Coastal Breeze News » Read My Tips http://www.coastalbreezenews.com Tue, 26 Aug 2014 14:30:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Do You Have the ‘IT’ Factor? http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/08/26/do-you-have-the-it-factor/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/08/26/do-you-have-the-it-factor/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 13:52:39 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=41028 READ MY TIPS
Doug Browne
dbrowne912@aol.com

Jimmy Connors. FILE PHOTO

Jimmy Connors. FILE PHOTO

There is an abundance of outstanding athletes in this world, yet some stand out from the rest of the pack. We are riveted by their excellence.

In examining this incredible group of “IT” athletes, a few of these elites rise to the top: Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Edwin Moses, Steffi Graf, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King, Roger Federer, Rod Laver, Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz, Steve Prefontaine, Hank Aaron, Joe DiMaggio, Tom Seaver, Reggie Jackson and Willie Mays.

What is the balance between genetics verses blood, sweat and tears? How did these athletes come by this elusive “IT” factor? DNA? Natural drive?

My personal take is that the legends in each sport have a special genetic component that separates them from the pack. However, it must be noted that each special athlete must add the hard work quotient, or we will not see the amazing results. How does one recognize a person with the “IT” gene?

To me, this person exudes a quiet confidence that allows them to believe they can succeed in the most difficult circumstances. When the pressure is overwhelming, this special breed of cat steps up and relishes the moment.

Going back to my childhood in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I grew up with this type of confident person who knew how to yield this influence even when we played table tennis. It was uncanny. Anytime there was something riding on the outcome, this young man pushed out his chest and proceeded to come through in the clutch.

In my opinion, what truly separates this tennis player from the others is a lot of winning, and that includes practice sessions. If we move back in tennis history, legend Jimmy Connors and his agent broke away from the rest of the players and participated in the events they wanted to, even if they had to form their own tour. In doing so, Connors amassed quite a record of Tour victories and his confidence grew by epic proportions. By breaking away from the rest of the pack and exploring new destinations and competing against new people, Connors gained experience he would have never amassed had he not traveled his own path.

Clearly, Connors was winning big point after another, and he felt invincible. By the time he entered a Grand Slam tournament, he literally ran to the court to see who his next victim would be. When winning becomes a habit, confidence soars, and the player has calmness when facing pressure.

On the other end of the spectrum, an athlete on a losing streak feels like they can never recapture his or her winning ways and begins to tense up and force the action. This self-doubting player is in quite a fix, and now requires a top coach to help dissect the problems and assist with building confidence.

There is such a fine line between success and failure; the key is not to get too high or too low. The tennis player, who believes that luck was not a part of his achievements, is simply fooling himself. I was not present when New York Yankee great Joe DiMaggio put together his 56-game hitting streak, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the ball slipped past a few dozen fielders during that incredible span.

Do you remember the bizarre high-ball that American Andy Roddick poorly judged during the Wimbledon final against Roger Federer? It appeared that young Roddick was on the verge of winning his first Wimbledon crown when “Fed” mishit a ball that may or may not have landed in, but at the last moment, Roddick lunged and tried to hit a high volley and failed. This commentary is not to criticize Roddick because he misjudged a strange ball, but more to explain that the great ones need a little help sometimes.

There are countless situations in tennis where the end result is altered by luck; Rafael Nadal had a relatively easy passing shot against Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open Final when he missed the stroke by an inch and then lost the match. In hindsight, Nadal would not have let up and just go about his business and hit a decisive stroke.

In my own career, the ball has bounced in the right spots as well as the ball missing the mark, and it clearly affected the outcome. Is it the cosmos making a strange statement from above? Gosh, I don’t have enough knowledge of the supernatural or whatever to even venture an educated guess, but something seems to happen in the world of sports.

To me, all of the special “IT” athletes seize the moment and love both the process and the actual event. It is said that basketball great Larry Bird would purposely practice the most difficult and usual shots from the wackiest areas of the floor.

Why? From experience, Bird was cagy enough to know that he wasn’t the quickest NBA player and had to be creative to get a shot to win a big playoff game.

Yes, I witnessed such a stroke against my Portland Trail Blazers in his last great game before retirement as he faded away from two defenders and banged one in to force triple overtime.

Just last week, young Rory McElroy drained the key putt to put away golfers Ricky Fowler and Phil Mickelson and claim his fourth Grand Slam title. Due to his recent winning streak, he had no doubt as he lined up his putt and stroked it with a quiet confidence that left no doubt who is the best golfer today.

So, any time you have the opportunity to witness true greatness, take a seat, get comfortable and enjoy the ride. There are just so many “IT” athletes in all sports, and we must witness their quest to be the best of all time.

 

Since 2000, Doug Browne was the Collier County Pro of the Year three times, and has been a USPTA pro in the area for 28 years. Doug was also honored in the International Hall of Fame (Newport, Rhode Island) as Tennis Director during the 2010 summer season. Doug has been writing about tennis for the last 19 years.

 


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Is It Possible to Hit the Big Ball? http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/08/11/is-it-possible-to-hit-the-big-ball/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/08/11/is-it-possible-to-hit-the-big-ball/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 19:44:18 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=40844 READ MY TIPS
Doug Browne
dbrowne912@aol.com

The desire to knock the cover off the ball appears to have hit all levels of tennis. With technology moving at such a fast rate, I really shouldn’t be surprised that so many tennis players desire to play quick points — whether they win it or not! Sometimes, I want to blame the sports shows because they condense a game down to one or two plays, and viewers are programmed to a quick fix.

Here’s one more shocking revelation: Men and women have different styles on the tennis court. Unfortunately, men, hitting just one big forehand drive supersedes just about everything else that occurs in the match.

In other words, when an amateur competes against his favorite tennis professional, he will try and try to hit one by four an outright winner. It doesn’t matter that his percentages are horrendous; he wants to tell his buddies at the pro shop that he ripped a winner past the tennis pro.

On the other side of the coin, most women are much more practical, and they play a more conservative and intelligent brand of tennis. Most female tennis players have come to the conclusion that to really zip a ball past her favorite pro is almost impossible, so why try an impossible shot? When we uncork the bottle and really delve into the problem, most people who wish to really cream the ball fail to move their feet, and the errors keep climbing. Unless one is in great position, it is virtually impossible to hit a ball hard to a very accurate spot.

Too often, young tennis enthusiasts don’t grasp how vital it is to do footwork drills to enhance their overall games. Even if a talented player wants to hit the simple inside-out crosscourt pattern, he must move quickly. Whether the foes ball falls short or arrives deep near the baseline, the opponent must have solid preparation skills to ignite the feet to get into proper position.

One more point concerning consistency and one using too much power instead of steady tennis: As I watched my junior academy last week, the fear of failure crept into their heads, and their first offering was power. Players must understand that pressure always nets slower feet; the nerves do not allow freedom of movement. So, when a player feels the “choke” coming on, slow down the pace and hit a few balls in the court. In short order, confidence will rise and occasionally power will drift into the match. Remember, as in life, consistency rules.

