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Read My Tips

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My husband wants me to hit my serve harder, what do I do?

Doug Browne  dbrowne912@aol.com Most of my male friends have been playing all kinds of sports since early childhood and are still in good physical condition. Additionally, many of my buddies stand six feet tall or greater and often weigh over 175 pounds. Whether they are playing a pick-up weekend basketball game or they have playing in a golf tournament, they have immense sports talent. When the boys finally hit the tennis court, they possess a big first serve (maybe it goes in 40% of the time and they just love whaling on the ball regardless where the ball lands. Now, ... Read More »

Is Sportsmanship Dead?

By Doug Browne dbrowne912@aol.com On Thanksgiving Day, of all things, Detroit Lions defensive star Ndamkong Suh lost his cool and stomped on his opponent’s leg well after the whistle had blown the play over. It was bad enough that this young player affected his team’s ability to win the game but during an interview hours later, he tried to justify his poor judgment. Unfortunately, this recent display of poor sportsmanship is not an isolated incident. We continually observe excessive acts of athletes behaving badly. In tennis it often starts out with a small gesture as the opponent does not hit the ... Read More »

Tennis players beware – technique matters!

Doug Browne  As a working tennis coach, it is common-fare for me to watch hours of competition each week. Without a doubt, a player’s stroking deficiency affects his ability to implement solid strategy during match play. In other words, even though the doubles alley is left wide open and it is clear that the opponent should place his shot in that direction, too many times recreational players simply cannot find the mark. Here are a few stroking problems that I am referring to: • Player ‘pokes’ instead of strokes the tennis ball. • When the player sets up for the ... Read More »

Competitive league to shut down, unless…?

Doug Browne With our world moving at such a fast pace, one wonders how some things just never change? Just take a peek at our technological field with the recent inventions: IPOD, I Phone, IPAD, Satellite radio robotic surgery, I could go on and on. But in the tennis world and in particular league tennis, we seem to be missing the big picture. If we can break it down and make it real simple; no one playing league tennis is going to receive huge prize money or be sent to the next Grand Slam event. Therefore, all of our league ... Read More »

It’s only a rectangle – Learn how to run great tennis mixers!

Doug Browne If you are running the tennis program at a Golf and Country Club, it is inevitable that the two sports will collide. Fair or not, golfers and tennis players often clash but it is imperative to understand the differences. For one, I’ve never met a tennis pro who didn’t want to unwind on the golf course. Most of my close friends shoot well below 90 and just love the game. And when it comes to the social scene, golf has so many incredible advantages; proven handi-cap system, innumerable ways to run a scramble (‘Closest to the pin, ‘three ... Read More »

Does your brain get in the way of your success?

Doug Browne Doug, did you see the latest tip in Tennis Magazine?,” one of my enthusiastic stu­dents asked me recently after one of our work-outs. My main concern is that the student is on the right track; she is begin­ning to do the essential items to win ten­nis matches but due to her curiosity she just may screw things up. In other words, a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing as people tends to over analyze cer­tain bits and pieces and then they become mentally slower on the tennis court. For example, my improving student is rapidly becoming ... Read More »

Novak Djokovic: From jokester to World Champion!

By: Doug Browne It’s impossible to comprehend what Novak Djokovic has accomplished this year; 10-1 against both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and winning three out of four Grand Slam singles championships. Just a few summers ago, when Federer surpassed Pete Sampras’ Grand Slam record, we were watching the rise of Rafa Nadal as he not only dominated the French Open but he had just won his first Wimbledon crown. No one in the tennis world felt that Novak Djokovic would hurdle over both Federer and Nadal let alone dominate each one. With Djokovic having ‘double-fault-itis’, heat exhaustion problems and ... Read More »

McEnroe versus McEnroe – big brother or little brother?

READ MY TIPS By Doug Browne Gosh, as long as I can remember, the tennis experts continually debate the plight of USA tennis. Do you remember the 1994 Sports Illustrated article by Sally Jenkins that proclaimed, “Is tennis dying?” Fortunately, the sport of tennis has come a long way since the epitaph was written but Americans are panicking because our current stars are fading and many are unsure if we have a new crop of players coming up the pike. Good or bad, the person in charge of resurrecting our USTA junior program is Patrick McEnroe. McEnroe, the younger brother of controversial ... Read More »

Matt Browne, Max Eppley gain finals at Pro event on the Vineyard

By Doug Browne Last week, the Farm Neck Country Club, located in Oak Bluffs, Mas­sachusetts, hosted the $5,000 Pro Doubles Challenge which featured top teams from New England and Florida. Matt Browne, former number one player at Lely High School, teamed up with the Merrimac College top dog, Max Eppley of Wesley Chapel, Florida, for this presti­gious event on the “Island.” The new team of Browne and Eppley knocked off the McCue brothers – An­drew competes for Tufts University out­side Boston and Brother Tim was a former teammate of Max’s at Merrimac College in Andover, Massachusetts. In the semi-finals, Browne and ... Read More »

Don’t be too stubborn to change your losing game

By Doug Browne Usually your big serve and ferocious forehand does the trick; one stroke sets up the other and before you know it you are in the winner’s circle. But, on this particular day (ask Swedish star Robin Soderling about this as he just lost at Wimbledon in a big upset to a teenage star) your usual strategy has failed. Not only have your weapons failed to live up to their promise but the man on the other side of the net is getting all the breaks! Certainly, if a tennis challenger has played hundreds of matches, he has encountered ... Read More »

Do you know the golden rules of doubles?

