Coastal Breeze News » Read My Tips http://www.coastalbreezenews.com Sat, 19 Apr 2014 13:03:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 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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“What were you thinking?” http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2013/12/23/what-were-you-thinking/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2013/12/23/what-were-you-thinking/#comments Mon, 23 Dec 2013 14:49:23 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=35538 READ MY TIPS
Doug Browne
dbrowne912@aol.com

Player’s Club Pro Denny Rager (blue shirt) with Eagle Creek Pro Brian Akers.  Know your plan before you move to the net. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Player’s Club Pro Denny Rager (blue shirt) with Eagle Creek Pro Brian Akers. Know your plan before you move to the net. SUBMITTED PHOTO

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 my staff to discuss our latest clinic with our various teams. “Doug, it’s normal for us to hit the ball in the proper areas because we’ve been doing this forever,” Tad offered to me. “Even though our players are improving their strokes and their strategy, it is not as natural for them,” Tad continued with his astute observations.

Ironically, most top-flight tennis professionals have always understood smart tactics; many recall building a solid plan going back to the early junior tennis days. In my case, I vividly remember winning the 10-and-under club championships (The Milwaukee Town Club) as I hit ball after ball to his weaker one-handed backhand.

So, when I became a full-time tennis coach at the tender age of 22, I had to seek out information from my new students. In order to get a good grip on this point, I have been known to ask a lot of questions. It is my goal to dig deep into my pupil’s minds so I can clearly understand what they are thinking or not thinking on a certain point.

By far the biggest weakness a pro might have is to coach all of their students to emulate his style. In other words, numerous male tennis pros have the ability to serve and volley as well as rip a forehand drive and close into the net. Believe it or not, there was a pro who taught every ladies team to serve and volley, and in particular, his 2.5 ladies team struggled to win games.

Even though I have been blessed to coach many talented juniors, I can count on one hand the number of kids who effectively served and volleyed. Without a doubt, the serve and volley technique is a dying art and should not be stressed with people who are not equipped to do so.

Most CTA/USTA league matches are played on a slow surface, and with our un-usually humid weather, it behooves players to develop excellent ground-strokes. When the service returner has the edge, it is not wise to come forward and try to salvage a volley.

One of the most difficult shots in the game of tennis is the overhead smash. Therefore, when a doubles team moves forward to the net, it is smart to throw up a lob. Unless one is competing against Pete Sampras or Serena Williams, lobbing is a great way to stay in a point or to win a point with a carefully constructed offensive lob.

The best way to improve your shot selection is to play as many meaningful matches as possible and that includes practice. The key is to make every practice session as tension-filled as possible; be creative and always keep score.

If a team is dominating, change the scoring rules. Don’t be afraid to experiment; give one team a 5-0 lead when playing to 10. It is a different ballgame when a team is no longer winning. Coming from behind is far different than being the front-runner. Case in point: Tiger Woods, the current player of the year on the PGA Tour. Tiger has NEVER won a major when he was not leading going into the last round.

In summary, if one wishes to develop as a match player, set up as many different situations as possible to improve your on-court strategy.

 

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 col-umn for the past fifteen years and welcomes your feedback.

 


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My friend won’t let me join the Board! http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2013/12/04/my-friend-wont-let-me-join-the-board/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2013/12/04/my-friend-wont-let-me-join-the-board/#comments Wed, 04 Dec 2013 18:42:44 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=34979 READ MY TIPS
Doug Browne
dbrowne912@aol.com

Tennis serve: tossing the  ball before hitting it. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Tennis serve: tossing the ball before hitting it. SUBMITTED PHOTO

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.

