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Don’t Hit the Ball So Perfect

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com “Doug, don’t hit the ball so perfect to me today. None of the guys I play with hits the ball like you and I want to be able to handle their spins,” Ben offered. Wow, I took a quick double-take, gathered my thoughts, and proceeded to have one of the better learning experiences of my tennis career. Fortunately, Ben’s sage advice helped me develop into a better coach because I needed to hear this valuable nugget. He was spot on; most of his men’s day opponents chopped and sliced their strokes and he needed to ... Read More »

To Peek or Not to Peek?

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com Unless we are coaching highly ranked tennis players, I am a firm proponent of having my net players turn and take a brief look at their partner during a doubles point. Why? Far too many unproven doubles players do not move with their partners, and thus are not prepared for the next ball. Too often, with their eyes peering straight ahead, they plant their bodies in the same place and become spectators. I have witnessed some of the brightest coaches in the country teach an advanced doubles drill (especially in Florida), and they advise their players ... Read More »

Never Arrive too Soon to the Ball or Else!

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com I absolutely love when my students are diligent and prepare quickly. In most cases, this studious player will be in excellent position to strike the ball. However, inexperienced tennis players can be too anxious and then must cope with a variety of issues. For example, amateurish tennis players often move to the ball so fast that they land on the wrong foot and then lose balance. As I coach this new player, I continually remind them of one basic rule: When a player moves right, plant on the right leg, and as they go left, ... Read More »

Coaches Must Ditch Tradition Right Away

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com Jumping groundstrokes, back leg moving through the air, say it isn’t so, right?  Perhaps I’m a tad liberal, but I absolutely encourage talented tennis players to buck the odds and ‘go for broke. It’s my line of reasoning that the great game of tennis never really appealed to the masses from the first exposure to the game to about 1975 because of the conservative coaching methods. In particular, I firmly believe that coaches stifled the then new players with either the Continental or Eastern grips; as it was not comfortable for many beginners. Whereas in ... Read More »

I Never Thought That I Would See It!

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com Without a doubt, the advent of the two-handed backhand has been one of the great additions to the game of tennis. Agassi, Connors, Evert, Nadal, Williams come to mind when I think of powerful two-fisted backhands that have shaped the game of tennis. Due to the success of this stroke, thousands of new tennis players were introduced to this style and have flourished having implemented this stroke into their game. On the other hand, our new men’s French Open champion might be responsible for impacting the future of tennis because of his dominant one-handed backhand ... Read More »

Will Nadal Show Up at Wimbledon?

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com In the last few years, Rafa Nadal has bowed out in the early rounds at Wimbledon to Steve Darcis of Belgium, Lukas Rosol, Czech Republic and Australian teenager Nick Krygios. Curious, indeed? How can such dramatic upsets occur to one of the greatest players of all time? The Nadal camp will site Rafa’s recent struggles with his ailing knee but many other tennis enthusiasts point to possible doping. Say it isn’t so, Rafa. In today’s heavily scrutinized sports world, fans tend to be suspicious when unusual events surface. Let’s simply examine the Lance Armstrong bicycling ... Read More »

Do You Have a Good Tennis Job?

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com Talk about a loaded question…clearly, it means different things to different people. Certain business minded professionals enjoy matchmaking, programming and weekly meetings, and love being the leader in their department. Whereas, other tennis professionals just love to teach all day and not worry about the daily round robin. And then there are plenty of specialists: Adult coordinator, junior academy director and the Cardio Tennis clinic organizer. Often there are several different types of tennis jobs: Tennis clubs only, golf and tennis, camps and public parks. In order to win the interview, pros must do their ... Read More »

Is it a Job or is it a Career?

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com Color me delusional but I always approached each new opportunity as a part of my extensive career as tennis professional. As my mentor, Jak Beardsworth, once coined, “It seemed like a good idea at the time,” he said with a wry smile. Indisputably, my early ascent to running my own tennis program was an integral aspect of my joy in choosing my path in life. Similar to my playing career, I was lucky to taste success early, and that offered motivation to keep climbing, pursuing my dreams. My hometown club hosted the United States Clay ... Read More »

Get Ready to Scream

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By Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com At the risk of sounding too fuddy-duddy, I may not be ready to endorse the new Big-12 Conference tennis rule which supports, screaming, yelling, shrieking during play. Yes, it is okay to yell at the opponent when he is about to strike his serve or when he is gearing up to rip a big groundstroke. Anything goes on the tennis courts during Big 12 Conference play. Why is collegiate tennis making such a dramatic — and seemingly desperate — change? In order to understand this new rule, we need to examine the big picture. For years, ... Read More »

What is the Hurry to Turn Pro?

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By Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com Tennis’ latest sensation, 17 year old, Frances Tiafoe, has made the decision to hit the professional circuit. Believe me, as a huge supporter of American tennis, I’m rooting for this fine young man to be a total success. He has signed with Wajid Syed of Jay-Z’s Roc Nation agency; a savvy move for this rising star. Not too long ago, my son was training with three of the top juniors in the land: Bjorn Fratangelo, Brett Clark and Gordie Watson. Clearly, Matt Browne hit far more balls with Bjorn and Brett but he was blessed to ... Read More »

Is the Touch Game Re-Emerging in Pro Tennis?

