All Posts by Mehrban

TFP 049: From the Ivy League to the Pro Tour with Tyler Lu

TFP 049: From the Ivy League to the Pro Tour with Tyler Lu

On today’s show, I spoke with Yale standout and recent graduate Tyler Lu.  Tyler has played #1 at Yale since his freshman year, and was ranked as high as #64 in the country in college. We discussed Tyler’s journey from starting tennis at 12 years old to transitioning to the pro tour, and some excellent tips that can help improve your serve and mindset on the court.

Tyler, a blue chip recruit, has defeated a bunch of top 40 ranked college tennis players and was ranked as high as No. 3 in the Southern California (SoCal) region as a junior and No. 24 in the nation by the USTA. I am definitely glad that Tyler’s brother Austin reached out to me to get this interview set up.

Thanks to Tyler for coming onto The Tennis Files Podcast! I really enjoyed speaking with him.  Tyler is a very intelligent young man with a bright future ahead of him. I hope you enjoy his very insightful thoughts about tennis and advice on how we can all play better tennis.

Time-Stamped Show Notes

  • [1:49] Sports and activities Tyler did as a young kid before playing tennis
  • [3:25] Tyler’s first memory of hitting a tennis ball
  • [4:17] ] Was it difficult starting tennis at a relatively late age?
  • [6:07] Tyler started practicing seriously from day 1
  • [6:57] Tyler’s first tournament experience and its impact on his career
  • [7:52] How playing other sports helps tennis players on the mental side of the game and competing
  • [9:15] Tyler not making his high school tennis team first year
  • [10:17] The structure of Tyler’s high school tennis team tryouts
  • [11:15] How Tyler responded after not making his high school team
  • [13:02] Why Tyler didn’t train at a tennis academy and still improved his game a ton
  • [14:16] Tyler’s experience with coaches as a junior player
  • [14:51] When Tyler started to reach a high ranking in Southern California and the nation
  • [15:41] What helped Tyler reach the top of the junior rankings in such a relatively short period of time
  • [17:09] Tyler’s playing style, and how it evolved as he got older up until college?
  • [18:46] How to selectively go for your shots
  • [19:31] Tyler’s proudest moment in his junior tennis career
  • [20:29] His biggest victories in the juniors
  • [21:29] The recruiting process as an upperclassman in high school
  • [22:13] How and why Tyler choose Yale over other big name schools?
  • [23:27] The school Tyler would have gone to if he didn’t select Yale
  • [24:39] Which Ivy League school had the highest-ranked tennis program
  • [25:12] What part of Tyler’s game he improved the most while at Yale?
  • [26:28] Key tip to improve your serve
    • Visualize yourself hitting the top of the ball up on your serve for more power
      • Works for flat and topspin serves
      • Slice side of the ball for slice serves
  • [30:34] What was a typical day of practice like in college?
  • [32:54] How difficult was it to balance studies at a top Ivy League school with Division I tennis?
  • [34:47] How much off-court training (weight training, agility/sprints) did the team do?
  • [36:45] What was the lowest point in Tyler’s college tennis career, and how he overcame it
  • [40:05] The college tennis dynamics of supporting your teammates while competing for a spot in the lineup
  • [42:12] Tyler’s most memorable team match with Yale
  • [44:32] Why confidence is so importance for tennis players
  • [49:04] Factors Tyler considered when deciding whether to go pro
  • [50:45] The profession Tyler would take up if he didn’t decide to go pro
  • [52:00] How Tyler plans to handle the financial burden of playing on the pro tour
  • [54:10] Why domestic tournaments can cost more than international tournaments
  • [56:26] Tyler’s goals for his first year on tour
  • [57:20] Will Tyler be traveling with a coach and/or team during this time?
  • [58:41] Plan for practicing while on the pro tour
  • [1:00:08] Resources to improve your tennis game that Tyler recommends
  • [1:01:41] Tyler’s favorite tennis player of all time
  • [1:01:53] What made Tyler decide to start a blog?
  • [1:04:39] Where we can follow Tyler online
  • [1:05:10] One piece of advice Tyler has for the audience to help them improve their tennis game?