In the most sincere sense, what if you offer the wrong tips to your best friend? For example, your doubles partner is double-faulting too often and you tell him to hit the ball slower. Sounds reasonable, right? Recently, one of my acquaintances was struggling with her serve and she told me that her best friend suggested a much softer approach. “Quit hitting your serve so hard, it never goes in.” Ironically, she was not guilty of ripping the cover off the tennis ball. Most of her problem involved her inability to toss the ball in the correct spot. Furthermore, she literally changed her target as she chased a bad toss. In other words, she might have had a good plan; serve near the center areas in the Deuce court and then follow up with an alley angle serve in the Advantage court. But, as she prepared to serve, her toss could be so off target that she changed her earlier intention.

Solution. We had to develop a consistent and realistic toss, and then decide the proper serve. Because she was hitting too many flat serves which barely cleared the net, she made a 180 degree alteration. Now, when she comes up to the baseline to serve, (right-handed player) we eliminated the cannonball or flat serve, and we began to address the topspin or “kick” serve.

In order to achieve this lofty goal, she had to toss the ball at 11:00; once her tossing arm began to rise, she had to maneuver the toss to the left so she could impart a brushed up spin. In short order, she tossed ball after ball near the 11:00 hour and she hit each serve with tremendous spin.

Whether it is my two coaching stars, Tad Connerton or Leslie Browne, each has over 40 years of coaching experience and have observed just about every way of striking a tennis ball. So, armed with so much know-how, they are the only ones on campus who can offer the right tonic for their students. Perhaps the best quality of extremely knowledgeable teachers is that they impart a few nuggets each lesson. Whereas the young coaches who are not ready for prime time, bark out too many instructions and the student leaves the court completely confused. The art of a great coach, like Leslie and Tad, is the ability to diagnose the problem as quickly as possible, and then offers a few concrete remedies. The overzealous pro who wishes to impress their students with their vast knowledge of the game may turn their player into a robotic figure. Athletes need to be spontaneous, and this is achieved when we coin the term ‘less is more.’

In summary, I have one particular student who wants me to continually emphasize eye contact. So, every week, we spend the bulk of our hour on one major idea and occasionally dip into other elements of his tennis game. With this simple tactic, students begin to flourish because it usually is solid, practical advice and often easily implemented. So… the next time you have the urge to offer some tennis advice, bite your tongue!

 

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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Are you a Serving Machine or only a Serving Pretender? http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2013/11/20/are-you-a-serving-machine-or-only-a-serving-pretender/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2013/11/20/are-you-a-serving-machine-or-only-a-serving-pretender/#comments Wed, 20 Nov 2013 15:18:19 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=34754 READ MY TIPS
Doug Browne
dbrowne912@aol.com

B16-CBN_11-15-13-16

Tyler Manring reaching for the super spin serve. SUBMITTED photo

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 side needed to do everything imaginable to hit their serves to his backhand or risk losing their serves. Unfortunately, the home team was unable to execute and they often struggled to hold serve.

Hours later, I headed up to the Player’s Club in the Lely development to watch my peers during the Naples Pro League. Though many of the Pro League participants are rated 4.5 or 5.0, the quality of play was considerably different. In particular, when viewing the pro league players, it is commonplace to see servers hitting the right mark over and over; if needed the serves constantly landed deep to the weaker stroke. Furthermore, every single player possesses a version of the American Twist or ‘kicker’ as they not only avoided double faults but also aided their net player with a nice set up shot.

The stark differences between the talented 4.0 level players and the 4.5/5.0 plus competitors is seen through the serve; the top players routinely put the serve where it needs to be placed just like the major league baseball pitcher who can pinpoint the corners of the plate. Because the similarity of the motion, 5.0 players typically put overhead smashes away on the first crack – always struck with a bent elbow and soft hands, this difficult shot almost looks easy to accomplish.

Another important item to discuss is how a team develops their strategy to exploit their opponents. No, it is not true that the team who gets to the net wins. Why? One must have a strong volley and overhead smash in order to dominate at the net. At the 4.5/5.0 ability levels, most players seldom miss volleys and usually convert their overheads. Therefore, it is wise to come forward and apply pressure.

