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Player Advice

Player Advice
Querrey Reflects on Junior Career, Offers Advice
by Rhiannon Potkey, 22 August 2019

Sam Querrey navigated his own path to a professional career, attending regular high school and not traveling across the world as a junior. The ATP veteran offers some advice for today's juniors and gives some insight into his life on tour.

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Player Advice
Mullins: Don't Think You're The Very Best or The Very Worst
by Dave Mullins, 6 June 2019

Some players think they are immune from any type of criticism, while others are too self-critical. How they should really feel probably falls somwhere in the middle, writes columnist Dave Mullins

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Player Advice
Players Shouldn't Settle for Status Quo When More is Possible
by Dave Mullins, 23 April 2019

If players want to achieve their goals, they can't just settle for status quo once they hit a plateau. Columnist Dave Mullins recommends keeping standards high if you want extraordinary results and avoid doing what everyone else does.

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Player Advice
Mullins: Pulling Out of Tournaments is a Sign of Weakness
by Dave Mullins, 7 March 2019

Why are so many players pulling out of tournaments? Are they really injured? Are they more afraid? Do they just not care enough? Dave Mullins can't stand the trend, and argues that players are losing more than matches. They are losing a chance to develop mental toughness.

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Mullins: Be Negative, Angry and Stop Setting Goals
It may seem counterintuitive, but being negative, getting angry and not setting goals could be a strategy of success for some players. Columnist and former college coach Dave Mullins explains why.

A Holistic View of Funding Junior Development
Following the pack isn't always the best way to develop a junior tennis player. Former college coach Dave Mullins believes parents may want to take a more holistic approach in spending money to help their children reach their potential.

Strong Technical Foundation Should Start Young
It would make more sense to provide young players with the best technical foundation we can, according to columnist Dave Mullins. If they have high aspirational goals for their tennis after that, then the emphasis should probably switch to the tactical, mental and physical aspects of the game.

I Practice All The Time, So Why Am I Losing?
Hard work and sacrifice are great attributes, but they don't always lead to the best results. Sometimes natural talent and genetics win out. Dave Mullins realized that during his junior career and once he started coaching.

Things To Consider Before You Get To College
LSU men's co-head coach Andy Brandi offers his advice on what players should prepare for before arriving in college as freshmen. Will you have a car? Do you like your roommate? Are you eating healthy? There are a lot of things to consider beyond tennis.

Things My Mom and Dad Did Right and Wrong As Tennis Parents
Columnist Dave Mullins, a former college coach, explains what his parents got right and got wrong during his junior tennis career. He hopes their example can influence some tennis parents and the actions they take to help support their children

Signing Day Is Over: Now Get Ready For College Tennis
Now that Signing Day has come and gone, it’s time for players to begin preparing for college tennis. Former college player, assistant coach and current WTA/ITF touring coach Mark Gellard provides three factors that are essential in every player's preparation.

Hey Parents, Let Your Kids Be Adults in College
What happens now that your child has signed and is ready to leave home? Former college coach Dave Mullins has some honest advice on how involved parents should be when their children are playing in college. What is best for their long-term development may require some letting go on your side.

Bridging The Generational Divide Between Players and Coaches
Can old-school coaches and new-age players reach a common ground in college tennis? Columnist Dave Mullins explores the give and take needed from both sides in an age of technology, instant gratification and coddling.

To Go Big, First Focus Small
Staying focused on the right objective is a key to playing championship tennis, according to sports psychologist Patrick Alban. In his latest column, he provides a tip to help college tennis players restructure their thought patterns into successful performances under pressure.

Mullins: Techinque Change Leads To Pain Relief
Dave Mullins struggled with chronic back pain throughout his tennis career. He tried every possible solution before a physiotherapist suggested changing the techinque of his serve. It worked like magic and has enabled Mullins to spend hours and hours more on the court.

Struggling: A Skill Every Junior Tennis Player Must Embrace
As an aspiring collegiate tennis player, attitude is key to success. Coaches from all divisions stress the importance of recruiting players who demonstrate positive attitudes towards all aspects of the college game. Whether it is waking up early at 6am to go for a 5K or staying pushing beyond your limits during conditioning and long matches the attitude of a college tennis player needs to always be positively on point.

Why My College Roommate Did Not Fail As A Player
Dave Mullins is back with a column discussing the methods and approach his college teammate and roommate at Fresno State, Peter Luczak, used to have a successful career on the professional tour.

Talking Tennis Injuries and Injury Prevention with Dr. David Geier
Injuries play a major role in the sport of tennis. Dr. David Geier is well versed in the sport of tennis; he served as tournament doctor for the WTA Tour event in Charleston for several years. Geier gives some tips, not only for junior tennis players that are 12 and under, but also for that 13-17 year-old age group that might be looking to play tennis at elite levels.

Why I Failed as a Tennis Player
We love to read success stories. We learn about the ups and downs they endured along the way, and we know that they eventually made it to the top. However, we rarely look at those who did not achieve the same level of success in their chosen area of excellence and try to dissect why. I think we could learn a lot from these stories, too.

Are You 100% Present?
When I work with competitive junior tennis players, one of the first concepts I share has to do with "The Now" and "The Noise". This article discusses what each of these concepts really mean ‐and why understanding what they are and how they work is crucial to being a consistent player when the pressure is high or when you are struggling to stay motivated.

Tennis Level Does Not Equal Tennis Level
I think there is a misconception in the tennis world that you need to be playing with higher level tennis players, junior or professional, in order to become a higher level tennis player. Level does not equal level.

