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Our 2014 Tennis Wish List

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

“What were you thinking?”

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

My friend won’t let me join the Board!

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

Are you a Serving Machine or only a Serving Pretender?

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

Most tennis matches are only 10 minutes!

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

Whatever you do, don’t call me a pig!

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

Is your serving alignment up to par?

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

Why Hasn’t Tennis Broadcasting Improved?

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

Belushi dazzles crowd; Obama, David hit the links

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

SW Florida tennis pros dominate

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

Have you ever video-taped your mind?

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

Dr. Jim Loehr knows mental tennis!

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

“The Outsider” impossible to put down!

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com The moment I heard that Jimmy Connors’ book was coming out I knew I had to get it from www.audible.com for our long ride to Edgartown, Massachusetts. When I researched the “The Outsider,” I was jubilant to learn the audio book was almost 12 hours long; simply stated, Leslie and I could not only drive through the entire state of Florida but we could continue listening through Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina! Most well traveled people yearn to be well entertained as they drive long distances on the interstate weaving through endless traffic. ... Read More »

Come on guys it’s time to shock the world and go to a team clinic!

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com On a quarterly basis, the area tennis professionals get together to share ideas and offer insights to improve their coaching methods and yearly planning. Each pro has an opportunity to discuss the strengths of their programs and their biggest challenges. Without a doubt, my peers tell me that my club is an anomaly because we run weekly men’s clinics. Translation: Men, as a rule, do not have a scheduled weekly team practice or clinic. Naturally, I had to quiz my buddies about this phenomenon because it doesn’t make sense to me. After all, doesn’t ... Read More »

Matt Browne: The world of college tennis

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READ MY TIPS Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com After we visited Matt at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina (approximately 45 minutes from Ashville, North Carolina) as he won his big match against conference rival Davidson College, we had an opportunity to discuss his freshman year on campus.  Sidebar-Leslie Browne was a tennis scholarship athlete at the University of New Mexico and I was a Big Ten tennis player at the University of Iowa.  One great perk being an athlete- We did not have to stand in line to get books! From the Furman Paladin’s media department, “Furman’s Mellow Named To All-“SoCon” ... Read More »

College tennis: Is it possible to be too enthusiastic?

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It would be difficult to come up with a better scenario… the old south, 75 degree weather with rich beautiful blue skies, no wind, track meet nearby, excited fans ready to watch two closely contested tennis teams ready to battle for the next three plus hours. Adding to the excitement, college tennis offers a unique scoring concept; three different doubles matches square off at the same time but each team will gain only one point toward victory. In other words, the university or college who wins two out of the three matches wins just one point. During my tenure, we ... Read More »

Is It Possible to Win Without Talent?

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Without a doubt, talent is a necessity on the professional tennis tour. There are so many different examples of junior tennis stars that are unable to make a living at the next level. The primary reason: Lack of weapons or, in other words, a talent deficiency. However, as we delve into the real world, the typical tennis player took up the sport at a later age and has far more realistic goals. As we focus on this particular group of tennis players, it is vital to talk about all the components of winning CTA or USTA league matches. If we ... Read More »

Learning to lose with dignity… when ‘less is more’

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Let’s set up the usual scenario: We have a weekly CTA/USTA league match and many of the spouses and coaches are observing the contest. Most of the time, the fans are relaxed and they are able to enjoy the action and cheer for both teams. No doubt, all of the players are heavily invested in their performances and want to win the game and losing a big match can be traumatic for most competitors. Therefore, when one of the teams loses the contest, when is it appropriate to talk about the match? From a coach’s standpoint (years of experience which ... Read More »

2013 Doubles Tennis Champions

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With a record-breaking 100 ‘Open’ entrants, the Hideaway Beach Club on Marco Island crowned champions in the following divisions: Men’s and Women’s 3.0, 3.5 and 4.0 levels. We have recognized the winners, finalists and consolation winners in each category. For the second consecutive year, the rain interrupted our Sunday morning schedule but did not affect the awesome tennis displayed on court. There was stellar play throughout the weekend with outstanding performances in each division. Upsets were rampant in the men’s 4.0 category with newcomers Mike Piro (former University of Richmond soccer star) and talented Island Club assistant pro, Eric Sonnenberg ... Read More »

Fess up & admit you’re nervous!

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As a long time tennis coach, I have viewed thousands of players who have succumbed to nervous pressure during a tense match. Here are some of my observations of anxious play: • Movement is greatly hindered • Players are unaware of their court placement • Doubles teams fail to execute a plan • Compact strokes verses long flowing endings • Too much lobbing • Failure to put the ball away As former great player and current Davis Cup Coach Jim Courier once stated, “No one is above a choke!” Simply put, if the best of the best readily admits that they feel ... Read More »