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Links Mentioned in the Show

Tyler’s Blog – http://www.tylerlutennis.com/

Support Tyler’s Pro Career – Tyler’s GoFundMe Page

Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell

International Tennis Performance Association 

Complete Conditioning for Tennis

TFP 033: Dr. Mark Kovacs – Strength and Conditioning for Tennis Players

Tennis Technique Summit

Note: Some of the links above are affiliate links, so if you make a purchase after clicking them, I make Eleventy-Billion dollars a small commission that helps support the podcast. Thanks either way! 🙂

If you enjoyed my interview with Tyler, subscribe to The Tennis Files Podcast in iTunes or your favorite podcast app!

For more tips on how to improve your game, download a free copy of my eBook, The Building Blocks of Tennis Success below! Thanks for listening!

TFP 048: Optimizing Your Strength and Conditioning Workouts with Dominic King

TFP 048: Optimizing Your Strength and Conditioning Workouts with Dominic King

On today’s episode of The Tennis Files Podcast, I spoke with Dominic King, Head of Athlete Development for Everyball Tennis at Halton Tennis Centre in the United Kingdom.  Dom is an expert in strength and conditioning for tennis players, and it was a great pleasure speaking with him and learning about many important principles and tips about tennis fitness.

Dom has a very accomplished background. He is an iTPA Master Tennis Performance Specialist (MTPS), one of only a small number of people to hold this designation worldwide. Dom is also an Accredited Strength & Conditioning Coach (ASCC) with the UK Strength & Conditioning Association, and an NASM Performance Enhancement Specialist (PES). Dom holds numerous other professional qualifications as well. 

Dom trains club players anywhere from 8 to 80 + years old and loves helping each player improve and develop as a tennis athlete. We covered several important areas of tennis strength and conditioning, including how players can optimize their workouts, optimal rep ranges and recovery periods, and key exercises to improve your tennis game.  I hope you enjoy my interview with Dom!

Time-Stamped Show Notes

  • [3:16] What made Dom decide to specialize in the fitness side of tennis?
  • [5:19] Dom’s competitive tennis background
  • [6:27] Accreditations and degrees Dom finds the most useful for his profession as a tennis strength and conditioning expert
  • [9:13] Mehrban talks about taking the iTPA exam to become a certified Tennis Performance Trainer in 3 months
  • [10:15] Athletes/coaches Dom looked up to the most when he was figuring out his career path
  • [12:43] How many strength and conditioning sessions do Dom’s players usually partake in per week?
  • [14:30] How long does each S&C training session last for on average?
  • [15:50] How should we split our workouts in terms of what part of the body is being worked out (i.e. legs day, arms day, push-pull etc.)?
  • [17:43] Why working out for a tennis player is different than general weight training
  • [21:53] Rep ranges and recovery periods that Dom’s players use, and whether it varies on the off season or type of workout
  • [25:10] Is there a use for low rep ranges and 90%+ of 1 rep max for tennis players?
  • [27:52] 3 exercises that transfer into better performance on the court
  • [32:39] Is the bench press a useful exercise for tennis players?
  • [34:33] How often you should change up a workout routine
  • [36:44] Should we use tennis-specific exercises in our weight training, or should we get players strong in a more traditional manner first?
  • [39:30] The biggest mistake that tennis players make when training
  • [42:20] Tips for players to maintain their strength and conditioning while constantly traveling on the road to tournaments
  • [46:42] Can players have a good S&C workout without weights?
  • What types of equipment do you suggest they use?
  • [48:39] Use of the legs and rotation to generate power and what we can learn from boxing and other combat sports
  • [53:10] How important are the legs for the serve?
  • [55:57] What other sports are most similar to tennis?
  • [58:44] Dom’s experiences working with players of all different ages
  • [1:04:17] A typical day training tennis players at Halton Tennis Centre in the UK
  • [1:07:00] 3 books Dom would gift to a friend to help them increase their knowledge about tennis fitness and strength and conditioning.
  • [1:09:18] Where we can find Dom online and in person
  • [1:11:04] One myth about strength and conditioning for tennis
  • [1:12:28] One key tip to help you improve your strength and conditioning for tennis