Conversely, players who struggle at the net with their volleys or overheads are easy to manipulate. Another concern I have for many 4.0 net rushers, is that they often come forward and then begin to retreat. The reason so many doubles players move forward and then change direction and run backwards is due to the opponent’s effective lobs. However, as the levels increase, intelligent doubles foes will see your pattern (one who comes forward and then quickly moves backwards) and begin to drive the ball at their feet.

What is the best plan when moving into the net? First and foremost, try to learn the patterns or tendencies of your opponents as quickly as possible. If you can quickly spot their idiosyncrasies, one will not easily be fooled; while situated near the service line, mentally prepare for the lob. If you can anticipate what the combatants wish to do, your strategy will become crystal clear. Usually, one of the players on each team will only have one go-to- move under pressure; if he lobs like a king, prepare to turn and move backwards. If the other opponent prefers to rip his groundstrokes, stay in place and simply volley back to the other team. Your strategy will be reflective of your ability to hit certain strokes and one must stick with their strengths to win a key match.

Earlier, I discussed the big differences between the solid 4.0 level player verses the 4.5/5.0; the better players consistently serve to the opponent’s weaknesses. How should a 4.0 level player improve his serve to play against the big boys? Hit the practice courts with a solid game plan. In other words, the ambitious server must simulate a real occurrence to see noticeable results. For instance, call out the score, “fifteen-thirty” and request an exact placement to see if the player can produce under pressure. I would offer to my student, “First serve spinner to the deep corner to the advantage court receiver.” If my student serves this ball in but not into the corner target, I would say “fault.”

Another huge tip that I have offered to my students over the last four decades is to bring a football to the practice courts. With my pupils tossing perfect three to five yard passes, they quickly develop the ‘proper’ motion and in short-order (and with no thinking!) serve more fluidly. It is absolutely crucial for high-level players to consistently serve to the foes weakness. If you wish to possess a better serve, follow my tips and I promise better results.

Oh, by the way, I have one such dedicated and determined player who is already looking like a quality college quarterback and his serve is beginning to flow. 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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Most tennis matches are only 10 minutes! http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2013/11/08/most-tennis-matches-are-only-10-minutes/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2013/11/08/most-tennis-matches-are-only-10-minutes/#comments Fri, 08 Nov 2013 15:58:58 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=34510 READ MY TIPS
Doug Browne
dbrowne912@aol.com

Steve Zinkan - Top conditioned athlete ripping his forehand drive. photoS by DOUG BROWNE

Steve Zinkan – Top conditioned athlete ripping his forehand drive. photoS by DOUG BROWNE

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 Open singles match lasted two hours and 41 minutes, the actual play was only 26 minutes or 16.4% of the time! If we take a moment to reflect, we need to re-think how we have analyzed epic 5-set matches.

For example, in recent history, we have witnessed numerous tantalizing matches: The Wimbledon classic as Nadal edged Federer; Federer sneaking by Roddick at Wimbledon when Roddick mis-played the high volley. In the last two Australian Opens Djokovic had to survive two of the longest matches in history as he defeated Nadal and then Murray. However, we were mesmerized; how could an athlete continue to excel in the sixth hour of competition? But now, after Woo’s insightful article, I have a completely different view. A six hour marathon is really a 45-50 minute physical encounter. However, to really put this Grand Slam match in the right context, we must focus on the mental demands of the long tennis match.

When two combatants battle for three, four, five or even six hours, it is the mental strain that is being tested. In other words, even though there is only 15-20% of actual play, the two foes must stay in the moment for the entire match or risk losing much quicker. So far, I have dedicated my attention toward the pro game but it is equally important to discuss our recreational players. Most doubles matches last about 90 minutes; how much actual tennis is being played? If we follow Woo’s earlier analysis, each doubles participant is playing for about 8-10 minutes!

Carrie Masci - supremely conditioned athlete (note her amazing eye contact).

Carrie Masci – supremely conditioned athlete (note her amazing eye contact).

