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Player Advice
Fall Signing Week '14: Blended Learning and the Student Athlete
by ATA, 15 November 2014

With the demands of high performance training and tournament travel, many top-tier high school student-athletes are finding the balance between school and sports extremely challenging. The traditional factory-model setting poses difficulties for many students - but there are challenges unique to student-athletes who require flexible arrangements. Enter "blended learning" - which combines online learning and traditional schooling...

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Getting Started
A Word on Choking
by Ray Brown, 2 October 2014

When someone 'chokes' in a tennis match, there is an assumption that the person is flawed in some way. This is very misleading. Choking occurs when two separate and very unrelated parts of the brain are in disagreement as to what action to take. The ensuing stalemate results in an apparently inexplicable error. Ray Brown of EASI Academy talks about the science of choking - and how to fight against it.

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Getting Started
How Much Should a Junior Tennis Player Train?
by Valery Yalouskikh, 10 September 2014

Many junior tennis players spend countless hours on the court. "No pain, no gain" - as the saying goes. For juniors with developing bodies, it is easy to overdo it. How much is too much? Valery Yalouskikh of TennisConsult.com stops by to discuss recommendations from sports scientists.

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Getting Started
Fear in Tennis
by Ray Brown, 2 September 2014

Tennis is an eye-to-eye combative sport. Unlike team sports or individual sports, tennis is an one-on-one combative contest of wills, stamina and skill. In this respect, tennis stimulates a part of the brain that is millions of years old and which evolved to ensure our survival in a primitive hostile environment - and it causes Fear.

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14-Mar-2014
Dealing with Injury and Rehabilitation
One of the unsung heroes of any tennis facility is the rehabilitation center. I actually witness athletes come in and in a matter of time, they are back on the playing field. There are two individuals that I have closely associated myself. Read the next part of my article and ask yourself what you would have done if you were either Tommy Haas or Christian Harrison.

7-Feb-2014
Finding Your Tennis Zone
After a great match, you often hear players say "I was in the zone!" What is the zone? Although there have been many different definitions, the most commonly accepted definition of the zone is a state of optimum physical and mental performance. Everything appears to be in flow and, in the end, everything appears to be "going their way." In practice, the zone is something that takes a lot of hard work to achieve.

23-Dec-2013
Training Effectively vs. Just Training Hard - 10 Tips for Maximizing Your Training
When it comes to getting the most out of your training, working hard is not enough. In order to see real results, you should focus on training the way you want to compete. Hare are ten key strategies for maximizing the effectiveness of your training.

4-Dec-2013
Staying Out of the Way
I started teaching tennis in the mid 1950s. Not a day goes by where my mind doesn't say, "here we go again." My toughest lesson is not with my students - but with their parents. Parents, please read this several times and be honest with yourself, and if the shoe fits, please loosen your laces a bit and just be a mom or dad to your kid. Let the coaches do their jobs.

9-Aug-2013
Becoming a Mental Tennis Warrior
A warrior is defined as a brave or experienced soldier or fighter. As competitive tennis players know, every match is a battle, with the intensity of this battle increasing the higher ones level of play. At any level of tennis, this battle is not simply physical, but mental as well.

25-Feb-2013
Quality Provides Quantity
Over the years, I have developed a system for my players that stresses simplicity - as well as quality over quantity. Keeping things simple, knowing what shot you are going to hit before you get to the ball, and hitting good shots at a single good target usually leads to fewer errors, more victories, and fewer defeats.

9-Jan-2013
On Leadership
The role of leader carries a great honor and responsibility. Successful leaders embrace the power of teamwork and tap into the strength that each member of the team brings to the table. A leader must be the one that accepts success or failure - and never shifts their role of being a leader.

19-Dec-2012
Developing Positive Self Esteem
Self esteem boils down to one thing: what you think about yourself! No matter where I go or who I talk to, your chances of any success starts with you. You have two simple options. You can either be positive or negative.

2-Oct-2012
Show Me! Let Me See It!
No matter what you think, I have never found two students who are exactly the same, and I've coached and worked with tens of thousands of students. With this in mind, coaches and educators must find a way to be successful that will often differ by student. Coaches vary in the way they teach the game, but the most productive method I apply is based somewhat on their ages.

1-Oct-2012
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
In tennis I see players frame or miss-hit balls for a winner all of the time. Players line up and take big swings only to have the ball tick the net tape and barely drop over the net to win the point. Some juniors and college players shake or hang their heads in disbelief that they missed that poorly. They should realize that they won the point. Players need to learn to take the good with the bad and the ugly.