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Links Mentioned in the Show

Dom’s Website – www.maximiseathleticperformance.com

Dom on Twitter – DomJKing

International Tennis Performance Association 

Complete Conditioning for Tennis

Tuesday’s with Morrie (Dom’s book recommendation)

TFP 033: Dr. Mark Kovacs – Strength and Conditioning for Tennis Players

TFP 039: Todd Ellenbecker – Injury Prevention and Recovery

Dom’s Email Address – dom@everyball.net

Tennis Technique Summit

Note: Some of the links above are affiliate links, so if you make a purchase after clicking them, I make Eleventy-Billion dollars a small commission that helps support the podcast. Thanks either way! 🙂

If you enjoyed my interview with Dom, subscribe to The Tennis Files Podcast in iTunes or your favorite podcast app!

For more tips on how to improve your game, download a free copy of my eBook, The Building Blocks of Tennis Success below! Thanks for listening!

10 Greatest Tips I've Received From World-Class Tennis Coaches

The 10 Greatest Tips I’ve Received From World-Class Tennis Coaches

As host of the Tennis Technique Summit, the world’s first online tennis conference, I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with many incredibly knowledgeable and top-notch tennis coaches.

I want to share their wisdom with you to help you on your journey to becoming a smarter, more successful tennis player.

Without further ado, here are the 10 greatest tips I’ve received from world-class tennis coaches:

Sven Groeneveld v21. Sven Groeneveld – Maria Sharapova’s Coach, Orange Coach

Loosening Up: “I would ask the player to try to make errors, to hit out and let the hands fly. And to feel what it really feels like to be relaxed. Then slowly focus on the breathing, the relaxation, the bounce, the contact. And the result will come at the end. If you can improve your actions, you will improve your result. We are too focused on the outcome.”

A great tip from Sven about how we can loosen up ourselves and play more freely. I remember another coach who used to tell his son to try and blast a couple balls and the fence with them. Sometimes that’s what you need to do to regain the freedom and range of motion for your strokes. The worst feeling is to play tight, not be able to hit out on your shots, and make errors or be dominated during points because of it. We must learn to play more loose, more relaxed, and Sven’s tips above will help you do it. And when you focus on things like your breath, the bounce and contact, there isn’t much room to think about extraneous thoughts or tighten up because of the pressure.

johan kriek2. Johan Kriek – 2-Time Australian Open Champion, Johan Kriek Tennis Academy

Mental Game: “You may be a level 3 player, but when you get emotional, you revert to a level 1 player. The mental part of the game is a massive undertaking.”

This quote from 2-Time Australian Open Champion Johan Kriek solidifies what I and my podcast guests have been saying all along. Focus on the process and not the results. While there certainly is a place and a way to use emotion positively, many of us lack the experience or training to properly channel that emotion. We get too wrapped up in what we want to happen at the end rather than concentrating on executing in the present moment. Turn your attention to what you need to do to win points, and you’ll have a better chance at winning the match.

Jeff Salzenstein Headshot3.  Jeff Salzenstein – Top 100 ATP, Tennis Evolution

Serve Technique: “Slowing down first, moving slower, being more methodical with your tossing arm, not rushing, will help you with your toss and your rhythm. A lot of players move their arms too fast or they flick their wrists or do other things, and that really impacts the serve.”

What do the greatest servers have in common? Impeccable rhythm and timing. What do you see with most amateur players with weak serves? A herky-jerky, rushed service motion. Part of that is because players start the motion too quickly, which prevents momentum buildup and a natural-flowing progression towards powerful acceleration. If you start your service motion more slowly and deliberately, and let your body do the work instead of just the arms, you will have better timing, a more accurate toss, and decrease the chance of injury. Oh, and you will add a lot more MPHs to your serve, too.

David Ramos Headshot USTA4. David Ramos –  USTA’s Senior Manager of Coaching Education and Performance

Using video: “Try to use video to help guide your discovery. It’s pretty easy these days to set a tablet on the court and record your practice or match. You want to get a good idea of what it looks like when you are able to do things well, and when you are struggling, and try to find what the differences are. Use video on a regular basis to give you feedback.”