The only way one really achieves this goal is to do non-stop footwork drills:

1.) Place target cones near the baseline, and have the student move in and around each one before contact.

2.) Do a very basic “no backhands allowed” drill so the player is forced to move quickly to the ball.

3.) Bring your young player to the net, and don’t let the volley person let the ball hit the ground.

4.) Place the student near the net, and lob a ball over their heads. Instruct the player to take the ball in the air every time over and over again.

If, after a long 60-75 minutes, the student begins to grasp the importance of fast feet, they are allowed to go for broke. Most likely, the player will value the game more and pick the right time to fire.

As a side note, Marco Island was well represented at the 2014 Martha’s Vineyard Open. USTA Florida stars Carrie Masci, Darlene Roddy, Andrea Washak and Steve Schottland traveled great distances to compete in the Island’s most prestigious annual event.

In the mixed 7.5, Masci and Scottland destroyed their first opponents and quickly moved into the semi-finals. Roddy and Washak also dismantled their first round foes and advanced.

Well, sometimes we love 10-point Super Tie Break’s and sometimes we don’t. Both Marco Island teams lost in the third set by the slimmest of margins and were knocked out of their respective divisions.

However, for the second year in a row, Marco Island’s Matt Browne and friend, Tyler Owens, won the Open Men’s Doubles Title, 6-3, 6-3, to claim the money prize. Browne is the head professional at the Boathouse Field Club, and Owens, is the head professional at the Farm Neck Golf and Country Club.

Incidentally, President Obama has told insiders that he loves the Farm Neck golf course and is returning August 9-23.

 

Since 2000, Doug Browne was the Collier County Pro of the Year three times, and has been a USPTA pro in the area for 28 years. Doug was also honored in the International Hall of Fame (Newport, Rhode Island) as Tennis Director during the 2010 summer season. Doug has been writing about tennis for the last 19 years.


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Is Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘10,000 Hour’ Theory Valid? http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/07/27/is-malcolm-gladwells-10000-hour-theory-valid/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/07/27/is-malcolm-gladwells-10000-hour-theory-valid/#comments Sun, 27 Jul 2014 16:35:53 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=40430 READ MY TIPS
Doug Browne
dbrowne912@aol.com

Ever since my directing stint at the prestigious Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island, I’ve been on-court coaching a huge variety of students, and it has fueled my creativity to write more tennis articles.

It is easy to have fresh ideas when one is so involved in the game of tennis, and most players make the same mistakes no matter where they hail from or whether they are young or old. The problem for so many tennis players is they fail to truly understand their limitations; mistakes are inevitable, but the count will undoubtedly rise if they don’t make modifications.

Author Malcolm Gladwell highlights the idea that in order to consider yourself an expert in your field you must log at least 10,000 hours of practice in his book “Outliers.” Unless the tennis player is an incredible athlete and is able to put in countless hours of practice, he must take a more realistic approach. However, too many youngsters try to defy the odds, and then stubbornly approach their shots with too much power.

One of my favorite examples of this poor shot-making is when the player is returning serve in the ad court and the serve jams the returner, still trying to hit the ball with the inside-in pattern (smart approach: crosscourt return). After our junior match last week, I asked a 13-year-old player why he attempted such a low percentage shot and he looked at me as clueless as one could be. Clearly, he did not have any type of plan and was just shooting from the hip.

Without a doubt, I am biased; most young players need extensive coaching so they are better equipped to hit the correct shots under pressure. With so many inexperienced tennis players always attempting the most difficult strokes, they neglect to learn about how to truly execute a point. Case in point: If the typical teenager constantly hits the ball too hard and cannot have a legitimate rally, he is unable to learn the nuisances of the sport.

Whether I am viewing the Wimbledon finals or a big local finals event, certain points last at least six or seven shots. Both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic temper many of their strokes as they need to feel out their opponent. When Novak and Roger are embroiled in a longer point, each player judiciously waits for their big moment, and they pull the trigger. Conversely, unproven recreational players are too impatient, and they ‘go for broke’ too early and too often.

Believe me, wise opponents are fully aware of what is happening on-court. If they sense immature shot selection, they will alter their games and make sure to keep the ball in play at any price. Perhaps the real problem on the tennis court is a microcosm of our current way of life; far too many people are looking for a quick fix and want immediate gratification. How else can one explain when a young tennis player is trying to knock the cover off every ball and few land inside the lines?

When I was cultivating my junior career under the watchful eye of tennis pro Thomas Wright, he always made it clear what he wanted to see from me. “Every time you come off the court, Doug Browne, your tennis shirt better be soaked in sweat, or I’ll know that you didn’t work very hard,” Tom emphasized with passion. It is common for me to tell my academy kids that I practiced at least six hours a day each summer because I needed to work if I wanted to have a huge American Twist serve or a big overhead smash.

Yes, it is nice to be talented in any particular sport, but unless heavy dedication is included, forget it. If tennis were so easy (no one needs to practice long hours), then why would we be in awe of Novak Djokovic or other giants in the sport of tennis? As my tennis mentor, Jak Beardsworth, once offered, “No feet, no game, no future,” emphatically refers to players needing to be in constant motion to gain fluidity in order to be consistent and accurate.

Sorry, folks, but there are no short cuts in the world of excellence.

Over my career, I have been blessed to serve hundreds of successful business executives and one commonality is long hours and hard work. Successful people sacrifice time with their loved ones, and it is due to be fully committed to their careers to provide for their families. This drive to be outstanding is what one must have to be great on the tennis court, and unless one is willing to make certain commitments, then the player will not climb to the top of the mountain.

In summary, tennis is a heck of a lot more fun when we keep the ball in play. Set realistic, attainable goals, and you will love the game for a lifetime.

 

Since 2000, Doug Browne was the Collier County Pro of the Year three times, and has been a USPTA pro in the area for 28 years. Doug was also honored in the International Hall of Fame (Newport, Rhode Island) as Tennis Director during the 2010 summer season. Doug has been writing about tennis for the last 19 years.


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Matt Browne Topples Billy Bush in Celebrity Doubles Match http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/07/11/matt-browne-topples-billy-bush-in-celebrity-doubles-match/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/07/11/matt-browne-topples-billy-bush-in-celebrity-doubles-match/#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2014 19:23:18 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=40197 READMY TIPS
Doug Browne
dbrowne912@aol.com

Billy Bush is the nephew of George H. W. Bush (President 41) and cousins with George W. Bush (President 43) and Florida's own Jeb Bush.

Billy Bush is the nephew of George H. W. Bush (President 41) and cousins with George W. Bush (President 43) and Florida’s own Jeb Bush.

Skeptical, yes. Curious, sure. I always wondered how “Entertainment Tonight’s” Billy Bush moved up the line to secure such an awesome job in the television world. It surely can’t hurt to be a part of the Bush family; George H. W. Bush was President No. 41, first cousin George W. Bush was President No. 43 and first cousin Jeb Bush was the governor of Florida.