Attention weekend warriors: If you were looking to drop some major weight, 8 minutes of exercise is not going to do the trick! We must concentrate our efforts off-court; tennis is a stop and start sport and we must learn specific exercises to build our endurance. Ironically, long distance running is not the correct approach; it may help shed pounds but could slow you down. My number one tip for serious CTA/USTA competitors is to consult a fitness professional and ask her to design a specific program to enhance your tennis game. The key is to build up the body off-court so the player is in great physical condition which will immediately enhance the mental game. Why? When a player is in top physical form, it empowers the brain. Now, the player will be able to practice for hours and continue to thrive in tense situations. There is nothing more impressive than to witness senior players who have dedicated their lives to fitness. I currently coach several 60 and over players who are in such amazing physical condition, they look twenty years younger. When the going gets tough in their 10-point Super Tie Breaks, these supremely conditioned players rise under pressure.

Tennis is a great activity sport but we cannot rely on doubles play only. The average points only last seconds; it is imperative to off-court train to enhance our skills. As Woo points out, ‘there is plenty of down time in tennis. Players take breaks at changeovers and between sets. They argue and change rulings (the new Hawkeye technology which allows players to challenge line calls) towel off and bounce balls before serving.” It is clear that an actual tennis match is considerably shorter than we ever realized. Take advantage of this new information and focus your energy on off-court training with a top fitness instructor. 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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Whatever you do, don’t call me a pig! http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2013/10/27/whatever-you-do-dont-call-me-a-pig/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2013/10/27/whatever-you-do-dont-call-me-a-pig/#comments Sun, 27 Oct 2013 21:26:05 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=34275 READ MY TIPS
Doug Browne
dbrowne912@aol.com

Leslie Brown takes the shot. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

Leslie Brown takes the shot. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

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, right? So, if one wishes to play in some cutthroat tournaments, teams must sit down and discuss their strategy or suffer the consequences. Before my wife and I ever competed in USTA Florida tournaments, we took the time and hashed out our plan. I was fully aware of what would lie ahead; Florida tennis features so many former great collegiate players and outstanding club professionals. Therefore, if Leslie and I wanted to be successful, we needed to have a plan.

If one player is farther back, it is still acceptable to cut in front if that player is faster.

If one player is farther back, it is still acceptable to cut in front if that player is faster.

Uncharacteristically, I took a very mature approach for a young twenty-something year old man. Knowing full well that I was a classic serve and volley tennis player (my generation) and that her style was 180 degrees different, (steady baseliner who only comes to net to shake hands) I made sure to let her do her thing. In other words, I was not dumb enough to try to change my partner! So, we did some innovative strategies: We always played the Australian formation when she served to the Ad. Court and then she would often lob the rushing male player as he ventured too close to the net.

When I was serving, she did not play too close to the net (comfort) and we knew they would lob and then I switched to hit every overhead smash. Now, we had one more key that worked like magic; if we were both at the net, she preferred that I cross-over and take her ball so we could end the point. Yes, she wanted me to move diagonally forward to meet the ball at its peak and bash the volley for a winner. If we count USTA husband-wife, mixed doubles, money tournaments and exhibitions, were finished our career with a 50-0 record. So, I feel that we are in good position to help coach husband-wife and mixed doubles contenders.

It is not hogging if you are quicker to the ball.

It is not hogging if you are quicker to the ball.

One of my bigger challenges as a coach is explaining to my students that a person who is more aggressive and effective is not a pig when he gets to the ball quicker than his partner. In other words, the unaggressive player is the one at fault when he complains that his partner has stolen his shot. Yes, the person who has slow feet is the first one to complain about a partner ‘hogging’ his ball. When is it wrong to intercept a ball intended for your partner?