Why do the best coaches in the world videotape their players? To spot technical and strategic deficiencies in their game so both player and coach know what to work on to reach the next level. This is especially critical for those of you who don’t have full-time or consistent coaching. Without it, it is extremely difficult to objectively self-assess our game during matches and practices without recording our play and analyzing how we performed afterwards. You might think you have the greatest serve, forehand, or backhand. I challenge you to record your play, watch it, show it to a coach or fellow player, and even share it online among knowledgeable players and coaches. And like Dave says, it is super easy to record these days. All you really need is a smartphone, and to make it easier, bring along a friend and/or tripod to prevent shaky video.

Billy Pate5. Billy Pate – Head Coach, Princeton University Men’s Tennis, Nike Tennis Camps

Competing: “There are a lot of different ways to win.  Every coach is looking for a great competitor. Don’t get discouraged if you have some “ugly” technique. We’ve seen a lot of ugly technique work and win. It’s what’s under the hood and in your heart.”

At the end of the day, we won’t all have flawless technique like Federer. Heck, Gulbis reached the Top 100 with a very “interesting” looking forehand. When it is match-day, forget about technique and focus on executing your game plan, finding solutions against your opponent, and competing to the best of your ability. Beautiful technique means nothing if you aren’t willing to play through adversity, weather the storm, and come out on top by focusing on playing solid, no-nonsense, high-percentage tennis. It can be a confidence-buster if you think you have deficient technique, but just as in life, we do the best with the cards we’re dealt and make the most of it.

Ian Westermann Headshot v16. Ian Westermann – Essential Tennis

Volleys: “When it comes to firmness, it’s not either or. You have to be able to match the firmness with the situation you are in and with the desired outcome that you want. A lot of coaches are black and white with the firmness when in reality it’s a million shades of grey. No two volleys are going to be exactly the same.”

A lot of tennis players think every volley has to be hit the same. Every volley out in front, or always a certain degree of tightness/looseness in the arm. When the reality is, you have to adjust according to the type of ball coming at you and the type of volley you want to hit. This is the same philosophy that other world-class coaches like Feisal Hassan teach as well. Will a half volley have the same feel and technique as a high volley? Will a slow floating volley be hit at the same contact point and backswing as a fast-moving ball hit straight at you? I think you kNOw the answer to that question if you read Ian’s quote above.  It takes time, practice, and an open mind, but you will find your range and learn the difference adjustments needed to hit great volleys no matter what type of ball you are receiving.

Mark Kovacs headshot v27. Dr. Mark Kovacs – Kovacs Institute

Kinetic Chain: “If you move your hips, your shoulders have to turn. That’s the preferred and optimal method. If you just focus on the shoulder turn, sometimes the hips don’t move, and you can put put your shoulders in a compromised environment that will rob you of pace and potentially overload the shoulder and elbow potentially in the motion.

A common question for me to tennis experts is: what initiates the kinetic chain? Who better to ask than the man who co-authored a fantastic study entitled “An 8-Stage Model for Evaluating the Tennis Serve” and is an expert in sports science? Too many players initiate their movements with their arms on most strokes, and the better ones initiate with the shoulders. However, as Dr. Kovacs mentioned, the optimal driver of the movement is to start with the hips. Sometimes when we rotate with the shoulders, the hips do not come along for the ride, which is inefficient and prevents maximum power and acceleration on the stroke. However, if you initiate your motion with your hips, then your shoulders must move, and you prevent under-rotation of your lower body. In general, we are using way too much arm and not enough hips on our shots. Hip rotation is the key to unlocking power.

Allistair McCaw Headshot8. Allistair McCaw – McCaw Method

Optimal Learning: “A great technique we use in coaching is called chunking. We focus on one area, or if the athlete is able to manage two areas at once, I would go no further than that. Sometimes coaches overload information. Keep the main thing the main thing.”