Billy Bush, like his famous cousins, has a solid educational background as he attended the prestigious St. George’s School in Newport, Rhode Island, and then attained his degree at Colby College in Maine. Ironically, when I was running the International Hall of Fame Tennis Program, I had to run two different Gold Ball tournaments at St. George’s, and it boasts six courts in the front of its amazing entrance. There are six more farther down the long driveway near the beginning of the complex. Billy went to school with fellow journalist Tucker Carlson.

Billy cut his teeth during stints in New Hampshire and Washington, D.C., hosting various radio shows before he landed in Los Angeles and his current gig with “Entertainment Tonight.”

Even though a large majority of actors or television personalities are shy off camera, Billy was outgoing and playful on the court. Playing with his best childhood friend, Jesse, he was loose, jovial and in fine form, but no matter how hard he tried, he could not get the ball past young Matt Browne. He had a festive time trying again and again. Both Billy and Jesse boasted solid forehand drives, and they never compromised. When Matt’s partner served a cream puff, Billy and Jesse lined up their talented forehand’s and ripped the cover off the ball.

Entertainment Tonight's Billy Bush competing against Marco Islander Matt Browne on Martha's Vineyard.

Entertainment Tonight’s Billy Bush competing against Marco Islander Matt Browne on Martha’s Vineyard.

Without a doubt, Billy’s best rants revolved around Matt’s big American Twist serve. “Did you guys see that last one? I swear it was moving at me, and then all of a sudden it bounced away. Ok, Matt, don’t hold back; I’m going to return one of these real soon,” Billy laughed after another failed attempt.

Moments later after Matt poached (aggressive net move to win the point) and hit a long stretching backhand volley winner, “Come on, how long is this guy’s wingspan. Jesse, did you see what Matt just did,” Billy playfully offered to his partner.

Thanks to Billy’s constant shot-by-shot playful analysis, three buddies had a blast with Marco Islander and Furman tennis star, Matt Browne, on Martha’s Vineyard. It was a pleasure to have Billy and his friends drop by and have a good time, and he promises to return in the future.

 

Since 2000, Doug Browne was the Collier County Pro of the Year three times, and has been a USPTA pro in the area for 28 years. Doug was also honored in the International Hall of Fame (Newport, Rhode Island) as Tennis Director during the 2010 summer season. Doug has been writing about tennis for the last 19 years.


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How Can My Opponent Be the Umpire? http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/06/27/how-can-my-opponent-be-the-umpire/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/06/27/how-can-my-opponent-be-the-umpire/#comments Fri, 27 Jun 2014 13:29:08 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=39913 READ MY TIPS
Doug Browne
dbrowne912@aol.com

Unless you are playing in a Grand Slam tennis tournament or a Master Series pro event, your opponent will be calling the lines in your next USTA or CTA match. Is it possible that your tennis foe has so much power? There is no way to sugarcoat this topic. With no umpires in sight, you have to rely on your opponent to call the ball as honestly as possible. However, tennis players are not the only participants who must deal with this fate.

Here is an example of how crazy rules are in the great game of golf. As a huge fan and frequent television viewer, if I spot a violation by a particular PGA Tour player, I have the right to call the event and report the infraction. What? Yes, on several different occasions, television viewers spotted the infraction, relayed the news to the referees, and the golfer was penalized later that evening or the next day. Wow!

Even though the game of golf is one of the greatest games ever invented, it has distinct differences compared to tennis. Golfers compete against the course, not the player. In particular, it is not uncommon for a tennis player to aim his overhead or volley at his opponent, and on occasion, may strike the foe.

Without a doubt, a player may be struck with a ball, and naturally, cop an attitude. And, if the antagonists hit their opponents more than once, it creates a very dicey situation. Even if the opponent does not physically strike their foes with their shots, the intent is clear. So, moments later the aggressive team hits a ball near the line. Will they have confidence the ball will be called in?

There is a very thin line between being assertive and bold verses confident and friendly. In other words, if tennis players are too compromising and agreeable, it is quite possible they will lose the match. In every sport, one must maintain a certain edge, and in tennis, we must push our will on the opponent.

Clearly, if we begin to lose intensity, our foes will take advantage. The conundrum in tennis is that too many players want to win so badly they want the ball to go out. So, when the ball travels near the court lines, they inevitably see the ball out.

When your rivals lose confidence in your ability to make the correct call, the match is no longer fun. If you compete against a wily veteran, he will have no difficulty dealing with your bad calls, and will begin to gain a mental advantage.

Basically, he has seen just about every tennis situation and will adjust accordingly. In this case, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him call your next ball out on game point or set point. The bottom line is that we had a fiduciary responsibility as tennis players to make honest calls, and there is no room for people that need to win so badly that they resort to “hooking” their opponents. Once a player or team is labeled a “hooker,” your bad reputation will spread like wildfire.

Entertainment Tonight's Billy Bush competing against Marco Islander Matt Browne on Martha's Vineyard.

Entertainment Tonight’s Billy Bush competing against Marco Islander Matt Browne on Martha’s Vineyard.

So, in the short term, a particular team may win a certain contest, but in the big picture, this team will have a terrible label attached to their names and will probably begin to lose. No one likes “cheaters,” and now future opponents will have more incentive to win and play well.

In my junior and adult career, cheaters never prosper, and they start to live lonely lives on the circuit. Believe it or not, some of the “bad” guys got into fights after their match, and it got pretty ugly. So, it is key to always call the ball as well as one can, and then your foe will do the same. If the enemy realizes that you make good clean calls, he will lose a little “mojo,” and not want to beat you so badly. Ironically, making good line call after good line call will defuse a bit of your opponents will to win the match. When we call every close ball in, the opponent has gained respect, and will begin to give you the benefit of the doubt.

If we wish to enhance the great game of tennis, it is imperative to make the correct call. Not only is it the “only way to go” but also we have a moral responsibility to be honest. When you take the right path and always call close balls in, your opponent will feel the “vibe” and do the same. Ironically, even if you have banged a few too many balls at one of your foes, if he has agreed with your earlier line calls, there will be no problems.

Good luck, and please let me know if you have had any interesting line call stories.

 

Since 2000, Doug Browne was the Collier County Pro of the Year three times, and has been a USPTA pro in the area for 28 years. Doug was also honored in the International Hall of Fame (Newport, Rhode Island) as Tennis Director during the 2010 summer season. Doug has been writing about tennis for the last 19 years.


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No More Let’s: What’s Next? http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/05/01/no-more-lets-whats-next/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/05/01/no-more-lets-whats-next/#comments Thu, 01 May 2014 13:43:20 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=38703 READ MY TIPS
Doug Browne
dbrowne912@aol.com

Senior Joel Cook, six foot eight inches tall, hits his second serve during competition. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

Senior Joel Cook, six foot eight inches tall, hits his second serve during competition. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

Last week, I attended the Southern Conference college tennis championships and walked away with several observations. One, the service ‘let’ has been eliminated. Due to rampant cheating, the rule had to be changed. Translation: Most of the kids possess big flat cannonball serves and the balls barely clear the net. If the foe is too competitive, he will yell ‘let’ whether he hears the net cord or not.