It is wrong to be over aggressive in a non-competitive club mixer. In this particular scenario, we want to encourage the lesser player to grow and improve; it is wise to relax and enjoy and not worry about winning. I’m frustrated when I hear “oink, oink,” as people describe a certain tennis player. Of course, their reference is all about the guy who dashes for the ball and poaches the volley as their partner stares in defiance. As I stated earlier, it is a good tactic to poach and easily win the point. It is actually poor form to lay back and let the ball come to the player. If one plays at a high-level in any sport and is aggressive, that team will usually prevail. Personally, we can draw this parallel in life; “the early bird gets the worm.”

As it has been said many times, good luck occurs to those who create their own good fortune through hard work. If one is playing competitive tennis, it is vital to move well past the so-called middle line and retrieve the ball and try to win the point. Let me know how you feel about this topic by emailing me at dbrowne912@aol.com. Good luck.

 

We encourage our partners to move quickly forward.

We encourage our partners to move quickly forward.

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 serving alignment up to par? http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2013/10/11/is-your-serving-alignment-up-to-par/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2013/10/11/is-your-serving-alignment-up-to-par/#comments Fri, 11 Oct 2013 13:39:59 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=34038 READ MY TIPS
Doug Browne
dbrowne912@aol.com

Marco Islander Ray Jean serving in perfect position.

Marco Islander Ray Jean serving in perfect position.

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 line as possible. In my era, we served and volleyed on every possession so it was crucial to serve in the correct areas to gain the edge. As we scrutinize my Deuce Court positioning, my direct line of sight had me looking right down the middle, or near the “Texas T,” for my ultimate service target. Ironically, this area is quite small and rather difficult to navigate, perhaps too risky during a vital point.

As we delve into the Advantage (ad.) Court, we are faced with a similar dilemma. Again, with our body situated right next to the center line on the baseline, we tend to look right at the “Texas T,” however, we could argue that we may focus on the body serve or half way into the service box. In either case, there have to be better alternatives than to stand right next to the center line. Remember, sometimes it is the smallest changes that net the biggest results.

Instead of placing the body on top of the center line, move the server three or four feet away from the middle. My favorite aspect of this new serving alignment is two-fold. One: The service stance allows the player to continue to enhance the flat serve or cannonball serves down the “Texas T” area. Two: With this simple alteration, the server now feels more comfortable to aim or target the corners of the service box.

Why will these specific modification net big results for the server? Without a doubt, angles are easy to maneuver when the player is at or near another angle. Now, with this stance alignment change, the serve can vary his selections and keep his opponent off-guard. Serving is similar to pitching; one’s ability to deceive the receiver (batter) will have the player one step slower. In this particular case, the receiver will not be able to put their weight into the stroke and hit offensively.

Every great server knows how to continually change their placements as well as their power and spin. The bottom line is to not let the returner get comfortable.

Another perfect stance by Ray Jean. SUBMITTED photo S

Another perfect stance by Ray Jean. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

What if the server makes a drastic alignment change and moves to the end of the baseline near the doubles alley? The top reason I do not coach this precise service footwork alignment is that the server is vulnerable to two different returns. One: With the player so far to one side of the court, the returner is tempted to hit a down the line lob and then come into the net. To me, this is the perfect strategy; the server must move at least 25 feet to get to the ball and make a quick decision. Two: Another concern is when the receiver returns the ball crosscourt, his ball moves right at the server. In other words, with the server so far to one side (near the alley of the court) he is not really moving to the ball so he can be in a rhythm. Earlier when we discussed my favorite serving alignment, the player is in great position to serve and then move easily to the crosscourt return. But, with this radical serving alignment (server stands near the alley) the player is squeezed too tight when facing a relatively easy crosscourt ball.

And, there is one bigger negative when the player serves near the alley area. With the server standing near the right side alley (Deuce Court) or close by the left alley area, (Ad. Court) players tend to hit their serves crosscourt. Keep in mind, when servers become predictable with their crosscourt serves, the receiver will pick up on this trend and begin to capitalize. I am well aware there are exceptions to every rule, so it is vital for all competitive players to experiment and find the right fit for you.