I’ve had lessons before where ten different instructions were shouted to me before I had to hit the ball. It is extremely difficult to absorb anything in these circumstances. Most of us cannot learn more than one thing at a time. And that’s fine because the optimal way to learn is to put 100% focus on one thing until you learn it completely, and then move on to the next concept. This is precisely what Allistair advises to coaches who are teaching students, and this also applies if you are trying things out on your own. Take the serve for example. If you had 100 students focus on increasing hip rotation, tossing the ball at 1 o’clock, and keep the head up at contact all at once, how high do you think the failure rate would be? Instead, focus on developing hip rotation for a solid 30 minutes or however long it takes until it feels natural, then move on to the toss.

Tomaz Mencinger Headshot9. Tomaz Mencinger – Feel Tennis

Making Mistakes: “It is much better to accept a double fault and let it go, than to be hard on yourself and get upset and irritated. No top player has zero double faults. Just accept it and refocus on the next point rather than overanalyzing why you double faulted.”

Double faults and other mistakes can be the negative turning point in a match for tennis players. Or, it can just be another point like all the rest of them. The key is not to make such a big deal of your mistakes, because mistakes will happen. The sooner you accept this concept, the better your overall performance and results will be. This is also the main concept in certain meditation practices (Headspace is my favorite meditation app), and mindfulness-based tennis psychology, where instead of battling with your own mind and over-thinking why you made a mistake, you accept that it happened and stay focused on the match. Once you lose that focus, the match is practically over.

Yann Auzoux Headshot10. Yann Auzoux – Tennis Central

Footwork: “Start small and grow bigger. If it begins with just implementing more jump rope in your routine for example, it’s a great start. Anything you can do to make your feet move faster, be in more control over your center of gravity, balance, and your ability to move faster, is worth it.”

One useful piece of equipment that the Tennis Technique Summit coaches have consistently mentioned is the jump rope. Jumping rope can help you in a multitude of ways, from general fitness, to better balance, a stronger core, endurance, speed, and many other benefits. How about this for a challenge: implement 5 minutes of jump rope two times per week in your fitness routine, and take note of your footwork intensity and general fitness. I’m willing to bet that you will feel faster and fitter on the court in a few weeks. And at the very least, you’ll feel better about yourself knowing that you are taking small steps that will turn into big results in your tennis game.

I hope that the 10 greatest tips I’ve learned from world-class coaches above will help you in your journey to becoming a better tennis player.

If you aren’t convinced to check out the Tennis Technique Summit yet, which is free to watch from March 22-27, here’s a short highlights video that I had my video editor make for you to check out:

I highly encourage you to register for The Tennis Technique Summit! You’ll get to watch 30+ hours of video interviews and presentations with over 25 world-class coaches, including the ones above.

To check out the Tennis Technique Summit for free, enter your first name and email address below! See you there!

Get Your Free Ticket to the 2017 Tennis Technique Summit!

Join 25+ world-class experts from March 22-27. Register Now!

Tennis Technique Summit v2

Announcing The 2017 Tennis Technique Summit!

After nearly 4 months of hard work, I’m proud to announce that I’ll be hosting the world’s first online tennis conference: The 2017 Tennis Technique Summit!

From March 22-27, you’ll be able to watch the coaches and I talk about tennis on your computer and smartphone. And you can get a free ticket to watch all the sessions!

It has been incredible connecting with many of the greatest coaches in the game. The lineup of over 25 coaches includes multiple Grand Slam Champion Johan Kriek, Sven Groeneveld (Maria Sharapova’s coach), former top 100 ATP player Jeff Salzenstein, current doubles pro Megan Moulton-Levy, top-notch online instructors Ian Westermann, Tomaz Mencinger, and Florian Meier, USTA’s David Ramos, and high performance coaches Dr. Mark Kovacs and Allistair McCaw.

The coaches and I examine technique on the serve, forehand, backhand, volleys, footwork, and other areas of your game to help you become a better player and reach the next level.

You’ll get to watch over 30 hours of extremely valuable video interviews, powerpoint presentations, and recorded lessons during the 6 days of the summit. I truly appreciate the time and effort from all of the coaches to help make this summit a fantastic event.