What is the downside of the new serving rule? It is conceivable that the hard-serving player may hit the top of the net and it may land gently in the service line for a winner! Believe it or not, I like this new college rule because it eliminates all arguments. Even though we have fun round robin events at my two clubs, the ‘let’ serve has the potential to be a problem. Why? One of the players may have smacked his serve for a potential ace and the opponent might yell, “let,” which negates the winning point and the player must start over.

So, I love this rule for so many reasons including time. As we have heard, one of the bigger obstacles for the great game of golf is time; young people do not wish to play for five hours on a precious weekend day.

Do you know the World Team Tennis doubles let drill? To me, this is genius, and I know it can be fun because my old buddy Ken Flach (former number one doubles player on the ATP Tour) told me it can be strategic and exciting. Ok, we have the returning team placed in two areas: One player is situated right at the service line and the returning service partner at back near the baseline or a little farther away. When the serve hits the net, EITHER player may go after the ball. So, when the rare serve hits the net cord and softly drops over, the net player will move diagonally forward and hit a potentially winning groundstroke. If this rule is not allowed, the returning person is probably standing so far away that he cannot run fast enough to fetch the ball.

Wofford star (Sydney, Australian) Haris Poric ripping his serve during competition.

Wofford star (Sydney, Australian) Haris Poric ripping his serve during competition.

Years ago, we implemented this rule in our Pro League and it was a big hit and added more fun to the spectators. In my opinion, don’t be afraid to take chances and make all round robins as fun and entertaining as possible.

With umpire’s line up on every tennis court, the college players no longer trust the call from the opponent and constantly question every single close call. It appears there is no trust; there must be too many ‘cheaters’ so everyone assumes they are getting a bad call and must have it substantiated by the umpire.

Even though most club mixers are not too competitive, some people need to win. In the case of the over-the-top rival, he probably sees the ball out before it lands. Moreover, most amateurs look up too quickly and are unable to get the proper view to make the perfect call. In this situation, there is little one can do. But, if the fun is impacted negatively, it is wise to communicate and try to solve the issue. There are a few alternatives that one must implement in order to rectify the problem.

Furman Men's Tennis Coach, Kelly Jones watching his team during doubles. Jones was once ranked number one in the World on the ATP Tour.

Furman Men’s Tennis Coach, Kelly Jones watching his team during doubles. Jones was once ranked number one in the World on the ATP Tour.

One, when the poor line call is made, keep your cool and be polite and ask for the mark on the court. If the foe brushes off the comment as insignificant, remind him that good line calling is essential for the sake of the game. Number two, if the bad calls persist, it might be prudent to call the next ball out when it lands several feet in the court! Why? Without a doubt, the challenger will comfort you on your egregious line call and this will prompt the discussion on what just occurred and perhaps, why. Now one can be straightforward with this person: You call the balls on your side of the net and I will call the balls on my side, right? If the player fails to understand your last awful line call, then you will be allowed to tell him that he has made at least, if not more, two or three poor calls. In a weird way, it reminds us of the person who no longer wishes to be bullied. When we stand up to this bully, we usually solve the current problem and it does not continue to occur. Ignoring the unfortunate line calls does not really unravel the problem as we are avoiding conflict and this can blow up at a later time.

It is inevitable to have live scoring during all CTA/USTA matches but it might be intelligent to not keep track of the fun tennis mixers at your facility. Without a doubt, every athlete experiences poor performances and when they are constantly reminded, it is tough on our self-esteem. Posting results and emailing scores will trigger more bad memories of a bad tennis match – avoid this pitfall.

My top recommendation is to make each social event as much fun as possible and not recording each score is a great idea. Sure, we can use the scoring from round to round but it might be sensible to toss out the results. We come to our facilities for fun and enjoyment and no one wishes to remember our off-days. So, if you have to post something, list a few winners and that’s all!

 

Doug Browne is the Director of Tennis at the beautiful Hideaway Beach Club on Marco Island and the Director of Tennis at the Boathouse Field Club in Edgartown, Massachusetts. Doug has been writing about tennis for the last 18 years and welcomes your feedback. Feel free to contact Doug via his email address: dbrowne912@aol.com.


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Time to Raise Elbows http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/04/23/time-to-raise-elbows/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/04/23/time-to-raise-elbows/#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 17:49:23 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=38429 READ MY TIPS
Doug Browne
dbrowne912@aol.com

Browne once again raises the elbows for the high forehand drive.

Browne once again raises the elbows for the high forehand drive.

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 and topspin strokes have never been more vibrant. Look no further than superstar tennis professional Rafa Nadal; it is alleged that he puts more revolutions (spins) on each stroke than anyone else in the history of the game. I’m not implying that he is the best ever, but when he hangs it up he will be in the discussion.

When I moved to Florida in 1981, I started to compete against an array of talented Europeans who often hit their groundstrokes with a variety of effective spins, and I was perplexed on what to do. Clearly, this new and different player forced me to make serious adjustments; when the elevated ball moved closer to my one-handed backhand, I had to raise my elbows to deal with the stroke. After a 90 minute battle against foes from Caracas or Bucharest, my chest and shoulders were literally exhausted.

I knew that if I wanted to win clay court events I had to alter my strategy and be prepared to sustain longer points and contend with high-spinning groundstrokes. Unfortunately, I did not have a sophisticated Playmate ball machine to practice with, so I had to be creative in order to cope with this new opponent: the groundstroke artist who commanded a huge inventory of spins and implemented a style which emphasized long drawn-out points. So, I employed one of my tennis pro friends who had the ability to feed the ball like no other.

Instead of hitting the ball with the traditional Continental feeding grip, which offers a flat ball, he made a radical change. With his new Semi-Western grip, he began to flick topspin balls one after another so I could deal with this different and incredibly challenging higher ball. He kept yelling, “raise your elbows!” Whether the ball visited my forehand or backhand side, I had to make the new adjustment or my challenger’s shots would have overwhelmed me.

Coincidentally, when I moved into the net to volley, I also had to have my elbows up or the ball would have dipped so quickly I would not have been able to hit a forceful ball. Remember, great baseliners have the ability to hit whipping, dipping balls, and if the net player does not meet the ball at its peak, well… say goodbye.

A great volleyer moves in quickly and tries to strike the ball when it is above the net, so he may put it away and not let the groundstroker recover. If the net rusher is timid, he must struggle with balls flying at his feet.

A few weeks ago at the Sony Ericsson in Miami, Novak Djokovic kept Nadal off-guard with commanding groundstrokes and outstanding net play. In particular, he attacked Nadal’s forehand (which Rafa did not expect) and snuck into the net hitting volleys at their peak and putting them away before Rafa knew what hit him! If, for example, Djokovic moved to the net a second or two late, Nadal would have reclaimed his balance and then would hit dipping balls that Novak could not scrape off the ground. Therefore, the only way to compete against a tough European baseliner is to hit every single ball on the rise or be prepared to run a mini marathon or more.