Building A Game: The Tennis Imagination
Junior tennis abounds with players adept at contemporary tennis: an attrition-based, narrowly-focused baseline game. This mode certainly generates outcomes in the form of match wins, rankings and scholarships. But what about a long-term, sustainable process for staying engaged with the tennis? Talk of strokes - that is, groundstrokes - is plentiful. But talk of a playing style - the rich literature - is minimal.

Go With the Flow
You will often hear at a junior tennis match, "I was so in the zone today," or "How is this guy zoning so hard out there?" If you are talking about yourself, it's a compliment. If you were referring to your opponent, you were basically saying they were playing above their level. Let's take a look at what these phrases really mean - and why they allow players to perform at their best.

Shutting Off The Thinking Mind in Tennis
Meet the Thinking Mind. Many junior recognize its presence more and more as the college playing years are right around the corner. Players often become tight in the presence of college coaches at tournaments, in showcases, and on college visits. Here are four tips to overcoming the thinking mind - and taking control of your thoughts at this critical time.

A Daily Mental Plan That Might Just Work
Focus ... Concentrate ... Stay in the present ... these are all words and terms we use when coaching players from time to time. We have difficulty understanding why they get distracted and lose focus during various stages of their matches or in practice. But how many tennis players have a daily mental routine or practice? Not just a plan before or during matches - but an actual daily practice to strengthen their minds and emotions?

How to Win Without Your A Game
When you look at the world's top players, isn't it amazing how often they are in the quarters, semis, and finals of Grand Slam tournaments? How is it possible for them to be that consistent time after time? How do they bring their "A game" when it matters the most? The reality is that the top players understand that the key to consistency and playing well has to do with how to act when they don't have their A game.

The Weight of Winning - Greatness and Glory
Coaches teach, develop and mold players from their experiences, successes and mistakes. Their job is to push their players through doors where there have never been before - and to get them past their fears of failure, success and the unknown. Coach Paul Thomson of UAH describes a recent dual tennis match that serves as a microcosm of why coaches do what they do.

How to Enjoy the Pressure of Competing
One of the most common issues that comes up during my early sessions with top junior tennis players is the overwhelming pressure they feel before and during matches. On a positive note, many junior players look for ways to improve their mental performance and stop the worrying. But the problem goes beyond mental skills - many juniors just don&apos't enjoy the competition. Here are three things players can do to enjoy tournament play - and perform at a higher level.

How Champion Tennis Players Overcome Pressure
With less than an hour away from the start of a match, the junior player is getting ready. Whether warming up on a court, stretching and listening to music, or strategizing with their coaches, junior tennis players are readying themselves for tournaments = and, more specifically - readying themselves for pressure.

Countdown: Paying Attention to What Is Important
With Signing Day right around the corner, high school senior tennis players have lots on their minds. On and off the court, it can be hard to figure out where to focus. Damon Valentino offers some strategies tennis players can use to pay attention to what is truly important in all facets of life.

Self Confidence - You Got This
Many college coaches would rank self-confidence as one of the most important traits they look for in a recruit. But if we try to put a number or a ranking on a self-confidence scale, it's virtually impossible to do. So how do you demonstrate such an important trait that is so hard to measure?

What Can You Control?
Junior tennis players looking to play college tennis work hard on and off the court, and most of them set lofty goals for achievement. But are they focusing on the right goals? Are these areas where you truly have control? Choosing the wrong goals can sap momentum and damage your confidence as well. It is important to pick specific things that are 100% in your control ... and make those your focus.

Willing Way
After hitting with one of my players who made a series of bad decisions, I contemplated why we so often try to impose our will. In both life and tennis, it is not about imposing your will - but rather about what you are willing to do. We are not privileged enough to force a win, force a shot or force a point on the courts. Tennis, like life, is about discipline, doing the right things, and ultimately suffering to reach our goals and aspirations.

Fall Signing Week '15: Playing Your Best Tennis for Coaches
The more something means to players, the more pressure they put on themselves to succeed. One of the most uncomfortable moments for aspiring college tennis players is competing in front of college coaches. To avoid underperforming, athletes need to focus on enjoying their time on the court the most. Here are a few tips to help players start the process ...

The Marathon Mentality: Developing a Mentally Tough Tennis Player
To achieve real results, junior tennis players need to change and enhance their overall mentality. I often tell my tennis players that success is not a sprint - but rather a marathon.

Why Junior Tennis Players Keep Failing
One of the biggest questions junior tennis players and parents who have not had mental training is, "Why is their training and hard work not transferring into more wins?" Patrick Albam of SPMI takes on this question...

Controlling Emotions in Tennis: Maximizing the 20-Second Rule
One of the most common mental struggles I see with junior tennis players is the inability to control emotions. When emotions are negative they directly affect a player's focus and match performance. Patrick Alban of SPMI describes a technique junior tennis players can use to keep their emotions in check.

Master Your Mental Game with a Paper Clip
As a junior tennis player looking to maximize your game and get recruited, the last thing you want is to let your passion turn into anger. Anger is a type of emotion that often translates into poor performance - and it can turn off college coaches. Patrick Alban of SPMI describes a technique junior tennis players can use to work on their mental game.

Fall Signing Week '14: Blended Learning and the Student Athlete
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...

A Word on Choking
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.

How Much Should a Junior Tennis Player Train?
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.

Fear in Tennis
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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!"

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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...

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.

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.

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...

'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.

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.

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.

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?

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

Tourna Grip - Pete Sampras
Hall of Fame Tennis Legend, Pete Sampras talking Tourna Grip.
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Colette Lewis has covered topflight junior events as a freelance journalist for over a decade. Read her weekly column, follow her on Twitter, and and find more of her daily commentary at ZooTennis.

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