Here’s a quick little preview of the summit that my video editor sliced together for you:

The awesome part about this event is that it is free to attend!

Think of how much cash you’d have to invest to get this amount of advice from all of these world-class coaches. Even one tip could make a huge difference in your game, and you’re going to learn about a hundred of them when you attend this event. The coaches on the summit have had so much success helping thousands of players like you improve their games. Now it is your turn.

You also have the option to upgrade to lifetime access to all the videos, which includes downloadable mp3 audio files so you can listen to the sessions from anywhere you want, free courses from the coaches, a question and answer session with me after the event, and access to a private facebook group. For all the value you are getting, I think the price (hint, it’s under $100!) is pretty reasonable.

Whether you just want to watch the videos, or upgrade to the All-Access Pass, it’s a no-brainer to sign-up for your free ticket to the event. If you’re a passionate tennis player who wants to improve your game, you’ve got no excuse not to check out the Tennis Technique Summit.

Click here to get your free ticket to the 2017 Tennis Technique Summit!

I’d also really appreciate it if you could share the event with any people or groups that are interested in becoming better tennis players. My goal is to positively impact as many people as possible with the summit.

Click Here to Share the Summit on Facebook!

Click Here to Tweet the Summit!

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at mehrban@tennisfiles.com. Let’s make this event as big as we can! See you at the summit!

Get Your Free Ticket to the 2017 Tennis Technique Summit!

Join 25+ world-class experts from March 22-27. Register Now!

TFP 047: Longevity and Success in Tennis with Charlie Hoeveler

TFP 047: Longevity and Success in Tennis with Charlie Hoeveler

Today I spoke with Charlie Hoeveler, CEO and Founder of US Sports Camps. Charlie discussed his secrets to success and longevity in tennis and how he manages to run the largest sports camps organizations in the world.

Charlie is also a very accomplished player and gave some fantastic advice on how older players can continue to be successful in the sport. He has been ranked number one in the world in singles (ITF) in 1991 (45’s), 1995 (50’s) and #2 in 2001 (55’s) as well as #1 in singles in the U.S. twice (1990 and 2001). Charlie has won 48 Gold Balls for USTA national championships in singles (11), doubles (11), mixed doubles (2), and Father/Son (24) with a string of 24 consecutive years with a Gold Ball (1990 through 2013).

Charlie and his VP’s of Tennis, Matt, Wendy and Siera, have managed to snag some of the best coaches in the country to run their programs, including Paul Goldstein, Stanford University Men’s Tennis Coach, and Billy Pate, Princeton Men’s Tennis Coach.

In addition to his tennis accomplishments, Charlie is a Founding Member National Junior Tennis League of San Francisco, The Charles Schwab Youth Foundation, Special Olympics organizer in Marin County (CA). Charlie is also an Honorary Member of the IC of Great Britain and a member of the USTA/Norcal Hall of Fame.

Here’s what you’ll learn in my interview with Charlie:

  • What Charlie loves the most about tennis.
  • His first memory on the court.
  • Charlie’s tennis idols growing up and a legend he got to hit with.
  • If he could give his younger self advice on how to play better tennis, what he would tell himself.
  • Charlie’s secrets to success and longevity in tennis.
  • His routine before tennis matches.
  • Charlie’s advice to senior players on how they can keep playing
  • How US Sports Camps and Nike Tennis Camps was born
  • How many players have gone through US Sports Camps and Nike Tennis Camps’s camps (hint: its a lot!).
  • The structure and duration of Nike Tennis Camps.
  • What sets US Sports Camps and Nike Tennis Camps apart from other tennis camps.
  • One key piece of advice to help tennis players improve their games.

And more!

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Links Mentioned in the Show

Tennis Technique Summit – Get Your Free Ticket!

Nike Tennis Camps – US Sports Camps

If you enjoyed my interview with Charlie, subscribe to The Tennis Files Podcast in iTunes or your favorite podcast app!

For more tips on how to improve your game, download a free copy of my eBook, The Building Blocks of Tennis Success eBook below! Thanks for listening!