If the creative baseliner gets into the groove on his comfortable clay court surface, he will take command and control the tempo of the match. One of the many reasons American tennis players struggle at the French Open (coming soon) is due to their inability to cope with opponents who are in their element playing long points. Nadal dominates the French Open because he possesses so many qualities on the slow courts in Paris: blazing speed, unreal spinning groundstrokes and serves, shot selection and the patience or willingness to play for four or five consecutive hours. Realistically the only American male player who could beat Nadal is John Isner.

No kidding.

A few years ago, he had Rafa on the ropes in Paris and just could not close the deal and own the biggest win of his career. Even though the courts play slowly, John’s serve is so dominant that he can win quick points. Whereas, both Djokovic and Roger Federer must earn their service points with their commanding groundstrokes and be prepared to play at Nadal’s tempo. Additionally, Isner has more time to chase down balls on a clay court and has more opportunities to recover and then strike his huge forehand drive. However, John Isner has one major problem, and he has not been able to overcome it so far – he does not enjoy being away from the States for a prolonged period of time and has struggled thus far in his career.

If Americans desire to win more often in Europe, players must spend several weeks adjusting to the clay courts and be prepared to compete in the Italian Open or the Monte Carlo events. Finally, anyone who wishes to win on a slow clay court must practice hitting against the high spinning balls or suffer the consequences!

Good luck.

 

Doug Browne is the Director of Tennis at the beautiful Hideaway Beach Club on Marco Island and the Director of Tennis at the Boathouse Field Club in Edgartown, Massachusetts. Doug has been writing about tennis for the last 18 years and welcomes your feedback. Feel free to contact Doug via his email address: dbrowne912@aol.com.


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Myers Wins Pro Title at Hideaway Beach http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/04/09/myers-wins-pro-title-at-hideaway-beach/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/04/09/myers-wins-pro-title-at-hideaway-beach/#comments Wed, 09 Apr 2014 15:20:08 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=37796 READ MY TIPS
Doug Browne
dbrowne912@aol.com

Former Hideaway assistant and now Tennis Director at Treviso Bay Shawn Hedrick hits a huge American Twist serve.

Former Hideaway assistant and now Tennis Director at Treviso Bay Shawn Hedrick hits a huge American Twist serve.

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 he stayed in the chase with Myers the entire afternoon. Quail Creek’s Jose Pastrello was also on Myers’ heels as he dazzled the huge crowd with his tenacious doubles game.

Marco Islanders were treated to some of the best tennis of the year with so many different pro styles and amazing shot-making for over two full hours. Here are the other winners during the round robin format:

Number two winner: Jim Harris of Harris Construction

Number three winner: Bogdan Badiu – Quail West Country Club and Park City Utah

Pelican Sound Tennis Director and Naples resident Anthony Hatori smacks his patented forehand drive.

Pelican Sound Tennis Director and Naples resident Anthony Hatori smacks his patented forehand drive.

Number four winner: Sarah Cantey – University of Kentucky and Pro Am Tennis

Number five winner: Pete Minarich of Pelican Marsh Country Club

Number six winner: Warren Eber of Quail West Country Club

During the 11-week Naples Pro League season, the players competed in a completely different format. For example, the number one player teamed up with the number two player and then played two out of three sets each week throughout the fall and winter months. So, when the teams finished the regular season and moved into the playoffs the organizers (Warren Eber and Anthony Hatori) wanted to add a new twist and arrived at their new system which all of the players embraced.

Due to the huge crowd at Hideaway Beach, the host club qualifies for another berth next year during the 2015 campaign. Stay tuned for the latest details as Hideaway Beach tennis will continue to run several top-flight tournaments next season.

Seth Fogelman nails a two-handed backhand crosscourt for a winner.

Seth Fogelman nails a two-handed backhand crosscourt for a winner.

Tennis tip of the week: Avoid the temptation to one-up your opponent during a heated rally. Most inexperienced tennis players over-hit when they feel pressure. If you are relatively new to the game of tennis it is prudent to choose steadiness over power when faced with adversity. In other words, when the service returner rips his stroke, consider hitting it back much slower. In most cases, the opponent will be befuddled because they are expecting the foe to attempt to ‘rip’ it back. The smart, cagey player always finds a way to keep the ball in play and tempt the opponent to go for an unrealistic shot.

In summary, understand your limitations; when the pressure is on, just ride the wave and return the ball.

Good luck.

 

Doug Browne is the Hideaway Beach Tennis Director and the new Collier County USPTA Pro of the Year. Additionally, Doug has been the International Hall of Fame Director of Tennis this past summer. Doug has been writing a tennis column for the past fifteen years and welcomes your feedback.

The entire Naples Pro League players, 28 in total. PHOTOS BY DOUG BROWNE

The entire Naples Pro League players, 28 in total. PHOTOS BY DOUG BROWNE

The Champion: Tye Myers, Hideaway Beach summer tennis Head Pro with his beautiful long finish on his famous twohanded backhand. Tye won the round robin by one game over star Benji Kendall! A section of the 175 people watching court one. Vineyards Head Pro Sal Procacci reaches up for his second serve spin. Note the eye contact. Former Barron Collier High School star Seth Fogelman rips a backhand return of serve. Roddy Cantey, former Penn State star and owner of Pro Am Tennis in Naples, rips his forehand down the line for a winner! Player’s Club Tennis Director and crowd favorite, Denny Rager, hits his kick serve at Hideaway Beach. Hideaway tennis committee member and raffle star, Mrs. Joan Janssen, watches the stellar tennis Former Hideaway assistant and now Tennis Director at Treviso Bay Shawn Hedrick hits a huge American Twist serve.
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Hideaway Pro tennis tournament coming http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/03/28/hideaway-pro-tennis-tournament-coming/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/03/28/hideaway-pro-tennis-tournament-coming/#comments Fri, 28 Mar 2014 10:46:21 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=37634 READ MY TIPS
Doug Browne
dbrowne912@aol.com

Tye Myers, a summer pro at Hideaway Beach. Submitted Photos

Tye Myers, a summer pro at Hideaway Beach. Submitted Photos

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 three set match. The new format will be one-set only and this will consist of three different sets or pairings.

Play will begin promptly at 4:30 PM and should conclude at 6:45 PM. For example, the number one’s will play on courts one and two and will play a total of three sets of tennis. Each set will go to five with a tie break at four games all. Not only will we have great men’s doubles matches but perhaps the most compelling matches will be our mixed doubles category. What other sport, other than tennis, offers a form of mixed doubles? Wow, mixed doubles is so compelling due to the large amount of strategy; poaching is at a premium and lobbing might be the key to success.