26-Sep-2012
500 Sets a Year
I tell parents all the time - take one private a week and go play matches. Sometimes I tell parents to take one private every two weeks. It's just overkill to do anything more until you reach the higher stages of the game. Players need to be playing eight to ten sets a week - that's where the real learning happens.

20-Aug-2012
Body Language - The Talk of Tennis
The fist-pump, the racquet toss, the stare. The slow trudge off of the court, and the power-energized spring onto the court. The racquet bag bludgeoning after the racquet toss, the chest bump, and the head hang. All of these are familiar sites on the tennis court. But what are these actions really telling us about the momentum and flow within a match or, more minutely, within a single point?

30-Jul-2012
The "I" in Team - One-Eighth of the Whole
We have all heard the old adage, There is no I in TEAM. Whether little league, club soccer or the NFL, the phrase is always there. Team sports utilize a number of players on the same field at the same time all working in unison. Tennis, in the team format, is a different beast altogether.

6-Jul-2012
Creating Your Own Luck
It's not a rabbit's foot in their pocket, nor the rituals they go through before a task. It's simply that their hard work and effort has paid off. Have you ever heard a player scream "this guy is so lucky," or "how lucky can a girl get?" Well in most cases, a person is as lucky as how hard he or she works. These players on the courts and people in life are creating their own luck.

30-Apr-2012
The Importance of Teamwork
Nick Bollettieri has assembled quite a team at IMG Academies. Tennis may be an individual sport, but Bollettieri knows a lot about collaboration - and the kind of teamwork it takes to do something profound. He did just that when he opened the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy, and it is the team of people at IMG Academies that he credits for making it such a wonderful place to train.

8-Feb-2012
Know Your Stuff!
One of the most common questions people ask me is how I can relate to so many different types of personalities on the tennis court. Well, it ain't easy! Each player has their own way of dealing with everything. The most important thing to remember when dealing with a player at any level is that you have to know your stuff! If you don't, you risk losing their trust and respect.

2-Jan-2012
What a Feeling!
Have you ever been in the perfect zone, felt the mojo... or even just been in the groove? It's a euphoric feeling that some never reach. But those that do and can do it consistently are the ones who can take their games to the next level. This zone comes from extensive training and developing the ability to be comfortable in any situation. It's done by the awareness and the sensation of the moment.

23-Dec-2011
Double Trouble?
Sooner or later, you will play doubles. So, you should accept this near fact and find a solution. For this, I can help you. The main difference between doubles and singles is that doubles is a game of court positioning. Doubles has two players on each side of the court, which automatically means less open space. In doubles, the reduced court space limits creativity and results in specific shots being hit more often.

18-Nov-2011
Up the Middle, Solve the Riddle
Tennis, like life, is a struggle. It's a game of discipline and of choices. When a player is reckless or undisciplined the unforced errors are certain to come back to haunt him. Tennis and life both have ebbs and flows and ups and downs. Pressure, stress of performance and dealing with tough losses and defeat are eerily similar. Tennis and life are both challenges of "Doing the Right Things," and not just "Doing Things Right."

28-Sep-2011
Staying Focused
Many years ago a tennis player came to the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy to get back into shape and prepare for the senior tour. He was one of the greatest players ever, and I asked him how he accomplished so much.His answer: "When I walked on the court, there was only one thought in my mind, and it stayed with me until the final point of the match: I will hit the last ball over the net." Who was that person? Bjorn Borg.

26-Sep-2011
Why We Play and Why We Succeed
Why do we do what we do? Is it the thrill, the challenge, or the reward? Is that why we push ourselves through the pain? I contend that to perform at our best - and to experience the ecstasy that comes with performing at a high level - the motivation comes from the fulfillment of what we do. If we are to be truly rewarded in victory or defeat, it must be solely for the love or passion it brings us.

12-Sep-2011
Winning, Losing, and Learning
Life is going to kick us in the pants. It is. There is no avoiding it. It kicks you, me, our players, our own children, everyone. More than once, we are going to feel the wrath of defeat and hardship. It's coming. But that wrath and defeat and hardship does not have to translate into failure and loss. It can - and I always hope it does - perpetuate learning.

12-Aug-2011
The First Four Games
It's happened to everyone at one point or another. You lose a match to a player that just seemed to be "in the zone" only to watch them play terrible in the next round. It leaves you wondering; why didn't they play like that against me? There are countless articles detailing how to win a tennis match, but they often fail to mention the most important part of the match itself: the beginning.