TFP 046: The Mental Game with Jeff Greenwald

TFP 046: The Mental Game with Jeff Greenwald

On today’s episode, I had the pleasure of speaking with Jeff Greenwald, an internationally recognized sports psychology consultant and licensed therapist who specializes in the mental game of tennis. Jeff gave us some fantastic advice on how we can play better tennis by improving the way we think on court and about the game on Episode 46 of The Tennis Files Podcast. If you haven’t listened to Episode 44 with Neil Endicott on Mindfulness-Based Tennis Psychology yet, definitely check that one out as well.

Jeff is author of a fantastic book entitled The Best Tennis of Your Life: 50 Strategies for Fearless Performance.  He is also a speaker and a former world-ranked pro on the ATP Tour who went on to reach the No. 1 ITF ranking in the world and U.S in the men’s 35-age division.

The mental game is such an important part of tennis and I am really excited to bring you this interview with Jeff. We discuss the most important lessons Jeff has learned about the mental game, his biggest struggles on the court, advice that he’d give his younger college/ATP pro playing self, tips on how to improve your mental approach, and much more. Jeff’s advice will help you deal with pressure during matches so you can play better tennis. Click the play button above to listen to the interview. Enjoy!

Time-Stamped Show Notes

  • [1:11] How did Jeff got to where he is today in his tennis career
  • [1:55] What Jeff learned most from The Bollettieri Academy
  • [3:10] Jeff’s most difficult moment as a professional tennis player that pushed him mentally?
  • [5:27] Jeff’s advice to himself as a 20-year old college/ATP pro player
  • [7:47] What can we do to strengthen our mental game?
  • [10:15] What are a few things we can do during a match to help us reset for the next point?
  • [13:12] How can we stay positive after a series of losses?
  • [15:45] Strategies from Jeff’s book that will make a substantial impact on your performance
  • [18:36] Books Jeff recommends you read to improve your mental game
  • [22:02] One key tip from Jeff to help you improve your tennis game

Subscribe to automatically download new episodes!

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Right Click Here to Download the MP3

Links Mentioned in the Show

Jeff’s Website – jeffhgreenwald.com

Jeff’s Book – The Best Tennis of Your Life: 50 Strategies for Fearless Performance

TFP 044: Mindfulness-Based Tennis Psychology with Neil Endicott

The Power of Full Engagement – Jim Loehr

Way of the Peaceful Warrior – Dan Millman

Winning Ugly – Brad Gilbert

Open – Andre Agassi

Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor E. Frankl and William J. Winslade

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success – Carol S. Dweck

Note: Some of the links above are affiliate links, so if you make a purchase after clicking them, I make Eleventy-Billion dollars a small commission that helps support the podcast. Thanks either way! 🙂

If you enjoyed my interview with Jeff, subscribe to The Tennis Files Podcast in iTunes or your favorite podcast app!

For more tips on how to improve your game, download a free copy of my eBook, The Building Blocks of Tennis Success eBook below! Thanks for listening!

TFP 045: Kastles Owner Mark Ein on the Historic All-Williams Australian Open Final

TFP 045: Kastles Owner Mark Ein’s Thoughts on the Historic All-Williams Australian Open Final

Mark Ein, founder and owner of the six-time World Team Tennis Champion Washington Kastles, was thrilled to hear that two members of the Kastles family sealed their places in the 2017 Australian Open final.

Mark, who is also an investor, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, is the man responsible for bringing Venus and Serena to Washington, and has maintained a close friendship with both players.

Like many hardcore tennis fans, Mark has not been getting much sleep for the past two weeks. Perhaps nothing new for the Kastles owner and successful businessman, the sleep deprivation has been well worth seeing the Williams sisters make the championship match.

“I was so thrilled for both of them, in particular Venus who has overcome so much. To see the joy she experienced after beating Coco….I was so happy for her.”

“They’re not just people who’ve played for us, they’re also my friends and I am just thrilled.”

While many were not surprised at Serena’s success in Australia, Mark knew Venus was capable of great results if she could stay in good physical condition.

“With Serena over recent years you assume she has a better chance than anyone.  When it comes to the Grand Slams Serena is always a favorite to make it and she is playing really well.”