In order to consistently win on the doubles court, we must follow some basic rules to ensure victory: Get your first serve to the player’s weakness at least 60% of the time. The serve and volley player should hit their first volley in front of the service line in order to hit a penetrating volley. The serving team must be active at the net. Poach and fake poach often! The receiving team needs to be consistent to develop a rhythm in order to break serve. Don’t over-hit your returns – be steady. The receiving team must command a good lob ... Read More »

Tennis professionals Minarich & St. John honored in Collier County

By Doug Browne Last week, Pelican Marsh tennis director, Pete Minarich was honored as the 2010 Collier County USPTA (United States Professional Tennis Association) Professional of the year and will officially receive his award at the Florida state convention in Port St. Lucie next month. One of the many reasons, Minarich was sited for this prestigious award was his relentless and tireless pursuit of one of the most popular events in the area: The Naples/Ft. Myers Tennis Challenge. Minarich, as the tennis director at the Bay Club in Pelican Bay, organized the first county challenge almost thirty years ago and ... Read More »

No more volleyball – We’re supposed to be playing tennis!

By Doug Browne Let’s face it, most tennis enthusiasts love to watch a fast volley exchange during a great tennis match. Most of us get transfixed when we witness a player’s fast-hands, quick feet and razor-sharp accuracy. However, I am not referring to a fabulous fast net exchange; my criticisms stem when four players are well positioned at the net and fail to hit a volley with a good purpose. In other words, one should not venture into the net if he is not intending to hit a winning volley. As a rule, if a player is a bit tentative, ... Read More »

The serving team: It takes two to tango!

By Doug Browne “Without a doubt, if a serving team wishes to be dominant the net player must be aggressive. Former Davis Cup Coach and ATP player, Tom Gullikson (he and twin-brother Tim were one of the best doubles teams in the 1970’s and early 1980’s) had one specific goal when his partner was serving – Try to earn two points every time his brother was serving. Specifically, he had two distinct moves that enabled his teammate to hold serve: Poach or fake-poach. Great net players poach, the net person moves from his side of the court to the other ... Read More »

Cliff Richey is coming to Hideaway Beach

By Doug Browne “Doug, you know how it is, when I lost my singles match, I just wanted to go home. Believe me, it had nothing to do with Arthur,” Cliff was explaining to me last week when we talked about the good old days in Milwaukee at the United States Clay Court Championships. As the story goes, Cliff had just lost a long semi-final encounter and told tournament organizers that he wanted to ‘bag’ the doubles and go home. Ironically, my late father, Richardson Browne, the player personnel director, followed Cliff to the men’s locker-room and try to convince ... Read More »

Open doubles tournament coming to Hideaway Beach

By Doug Browne The first annual Hideaway Beach Doubles Open will be played March 4-6, featuring 3.0 & 3.5 divisions for both men and women. There is a unique concept: The first sixteen teams in each division are automatically placed in the draw and then there is a waiting list. Players interested in competing in this new and exciting event should not procrastinate as the draws are filling fast! Here is the itinerary for the March 4-6 weekend of tennis at beautiful Hideaway Beach Club: Cost: $25.00 per person 2-matches. Each team is guaranteed two matches for their entry Lunch ... Read More »

It’s not too late to turn back now!

by Doug Browne It is comforting to have so much confidence in your partner that you don’t feel the necessity to look back at your teammate as she strikes the ball. But, when you’re competing at the 2.5, 3.0 or 3.5 levels, it might be more prudent to sneak a peek and view what your doubles partner is doing. When doubles partners move, rotate and switch together; turning your head as your teammate hits their stroke enables the team to move quickly to the next ball. While it’s admirable to have so much trust in your partner you can keep ... Read More »

Are you making the right on-court decisions?

The score in the big doubles match is thirty-forty; the first big break-point in the contest and the receiver attempts an impossible stroke down the alley and misses badly. In this particular example, the returner had no business attempting such a difficult shot but apparently did not realize this problem at the time of his delivery. If there was one commonality in my life, it would be that I have observed (coached) thousands of matches over the last forty-five years; too often inexperienced tennis players continually go against the odds and attempt risky shots. Clearly, most tennis players buckle under ... Read More »

Do you know your tennis quota?

by Doug Browne Quotas – my old college teammate from Grosse Pointe Michigan abhorred quotas as he deemed them grossly unfair. In this case, I’m talking about a player’s ability to understand how many winners he is capable of making in a big match. In other words, I believe all sports participants, whether it be team-sports or individual games like golf and tennis have a ‘cap’ or an average of spectacular players per outing. Therefore, if you are a tennis player who possesses a big forehand drive, you are far more capable than most to strike winners from various angles ... Read More »

I still don’t know where to stand on the court?

By Doug Browne Good doubles teams have a true sense of where to be at the right time. Experienced teams move to the middle when necessary, cover the alleys when the ball moves far to one side and go backwards to cover the tough lob. However, too many CTA and USTA league players are caught moving to the wrong angles of the court and are completely unaware when the opponents are going to lob. In order to gain an early edge with your opponents, make mental notes during the warm-up. For example, if your opponent always runs- around her backhand, ... Read More »