14-Jul-2011
The Coach's Revolving Door
College coaches have many duties - building successful programs, developing athletes, and winning contests. But they hold a deal more responsibility than that. As a coach, I have a responsibility to each player to push them towards being successful both on the courts and as individuals. Coaches are like revolving doors. For four or five years, they are under my guidance, developing at each stage before exiting the door and entering the world.

29-Apr-2011
Go For Every Ball
During my first practice sessions with Venus and Serena Williams, one of the first things I noticed was that the girls would run for every single ball, no matter where it bounced on the court, including some that were out by several feet. When I asked them about it, they told us about their father's rule: "When you see the ball coming over the net, react to the ball with your feet and know that you can reach the ball." That intensity and focus is one of the things that makes them special.

23-Feb-2011
Two Simple Tips to Improve Your Game
As a coach I am asked all kinds of questions about the game of tennis. People want to know how to fix anything from their strokes to their anticipation to their movement - and, just about everything in between. Here are answers to two questions that I am often asked that can help you fix your game!

15-Sep-2010
Becoming Aware of Yourself, Part II
The last segment of "Becoming Aware of Yourself" outlined the initial evaluation process. I stressed honesty as the key component in analyzing your strengths and weaknesses. By being honest with yourself, you can successfully pinpoint the areas of your game you need to improve upon. This article gets more concrete with self-evaluation.

13-Aug-2010
Becoming Aware of Yourself
Personal awareness refers to your ability to know yourself as a tennis player and as a person. You can develop your strong points even further. Developing a sound and thorough personal awareness will help you identify your strong points, limitations and areas for improvement.

21-Jun-2010
Growing a Champion
At any given time at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy we have students attending from over 72 different countries from socioeconomic groups that range from those on full scholarship to those of incredible wealth. As diverse as the group is there are certain key traits we look for in indentifying future champions.

5-May-2010
Stretch Your Way to Better Tennis
The game of tennis is much more than just striking a ball. When you watch matches you will see all types of hitting styles, various strategies, and lots of variety in movement on the court! Unlike raw natural ability and common sense, mobility is something you can actually improve with practice. Here are some tips on things you can do to improve flexibility and mobility.

12-Mar-2010
Sizing Up the Opposition
One of the most important skills that any tennis player can have is the ability to size up their opponent quickly and easily. Knowing how to read their opponent starting at the warm-up gives a player a distinct advantage. Whether playing for high school, college, a recreational league or even in the professional ranks, the ability to size up your opponent is a huge advantage.

28-Dec-2009
Relationship Advice from a Pro
I am often asked to share words of advice to newlyweds at their wedding receptions. It wasn't until I married Cindi that it dawned on me how similar marriage is to playing doubles in tennis. Below are my tips on how to increase your odds of creating a winning doubles team... both on the court and off.

4-Nov-2009
Observations from the 2009 US Open
This year's US Open was an exciting one! For the first time in six years, a new men's champion was crowned... congratulations Juan Martin Del Potro. Kudos also go out to Kim Clijsters who proved all the naysayers wrong... Both players brought excitement and a renewed and much-needed spark of interest to the game.

2-Oct-2009
What's your Mental Game Plan?
Tennis players of all levels are used to the concept of 'practice makes perfect'. In this search of perfection athletes will spend a great deal of time, blood, sweat and tears pounding the ball on the court and sometimes also in the gym. However, many of these players are missing the most important muscle of all. The six inches between your ears! This is probably good news to those of you who do take your mental game seriously. Your opponents are giving you an edge!

28-Sep-2009
The Perfect Athlete
When I think about the perfect athletes throughout history, a few names come to mind. Jordan. Gretzky. Nicklaus. Palmer. Oh... and Tiger, even though he missed the cut and collapsed at the two most recent majors. History's perfect tennis player? I plead the fifth.

25-Sep-2009
Managing Energy to Perform at Your Best
Seth Kaplan of Elite Performance Coaching talks about strategies to reduce stress and recover energy so that junior tennis players have the energy resources to compete at the highest levels - and perform at their best.

14-Sep-2009
Down, but Not Necessarily Out
Coming back from a serious injury is never an easy thing to do, especially if your career depends on the health of your body. Rehabilitation takes commitment, hard work, perseverance, and, most of all, patience. Nick Bollettieri discusses inspiring comeback stories from injury.

7-Sep-2009
Would I have Coached Rafael Nadal Differently to Prevent Injuries?
Since the French Open, I have been asked by the media, fans, friends, and just about everyone else whom I've encountered about Rafael Nadal. They all want to know if I would have coached him any differently as a youngster and as a professional to prevent injuries. I can honestly and definitively say, "Absolutely not!"

