a Vineyard Haven resident, who asked me if son, Matt, would be available for an exhibition match against former ATP Tour star, Ryler Deheart on July 25th. Naturally, I said ‘yes’ and was excited for Matt as he would be excited about this big match which would motivate him for his upcoming Sophomore season at Furman University. Ryler Deheart, born in Hawaii but raised in Tampa, Florida was ... Read More »

Have you ever video-taped your mind?

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com Due to Jak Beardworth’s efforts, we had at least 100 adults and juniors attending the mental toughness clinic and they were excited to learn from Dr. Jim Loehr. After all, Jim had been working with many leading pros on the ATP Tour and he gained a stellar reputation in the tennis industry. Jim came to the event well equipped: heart monitors, video cameras and target trainers. After a brief warm up, Jim instructed two juniors to play a few points. He had one of the volunteers set up the video. “Don’t film the action, ... Read More »

Dr. Jim Loehr knows mental tennis!

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com For most of my coaching career, many of my peers concentrated on the fine art of coaching tennis; the pursuit of the perfect tennis strokes. With so many talented coaches focusing on the same aspect of tennis, a new theory hit the market. As we approached the decade of the ‘90’s, new coaches spent the bulk of their time teaching the mental side of tennis. Every time I went to a National Tennis Convention, more and more people were offering mental tennis seminars. From my point of view, most of these mental ‘gurus’ were ... Read More »