Without a doubt, the hottest player in this field is Hideaway Beach’s summer professional Tye Myers of Naples. His game is on fire; he just won the Wyndemere Challenge Doubles Classic and last weekend, captured the Cascades prize money event – losing less than five games in three matches!

The outstanding aspect of Tye Myer’s game is the fact that he really doesn’t have any weaknesses; his service return is so solid and his steady play has propelled him to the top of the game in our area. Tye Myers is a local product who may be one of the most gifted players in the last 20 years.

Tye is on FIRE.

Tye is on FIRE.

However, it is important for me to showcase a few of our other local standouts: Jesse Witten, Sarah Witten, Lauren Embree, Keith Embree, Evan Austin, Brett Clark, Gordon Watson and Whitney Eber. It was not that long ago when Jesse Witten (freshman at Kentucky) reached the finals of his first NCAA tournament and also won a set at the US Open against Novak Djokovic.

The amazing Lauren Embree played in the Women’s French Open, won the state high school championships and then became one of the finest college players while starring at the University of Florida. All of the players on this list (I didn’t mean to leave anyone out!) have accomplished so many incredible feats on the tennis court which includes national and divisional titles.

Professionals will be coming from the following clubs: Eagle Creek, Hideaway Beach, Player’s Club, Grey Oaks, Quail Creek, the Landings, Pelican Marsh, Longshore Lake, Vineyards, the Quarry, Mediterra, Treviso Bay, Pelican Sound, the Strand and Cambier Park. In all, there will be 32 different professionals playing on courts one through eight. We are also running a $10 raffle for a Wilson tennis racket of the winner’s choice!

If you are interesting in viewing this outstanding doubles event, please contact Doug Browne at dbrowne@hideawaybeachclub.org or call the office 239-642-2845. If you love great tennis or if you want to watch the pros demonstrate the art of doubles, come join us.

 

Doug Browne is the Hideaway Beach Tennis Director and the new Collier County USPTA Pro of the Year. Additionally, Doug has been the International Hall of Fame Director of Tennis this past summer. Doug has been writing a tennis column for the past fifteen years and welcomes your feedback.


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4th Annual Hideaway Beach Open http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/03/11/4th-annual-hideaway-beach-open/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/03/11/4th-annual-hideaway-beach-open/#comments Wed, 12 Mar 2014 01:35:58 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=37134 READ MY TIPS
Doug Browne
dbrowne912@aol.com

Rachel Schenk. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

Rachel Schenk. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

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 Hideaway Beach Club.

Here is the list of winners:

Women’s 4.0
Champions: Jackie Pham and Rachel Schenk
Finalists: Alexa and Ann Campisi
Playback: Mary Adams and Mary Husted

Men’s 4.0
Champions: Mike Deluca and Ray Jean
Finalists: Ken Baker and Rick Eichman
Playback: Mike DeLazzer and Bob Slack

Women’s 3.5
Champions: Darlene Roddy and Andrea Washak
Finalists: Stacey Faremouth and Carrie Masci
Playback: Lucia Sherman and Sheryl Swafford

Men’s 3.5
Champions: John Rathbone and Anthony Tarakdijian
Finalists: Brian Gilligan and Bruce Young
Playback: Paul Belair and Mark Bunecky

Women’s 3.0
Champions: Yvette Benarroach and Stephanie Opel
Finalists: Pam Edinger and Nancy Rhodes
Playback: Margaret Kimberly and Linda Ryan

Ray Jean

Ray Jean

Men’s 3.0
Champions: Rene Breggerman and Henry Salisbury
Finalists: Paul Morency and Larry Regnier
Playback: Dan Edinger and Jay Janssen

Don’t forget, the Hideaway Beach Club will host the prestigious Naples Pro League, Wednesday, March 26, at 4:30 PM with 32 of the finest pros in Lee and Collier County. Please contact Tennis Director Doug Browne if you are interested in attending. Wilson has offered a free tennis racket as one of the big promotions during this exciting event.

 

Doug Browne is the Hideaway Beach Tennis Director and the new Collier County USPTA Pro of the Year. Additionally, Doug has been the International Hall of Fame Director of Tennis this past summer. Doug has been writing a tennis column for the past fifteen years and welcomes your feedback.


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This pro exemplifies the never-say-die attitude http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/02/21/this-pro-exemplifies-the-never-say-die-attitude/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/02/21/this-pro-exemplifies-the-never-say-die-attitude/#comments Fri, 21 Feb 2014 19:38:38 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=36741 READ MY TIPS
Doug Browne
dbrowne912@aol.com

Leslie with a young student.

Leslie with a young student.

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 ladies group lesson, the bandage broke and blood was dripping down her finger and arm, and fell on the balls in her teaching basket and then down to the court surface.

With her student’s urging to end the lesson, Leslie tied a towel around her hand and continued to feed the ball! “Leslie, please take care of your finger. We understand,” one of the ladies remarked. “I’m ok. Let’s set up the reaction drill,” Leslie offered to her class. With her blood-soaked towel draped around her hand, Leslie continued to feed the balls with her dominant hand and finished the class fifteen minutes later. Immediately after the ladies tennis class, Leslie went to Physicians Regional and had Dr. Walker stitch up her wound.

Leslie was a stand-out junior star from Fairfield, CT, and a top USTA-New England-ranked junior player. Perhaps her greatest and most notable feat was her one year on the Boys Andrew Warde (Fairfield High School) team. This particular team won the Connecticut State High School Championships in New Haven at Yale University. Back in the day, Andrew Warde could not field a girl’s tennis team so 15 year-old Leslie Holmquist qualified for the boy’s team. For a brief stint, Leslie was taught by legendary coach, Jimmy Evert (father and coach of Chris Evert), and her game blossomed under his guidance. Leslie had such a stellar USTA junior record that she was offered a full tennis scholarship to play tennis at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

Coach Leslie Browne. SUBMITTED photoS

Coach Leslie Browne. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

Leslie continued to win big matches in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) as she played No. 2 for four consecutive seasons. After her 1979 graduation, she moved to Winter Haven, FL, and continued her tennis on the Florida USTA circuit. While living in Winter Haven (Cypress Gardens and the former home of the Boston Red Sox), Leslie dominated in three different divisions: Women’s 25 Singles (No. 3), Women’s 25 Doubles (No. 1) and Mixed-Doubles/Husband-Wife (No. 1 and undefeated). Leslie’s best ranking was in husband-wife competition compiling a 50-0 record!

Leslie’s steady play has been her trademark since the 12-and-under singles competition. As a tennis coach, Leslie preaches patience. “I always tell my students to be like me: steady, consistent and accurate,” Leslie offered last week during her ladies clinics. Leslie adores the baseline and she constantly exhibits patience and the ability to hit crosscourt until the opponents breaks down and makes an unforced error.

“I’m a classic Scorpio and I always finish what I start. In tennis terminology, if I’m playing doubles and hitting my groundstrokes crosscourt, I stick with the same pattern until my opponent misses. I try to be true to myself and not attempt shots that I’m not capable of. If need be, I will rally 40-50 shots per point, if my opponent is also steady,” Leslie said, explaining her life and tennis philosophy.