24-Aug-2009
Questions and Answers with Fairfield Coach Ed Paige
Fairfield University coach Ed Paige has been involved with the sport of tennis for thirty years as a player, coach, and writer. He has been the editor of World Tennis magazine and Tennis USA. He has also been involved with junior tennis, and his sons Nolan (16) and Sayer (12) are nationally-ranked juniors. James Hill talks with Coach Paige about the benefits of attending a traditional high school.

10-Aug-2009
The Bollettieri Development System
In the early stages of my career, I realized that if I worked longer and harder than anyone else and surrounded myself with loyal, committed people, I could be somebody. I realized that if I learned from my defeats and had the support of my friends, I could make an impact on children. This has been my life's work, and it has paved the way for what has become the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy at IMG Academies.

20-Jul-2009
Visualization: Envisioning Success
Visualization is a mental preparation technique in which you create positive performance images in your mind before practice and competition. Integrating visualization as part of your pre-performance routine can help you to perform at your very best.

8-Jul-2009
Summer Session
The summer offseason is upon us. Maybe you played #7 on your college team last year... or you just missed qualifying for the Regionals by one spot. How can you make the most of your summer tennis regimen in order to jump into the line up or achieve that national ranking? Here are a few key elements for success.

6-Jul-2009
Returning Serve
It is a common phenomenon in the game of tennis for players to spend the majority of their time and energy focusing on their serve. Although I am not disputing the importance of a great serve, I like to have my students practice and place more emphasis on developing a great return of serve. The best professional players instantly put pressure on the server with great return of serves. Let's delve a little deeper into this crucial part of the game.

22-Jun-2009
Goal Setting: A Path to Success
One of the best motivating factors for athletes, as they strive for excellence in sport, is to set performance goals. Setting meaningful goals promotes effort and enhances energy by giving you something to shoot for. Seth Kaplan talks about how to define good goals - and then attain them.

22-May-2009
Nadal Does It, Why Can't I?
Rafael Nadal is an incredible player; his physical make-up, movement, tenacity, and "will to win" have ensured his spot in either the #1 or #2 spot in the world.Nadal's game is an extremely "physical" one, which includes his heavy top-spin forehand hit with a full western grip. People love to emulate the top players, so if Nadal hits with a full western grip then they want to, too! But, before you make this game style decision, let's examine the western grip a little closer.

9-May-2009
Composure Under Pressure
To gain the mental edge for positive performance, athletes must have the ability to keep their composure in pressure situations. The ability to stay calm, composed, and focused in a fifth set tie-breaker can be the difference between winning and losing. Coping with pressure in those tight situations is difficult, but through mental skills training, athletes can use pressure to their advantage and perform at a high level when the stakes are high.

27-Feb-2009
Building Confidence for Elite Tennis Performance
There are a variety of mental skills that are associated with elite performance including motivation, concentration, perseverance, and resiliency. One mental skill stands out from the rest: confidence. Confidence is an internal belief that you can execute at a high level in all situations. Here are three tools you can use to increase your confidence and enhance your tennis game.

2-Feb-2009
Parental Involvement
A scratch of the head, an eye-roll after a double fault, a painful wince - children are amazingly perceptive and acutely aware of their parents' reactions to their performance on the court. Nick Bollettieri talks about the role of the parent with the tennis-playing junior, and how parents can help children be happy, healthy, and successful both in life and on the court.

26-Dec-2008
The Legs Feed the Wolf
"The legs feed the wolf, gentlemen!" Herb Brooks hollered to his team. As coach of the U.S. hockey team competing at the 1982 Olympic Games, Brooks meant it for ice play, but the phrase holds true for tennis, too. Paul Pisani talks training basics for tennis players.

8-Dec-2008
Training for Perfection Can Be a Real Problem!
Most coaches, parents, and athletes are often in disbelief when I tell them that they are heading towards failure when they train for Perfection. The answer? Train for Excellence.

6-Oct-2008
Racket-Head Speed: What is it and how do I get more of it?
The term racket-head speed is thrown around by tennis commentators, coaches, spectators and players all the time. Generating this speed consistently is the solution to a more powerful game. The faster you can get your racket moving through the zone when making contact with the ball, generally the more power you will have. Let's talk about how to generate more racket-head speed without sacrificing control...

26-Sep-2008
How Thin is Too Thin for a Competitive Female Athlete?
Recently, I have seen an increase in referrals concerning weight management and diet. It may come as a surprise to parents that food restriction and injuries are often related, and result from a combination of factors known as the Female Athlete Triad.

8-Sep-2008
When Do I Take the Split Step?
Nick Bollettieri takes a look at the serve-and-volley, identifying what the best players do to get to the net effectively.