In summary, my number one recommendation for serving alignment is to place your body approximately four or five feet from the exact center line of the baseline area. It is my belief that this position offers the most advantageous angles throughout a long tough match. Let me know where you prefer to serve and why. I look forward to your feedback.

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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Why Hasn’t Tennis Broadcasting Improved? http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2013/09/27/why-hasnt-tennis-broadcasting-improved/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2013/09/27/why-hasnt-tennis-broadcasting-improved/#comments Fri, 27 Sep 2013 13:07:34 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=33795 READ MY TIPS
Doug Browne
dbrowne912@aol.com

John McEnroe. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

John McEnroe. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

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 forward to today’s US Open coverage, the experts continue to accentuate the same overused statistics. However, I strongly disagree with most tennis broadcasters and their definition of an unforced error. Let me explain. To me, if a person hits a forehand drive over 85 miles per hour and it lands into the 4 or 5 deep zone (approximately 2-3 feet from the baseline) it is a forced error, but the typical tennis analysis computes this shot as a missed opportunity.

Whether it is Juan Martin Del Potro’s huge forehand drive or Serena Williams’ two-handed ripper, these penetrating shots create havoc with any opponent and force legitimate errors. Is it me or have you noticed how John McEnroe has gotten conservative with his commentary? Long considered the best tennis television analyst, due to his edgy comments about the state of the game and more, is now shooting right down the middle making sure he doesn’t offend anyone.

Dial back a few years ago when the USA Network covered the US Open. John was bold as he often shot from the hip and had the audience holding on to their seats. Is it possible to hear some inflection from commentator Mary Jo Fernandez when she is analyzing a tennis match? I’d like to hear more insightful commentary about a player’s strokes and if it ties in with a particular coach. For example, I was watching the Julia Goerges match against one of our young USA rising stars and she kept missing simple forehand groundstrokes. Not only did the tennis analyses ignore the opportunity to dissect Julia’s forehand but they never considered tying it in with German superstar Philipp Kohlschreiber. Both Goerges and Kohlschreiber boast world-class backhand strokes, but often come up short with their forehand drives. It is possible there is a story with the two German tennis stars; perhaps they were coached by the same pro or attended the same academy?

As a viewer, I am fascinated when we learn the backstory of a particular ATP star; often tennis analyst Darren Cahill will break the unusual story and it is a nice addition. Powerful tennis agents are able to place ex-players in the broadcast booth; why not put a prominent college tennis coach or a well-known USPTA pro in one of the prime positions? As presently constituted, both the current broadcasters and the USTA junior development programs are run by former ATP or WTA tennis stars. Let’s see… Patrick McEnroe’s leadership has netted no solid results. At this year’s US Open, no USA male lasted past the third round of the men’s draw. But Patrick McEnroe brilliantly predicted that we won’t really see big results for at least five years or more.

Justin Gimelstob

Justin Gimelstob

Really?

Imagine telling your boss that you won’t really see the product or the budget improve for at least five years? Apparently Patrick’s strategy has been rewarded; the USTA has given Patrick another five-year contract to run the ill-fated Player Development Program! If only Jimmy Connors had sought out P. McEnroe’s council before he coached Maria Sharapova, maybe he would still be working with her? As previously reported, Maria fired Jimmy after just one match.

Ok, many of our ATP or WTA players retire and up end in the broadcast booth, so who is worth listening to? My pick: Justin Gimelstob. He was an honor student at UCLA and has incorporated these habits with his new career and his insightful commentary will pay off. Not only has he created outstanding features with the Tennis Channel but he also adds interesting delicacies to his live color commentary.

Unfortunately I am already leery about newly retired James Blake as he has offered little so far. My advice for Mr. Blake is to study the art of broadcasting and not rely on being friends with the players. Viewers deserve insightful observations, not endless chatter that is not stimulating to anyone but their buddies in the booth.

Feel free to express your opinion about the state of tennis broadcasting. I look forward to your feedback.

 

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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