“Even though my game is so different than my son’s game (Matt Browne is a dynamic powerful hitter), I tell him to not try crazy, low-percentage shots,” Leslie explained at the Hideaway courts last week to her students.

Bottom line: Leslie Browne is pure old school. If you commit to a project or event or a tennis lesson, be there and ready to go. Leslie is a proud, determined woman who knows the meaning of hard work and dedication. In other words, Leslie’s students can always rely on her. Leslie’s actions speak volumes about hard work, dedication and commitment. Unless it’s pouring down rain, look for Leslie on court three!

Don’t forget the Fourth Annual Hideaway Beach Open Doubles tournament March 1-2. If you have any questions, contact Doug Browne at 239-642-2845.

 

Doug Browne is the Hideaway Beach Tennis Director and the new Collier County USPTA Pro of the Year. Additionally, Doug has been the International Hall of Fame Director of Tennis this past summer. Doug has been writing a tennis column for the past fifteen years and welcomes your feedback.


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Hideaway Beach, Marco YMCA host big tournaments http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/02/07/hideaway-beach-marco-ymca-host-big-tournaments/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/02/07/hideaway-beach-marco-ymca-host-big-tournaments/#comments Sat, 08 Feb 2014 00:16:30 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=36393 READ MY TIPS
Doug Browne
dbrowne912@aol.com

Dan Edinger, John Ferguson, Dave Goldfarb and Steve Mattingly. PHOTOS BY DOUG BROWNE

Dan Edinger, John Ferguson, Dave Goldfarb and Steve Mattingly. PHOTOS BY DOUG BROWNE

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 and Eric Sonnenberg; 3.5 champs were Ken Kotowski and Toby Burr; and in the 3.0, Dan Edinger and David Goldfarb.

Due to the popularity of all of the Marco Island events, it is wise to sign up early. Every doubles event will be the best two-out-of-three set matches with a 10-point Super Tie if the match is tied at one-set all. Deadline to sign up is Tuesday, Feb. 25 at noon. Players may call for their start times at 239-642-6300.

In the past three years, we have had entrants from the following tennis facilities: Greater Marco Family YMCA, Marco Island Racquet Club, Island Club, South Seas Club, Cape Marco, Fiddler’s Creek, Eagle Creek, the Player’s Club, Pelican Bay, Windstar and Vasari Country Club in Bonita Springs. If you have additional questions, please contact tournament director, Doug Browne, at 239-642-2845.

The big one is coming fast at the popular “Love of the Y” tennis tournament beginning Friday, Feb. 7 and running through Sunday, Feb. 9. This is the oldest and most established tennis tournament on Marco Island as it is celebrating its 24th year! The “Y” tournament offers men’s, women’s and mixed doubles events, and each player is only allowed to enter two events. The entry fee for each event is $30 per person, and on Friday evening, there is a player’s party. Saturday is a continental breakfast and lunch, and on Sunday, another continental breakfast as well as raffles awarded.

If you are interested in donating or entering, please call 239-394-3144, ext. 224. The tournament will be run by director Raul Saad, who has done a remarkable job at his facility and is planning on a huge event. We encourage all tennis enthusiasts to play and enjoy a great weekend of tennis with Raul and his fine staff.

 

Doug Browne is the Hideaway Beach Tennis Director and the new Collier County USPTA Pro of the Year. Additionally, Doug has been the International Hall of Fame Director of Tennis this past summer. Doug has been writing a tennis column for the past fifteen years and welcomes your feedback.


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How can amnesia be a good thing? http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/01/29/how-can-amnesia-be-a-good-thing/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/01/29/how-can-amnesia-be-a-good-thing/#comments Wed, 29 Jan 2014 14:17:40 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=35992 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 new path. However, in some cases like a person suffering from a head injury, it is caused by irreparable damage to the brain.

Now, when a tennis player is able to have amnesia, it is a great thing! Why? Far too many athletes dwell on their negative experiences, and are unable to “let it go” and move forward. When a competitive player is lucky enough to embrace amnesia, he will be able to fire at a high level. The inability to forget bad strokes or poor shot selection will retard the progress of a winning athlete.

In my specific circumstances, I seldom recall suffering from “tennis amnesia.” When I missed a big moment, I let it affect me to the point of over-reacting; the error stayed with me the rest of the contest. In my era (white clothes and wood tennis rackets), power was not the most importance influence in the game. There was a premium placed on smart, strategic placements and a large amount of delicate shot-making because the equipment was grossly inadequate compared to our present power game. The big changes in rackets and strings have changed our game dramatically. It was uncommon for the service returner to hit 90-mile-per-hour darts at the net rushing server. Therefore, when we made an error, it might have landed out by inches.

My top juniors — especially Matt Browne — never get bogged down with their last mistake as they continue to stay loose and rip their big forehand drives. In our current game, most of the top youngsters try to knock the felt off the ball with laser-beam drives that leave marks on the courts. In some cases, these seemingly dare-devil forehands may miss the mark by 10-15 feet. So it is imperative for this risk-taker to develop tennis amnesia, or they will not be able to perform for the rest of the match.

As I observe the 2014 Australian Open, I am forever fascinated with the tennis professional’s abilities to make one bad point ONLY last one point. In other words, the mature athlete knows how to put things in perspective so they can move forward and succeed. Without a doubt, good court judgment is a microcosm of life; don’t sweat the small stuff.

Whether it is a tennis match or an occurrence in life, we must know how to handle the bumps in the road. Most male high school tennis players fail to grasp the ability to let a bad shot go by. Far too many kids play at one speed — as fast as they can wind it up and go!

Clearly tennis amnesia and golf amnesia garner the same meaning: control your emotions or the game will pass you by. One of the greatest challenges in golf is not to let one bad hole affect the other 17. The great golfers of our generation are able to birdie the next hole after the unusual double bogey. Every single sports star has the mental ability to throw the bad moment into the mental garbage can so they are able to excel at future opportunity. Conversely, the immature athlete dwells on the negative, and never allows their mind to move into a more positive direction. Again, we can draw this distinction in our daily lives; eliminate the destructive clutter, and replace it with encouraging thoughts.

The next time you step onto the tennis court, remember to tap into your tennis amnesia. I guarantee it will be the right antidote. Good luck!

 

Doug Browne is the Hideaway Beach Tennis Director and the new Collier County USPTA Pro of the Year. Additionally, Doug has been the International Hall of Fame Director of Tennis this past summer. Doug has been writing a tennis column for the past fifteen years and welcomes your feedback.


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Is your mental game up to par? http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/01/16/is-your-mental-game-up-to-par/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/01/16/is-your-mental-game-up-to-par/#comments Fri, 17 Jan 2014 02:46:01 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=35764 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 at three-games all, the match was completely even and headed to a first-set tie breaker.