25-Aug-2008
Playing Not To Lose: Recipe for Disaster
In this ultra-competitive world of athletics, one of the more critical psychological myths to dispel is: Playing Not to Lose. What often seems like a safe and sound way to prepare an athlete for success is more often a recipe for disastrous disappointment. Here's why...

4-Jul-2008
'Boom Boom' Becker: A Serve Built on Confidence
I've been bombarded with questions about service technique, asked to analyze serve motions down to the quiver of a single cell, begged relentlessly for that "miracle" tip that will send the ball 140mph over the net and in the corner of the service box - No matter what the magazines print in bold on their covers, no such miracle exists. A good serve is a confident serve, and confidence is the payoff of having a whole lot of self-discipline.

11-Feb-2008
The Power of Protein
If you asked most athletes what the most important nutrient was for performance, they would answer protein. They would be correct in giving that answer. Why is protein so vital? It builds hormones and antibodies, it is a component of enzymes, and it is also an important part of our muscle, skin, blood, organs, brain, nerves and even our genes. Laurie Wexel of HealthyTennis.com talks about this vital nutrient.

8-Feb-2008
Beat the Cheat - Part II
There will always be people who choose to cheat. Therefore we must develop skills in our youth that heighten our ability to maintain our composure in the midst of unfair competition - whether on the court or off. Developing these skills will prove invaluable to young players both in tennis - as well as in life.

14-Jan-2008
Beat the Cheat - Part I
Anyone who has spent more than five minutes at a junior tennis tournament knows how prevalent cheating and accusations of cheating are even at that level of play. The questions we must address as coaches and parents are: (1) What causes our youngsters to cheat? (2) How do we teach our kids to handle cheating when they are on the receiving end?

3-Dec-2007
Master the Backhand Court
If you are like most people then your forehand is more dependable and aggressive than your backhand. If your opponent attacks your backhand, there are two ways to approach the problem: either improve your backhand - or simply hit more forehands!

17-Oct-2007
The Lost Art of the Drop Shot
Let's face it, today's game is all about power and hitting the tar out of the ball. For the most part, the game of tennis is now predominantly played behind the baseline. This evolution has brought many advances to the game, including the need for increased physical training, as well as requiring players to hone their mental games. However, one skill lost in this transition has been the fine art of the drop shot. If used properly, I believe that the drop shot can be more effective than ever before.

24-Aug-2007
Does Glucosamine Really Work?
Osteoarthritis is a wear and tear disease that robs cartilage from joints. Known as a universal disease, osteoarthritis is a risk to everyone, and especially the active junior tennis player. Laurie Wexel explores the body's mechanisms for creating, maintaining, and repairing cartilage.

27-Jul-2007
What Really Matters?
As a tennis coach I have learned a lot by observing others both on the court and off. There is one trait in people that is difficult to define, but we all know it when we see it... a strong character. Although there is no direct link between one's level of character and one's level of ability on the tennis court. However, I can say without hesitation that there is a direct link between the level of happiness one enjoys and the quality of one's character.

25-Jun-2007
Breaking Down Your Opponent (Part 2)
Last month I talked about breaking down your opponent both technically and physically. The last way to do this is mentally, which often starts before the match begins.

29-May-2007
Breaking Down Your Opponent
There are some things that never change, whether it is on the athletic field or in life. Some people may not be as good as others, some may be better, and others are equal. But in every situation there are ways to break down your opponent.

7-May-2007
Whole Wheat, or Not Whole Wheat: That is The Question!
The title might sound a little funny, but it is a very important question. The recommendation for teenagers is three to seven servings of whole-grains every day. If eating whole-grains is so important, then it makes sense to know if what you are eating is truly whole-grain or not.

5-Mar-2007
Nature's Rustoleum... Carotenoids!
So far in our discussions about nutrition for the junior tennis player, we have covered the importance of basic sports nutrition and the role of Omega 3 fatty acids in controlling the inflammatory response. In this article, we are going to discuss one of the athlete's biggest needs - and worst enemies - oxygen!

8-Jan-2007
Fats... The Good, the Bad and the Ugly!
Not all fats are the same. Good fats - like lipids, sterols and essential fatty acids - are absolutely necessary to maintain good health. Laurie Wexel talks about fats - and their role in the diet of the tennis player.

30-Oct-2006
Nutrition Secrets for the Junior Tennis Player
Our newest contributor, Laurie Wexel of Healthy Tennis, checks in with a discussion of nutrition for the junior tennis player. Wexel talks about appetizing ways to replace fast and fried foods with healthy alternatives.


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