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com Wow, every time I turn around, tennis players are getting taller and taller and the power game continues to dominate the sport. Heck, it seems like just about every player can rip a cannonball serve well north of 120 miles per hour and there is no end in sight. Is it possible that this new power game lacks originality? Is it just too much of the same darn thing? The simple answer is no! In last week’s Indian Wells Master Series event, Novak Djokovic’s lob foiled Roger Federer’s bid to dominate at the net ... Read More »

Davis Cup Action: Great Britain downs USA again

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By Doug Browne Even though we had the home court edge last year, (San Diego) the Great Britain Davis Cup team stunned the USA squad 3-1. Every tennis fan was well aware of GBR’s Andy Murray and his stellar record but the Americans knew they could outshine James Ward and win both singles matches. Additionally, the USA squad boasts the best doubles team in the game today, which enables the team to win 3-2. Unfortunately, tennis matches are not played on paper; Ward played loose and free and was able to topple both Sam Querry and Donald Young. Last week, ... Read More »

Do Tennis Fans Only Care About the Grand Slams? Part 1

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com As a rabid tennis enthusiast, it literally crushes my spirit when I turn on the Tennis Channel and see so many empty seats. During the early stages of the Delray Beach ATP event, it appeared there were only hundreds of fans lining the stadium instead of thousands filling the stands. And, the tournament has outstanding promoters; the Baron family of south Florida has extensive tennis backgrounds and knows how to market the product. Okay, how do we attract fans during the first rounds of an event? Who is to blame? Don Petrine (former Columbia University ... Read More »

Who Made the Top 10 List for Best Tennis Cities in America?

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com The volunteer coach was a 3.0 level player and had never coached before. I’m sure there are tiny pockets of success when there is a non-tennis person at the helm but I urge all athletic directors to reach out to their communities and hire tennis pros to lead their programs. One more item: The easiest way to motivate young impressionable tennis players is to have them view a college tennis match. In southwest Florida, the Florida Gulf Coast University men and women’s tennis teams are not only talented but they are big winners in their ... Read More »

How Symczek’s Sportsmanship Raised the Bar

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com Tim Smyczek’s (pronounced Smeecheck) recent gesture at this year’s Australian Open (Grand Slam) not only earned the respect of his top-ranked opponent but also of the entire tennis world. Leading 6-5 in the fifth and deciding set and the score 30 love, Rafael Nadal was serving when a disrespectful fan screamed just as he was hitting his first serve. Nadal badly missed the shot. Within seconds, Milwaukeean Smyczek told the umpire that Nadal should get another serve. Nadal appreciated this act of kindness and set up to serve again with two serves coming. To put ... Read More »

Are you ready for 2015?

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com Attention sports fans: The new year is filled with big-time events, including the first-ever NCAA football four-team playoff and the big championship game, NFL playoffs, outstanding NBA and NHL games and the Australian Open. Speaking of the big event in Melbourne, house money is probably leaning towards picking Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams capturing singles titles. However, who else is in the running? Last year, Li Na won the women’s singles crown but now has retired due to nagging injuries. Remember, Serena has not won this prestigious tournament in four years, so she may be ... Read More »

There is Nothing Like the Real Thing!

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com First and most importantly, Happy New Year to all of our tennis enthusiasts in Southwest Florida and around the world. There are so many reasons to be thankful, and tennis continues to thrive in the area. Recently, I have been doing pro-bono work with a rising junior tennis player from California, and he has a solidly-built foundation. He lacks tournament proficiency, though. His ultimate goal is to play college tennis, and he has the work ethic to pursue his dream. However, the world of tennis has produced thousands of great practice players, but too many ... Read More »

What Was on Your Holiday Wish List?

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com There was a time when most recreational tennis players dreamed of the day Santa would deliver a solid backhand drive on Christmas Eve, but those old days of weaker backhands is long over. Not only have we witnessed an explosion of outstanding “two-handers,” but now we are watching the return of some of the best one-handers we have ever seen: Wawrinka, Gasquet, Dimitrov, Almagro, Kolschreiber, Haas and Federer. So, I’ve completely changed my mind, and now I am totally focusing on the mental game. Why? Without a doubt, the emergence of tennis coaching is at ... Read More »

How Can We Win If No One Will Go to the Net?

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com A few weeks ago, I received a text from a 4.0 player who was clearly perplexed about her last CTA match and wanted to solve the puzzle on the tennis court. Strangely enough, not many of my students have inquired about this particular dilemma, and I had tremendous compassion about her recent problem. “Doug, it was so weird facing this last team because they elected to play from the baseline the entire match, and it threw us a curve, no doubt,” my student explained. Hey, it is always tough when we face a strategy ... Read More »

Do You Value Your Team Captain?

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com “Oh, no way. I wouldn’t want to be captain of this team under any circumstances,” Sandy remarked after practice. Most CTA or USTA participants are well aware of the number of challenges team captains have each season with a wide variety of issues. Most importantly, a large majority of the players are cooperative and support the captain and the pro. Depending on the team, the captain plays a large role in the success of their team. A dynamic captain will assist in the following: Team roster Practice day and time Practice ideas Players attending ... Read More »