The primary reason Browne and Myers were able to stay in the first set was Myers’ consistency, as he rarely missed a service return. Since Browne was out of action for two months with mononucleosis, Myers had to be solid and steady to keep the team close. Once the home team won the first set 7-6, they rolled to an easy second set victory 6-2. Myers continued to make all of the key shots, and then Browne began to over-power his combatants with his huge forehand drive and big American twist kick serve.

The Fourth Annual Hideaway Beach Open Doubles Tournament is coming up March 1-2, and the Naples Pro League Finals will be held Wednesday, March 26 at 4 PM at Hideaway Beach Club. Interested players and spectators please call Doug Browne at 239-642-2845.

Each Christmas, I have been fortunate to coach junior tennis stars from around the country as they are out of school for the holiday season. Just about every kid that I have coached possesses a solid foundation but still need some fine tuning. Without fail, every single rising junior star needs to improve their mental game if they wish to play at the next level.

In order to alter their behavior, coaches must be willing to try several different tactics to get their attention. The unmistakable winning idea comes from my old peer, Dr. Jim Loehr, who prefers to video after the point is over. In other words, pair up two even players, and have them play several games or even one full set.

Follow the player closely as he finishes the point, and study his physical behavior, which includes his demonstrative gyrations and his verbal comments. Too many kids engage in negative talk, and too many juniors visibly show their tempers.

In just about every situation, the players will not believe their eyes. In most cases, one of the kids is either throwing his racket, yelling too often, kicking the fence, or hurrying and playing too quickly. Due to the shocking film session, players are able to make slight modifications and improve their overall play. Some kids are able to control their emotions but too many juniors allow their eyes to roam too often.

Simply put, juniors are always looking for approval, and they either look at their parents or their coaches during competition. This lack of concentration will be a killer if not contained.

Gosh, I once had a 10-and-under Florida star who had this problem. Without fail, he would look at me after every single point. During a huge tournament in Sarasota, he split sets with another top-ranked junior, and I was allowed to intervene and coach him for 10 minutes. “Darren, how bad do you want to beat this guy?”, I asked him during our break. “Coach, you know that I want to kill this guy,” Darren exclaimed. “Ok then, here is our deal for the third set. Every time you look in my direction, you owe me 50 cents. If I counted how many times you have looked over in my direction after each point, you would owe me almost $75.

“Let’s keep this simple, keep your cool, look down at your strings instead of looking at me and then compete. His forehand will breakdown if you move him around the court, but I’m more concerned with your roaming eyes and your ability to focus. Are you ready to take this guy? Let’s go,” I offered.

As shocking as it sounds, the 10-year-old Daytona flash listened to my advice, and only looked for my approval five different times as he squeaked out a tough 7-6 win. Even though he owed me $2.50, I let it ride because I was so proud of his improvement.

The bottom line is for any tennis player to succeed, he or she must focus, and stay in the moment. He or she must contend with one opponent only. If he or she is constantly looking around the tennis facility, they are not concentrating on how to beat their rival.

Are you hungry to learn about the mental side of the tennis game? If the answer is yes, I suggest two great mental coaches: Dr. Jim Loehr and Dr. Allen Fox. Please check Amazon.com. They have numerous books that will help any level of tennis player. Good luck.

 

Doug Browne is the Hideaway Beach Tennis Director and the new Collier County USPTA Pro of the Year. Additionally, Doug has been the International Hall of Fame Director of Tennis this past summer. Doug has been writing a tennis column for the past fifteen years and welcomes your feedback.


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Our 2014 Tennis Wish List http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/01/01/our-2014-tennis-wish-list/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/01/01/our-2014-tennis-wish-list/#comments Wed, 01 Jan 2014 18:55:51 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=35437 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 summer pro, Tye Myers. He teamed up with hitting partner and Furman Paladin tennis star, Matt Browne, and they wrestled one of the best teams in southwest Florida. The incredible opponents hailed from Brazil and Lebanon. Jose Pastrello of Quail Creek is one of the best players in Naples, and was a top 20 junior player from Brazil and star at FGCU. His partner was Jichan Zaatini, who once played for the Lebanese Davis Cup team. You can read all about the exciting tournament in the next edition of Coastal Breeze News.

In order to prepare for the new CTA/USTA season in 2014, I have compiled a simple list of do’s and don’ts for our ambitious tennis enthusiasts:

• Be prepared to shift with your partner — don’t stay in the same area.

• If you are at the net, don’t let balls bounce and move backward.

• If you are near the baseline, let the ball bounce and make a good decision.

• Don’t play every ball; have some trust and let balls sail past the baseline when you are in no-man’s land during your doubles match.

• Don’t come to an abrupt stop; slow down and let your balance catch up.

• If you would like to routinely hold serve, avoid the angle serves. Too many talented people serve balls to the strength of the opponents.

• Approach shots are intended to set up the volley. Don’t hit a weak ball and charge unless you enjoy losing.

• Vary your volleys. Hit deep to set up the patterns, and then add short angles for easy put-away shots.

Far too many league tennis players fail to shift and move with their partners. If the ball is hit wide, move with your partner. Successful doubles players continually move so they feel involved in the point. If you stay in the same spot, your opponents will learn to hit the easy openings. Whereas, if you are constantly moving and coordinating with your partner, you are creating a much more difficult puzzle for your foes to figure out and then they will make simple errors.

Remember, the toughest skill in tennis is to watch for the ball, and if you are always moving and gliding, your combatants may begin to watch the movement more than the ball. And, don’t forget the great exercise one benefits from when she is always active on the court.

One of the more difficult items in tennis is to make quick judgments. The closer to the net, try to hit the ball in the air, and if you are farther from the net and close to the baseline, please let it bounce. As we delve into the no-man’s land areas, have confidence to let balls travel past the baseline, or you will be giving away too many points.

If you want to get better at this one area, work on the boundary drill in practice. In this particular drill, I have two of my players standing between the service line and baseline, and we hit various balls that will either land in or go well past the baseline. The key is to have our players begin to trust their eye and see if they can let some balls go. In short order, our students begin to make better decisions under pressure. If you are an avid net player, it is wise to move quickly and slow down but don’t come to an abrupt stop or you will lose balance and the ability to hit a clean volley. The real purpose of the split step is to regain balance and control, stopping too harshly will be a problem.

Last, as I have mentioned in previous columns, learn to serve in the correct areas of the court. Under duress, too many players hurry their serves, and it often travels to the foes strength. If you wish to hold serve on a regular basis, serve to set up your partner. Believe it or not, I cannot remember a time when my net partner was not actively involved in holding serve. We all need the help. Find their weakness, and go there relentlessly.

Let me know how you are progressing with your tennis game. Good luck.

Doug Browne is the Hideaway Beach Tennis Director and the new Collier County USPTA Pro of the Year. Additionally, Doug has been the International Hall of Fame Director of Tennis this past summer. Doug has been writing a tennis column for the past fifteen years and welcomes your feedback.

 


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