“When V is playing well she is as good as anyone in the world. It’s just a matter of if she can keep her level over two weeks given her Sjogren’s syndrome.”

Venus has maintained her level throughout the fortnight, defeating fellow American Coco Vandeweghe, who had a fantastic tournament and has faced off against Venus in tight matches during World Team Tennis.

Both Williams sisters have played for the Kastles, with Serena joining the franchise from the very beginning.

“Serena played for the Kastles ever since the team was formed. Back then in 2008 Venus was higher ranked then Serena. I thought if I could get either of them on the team it would be great.”

“Venus joined the team after playing for another team for two years. She loves playing World Team Tennis and loves playing for something more than herself, her city.”

While Venus and Serena are two legends of the game, Mark has seen firsthand how much both enjoy giving back to others.

“We try not to just bring the best players but the best role models into our community and its hard to imagine any better role models than Venus and Serena from their humble beginnings.”

“They both are exceptional human beings, are very well-rounded, have their own businesses, and share a conviction about giving back. They are wonderful with everyone around the team and the franchise.”

“We have been not just blessed to have them on the team but also in our community.”

The Kastles are gearing up for their 10th anniversary season and are gearing up for another star-studded lineup.

“It’s going to be a huge year for us. We’re going to really celebrate this milestone year. Everyone wants to come back and play for us again. The Bryan brothers are anxious to come back. I think there’s a very good chance either Venus and Serena will come back, if not both.”

If the past seasons are any indication, the Kastles will have the lineup to add to their championship trophies from 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. Nick Kyrgios was another big addition to the team in the latter part of the season, and Mark also expects Leander Paes and Martina Hingis to return.

Naturally, Mark was torn when asked who he thought would take home the title. Indicative of his admiration and friendship with both Williams sisters, he cited a similar situation where their father evaded the question.

“I once saw a documentary where Richard Williams was asked who was going to be better, and he sort of dodged the question.”

Like the rest of us, Mark is intent on watching the match in the wee hours of the morning. Whatever the outcome, Mark is extremely proud that he will get to see two of his own players face off on the biggest stage in the tennis world once again.

“It’s a hard one. If you just look at it on paper you’d think its Serena. But Venus is playing great and she beat Serena two years ago in Canada. If she’s playing her game and she is in good health, she has a shot. I’m going to be a fan like anyone else, set my alarm, wake up, and enjoy the match.”

 

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TFP 044: Mindfulness-Based Tennis Psychology with Neil Endicott

TFP 044: Mindfulness-Based Tennis Psychology with Neil Endicott

On today’s episode I had the pleasure of speaking with Neil Endicott, a coach and author who specializes in Mindfulness-Based Tennis Psychology (MBTP). Neil discussed how tennis players can play more confident and effective tennis by training the mental part of their game through MBTP.

Neil has written numerous articles that have been featured in publications such as The Huffington Post and Tennis Magazine. Even Novak Djokovic has talked about how mindfulness helped him reach new heights in his career in his book Serve to Win. If one of the greats in the game believes in training yourself to be more mindful, it’s worth a try.

We discuss human psychology, how players can change their mindset through MBTP, meditation, and how we can train ourselves to perform our best by being in the moment and recognizing negative thoughts for what they are: thoughts and nothing more.

I know a lot of you struggle with pressure and negative emotions on the court. This episode will help you on your journey to overcoming these mental obstacles. I hope you enjoy this fantastic episode on mindfulness with Neil.

Time-Stamped Show Notes

  • [4:43] How did you end up becoming an expert on the mental side of tennis?
  • [10:29] Were there any particular books or courses that you read which laid the foundation for your philosophy about the mental game?
  • [14:17] If you could give your 16-year old self advice, what would you say?
  • [15:55] What pros use mindful meditation to help their tennis games?
  • [20:52] More relaxed versus fiery players and how both can use mindfulness based tennis psychology to excel on the court they should mentally approach tennis matches
  • [24:19] How Mindfulness Based Tennis Psychology is structured to help tennis players
  • [28:35] Here’s a scenario: I get an easy sitter on a crucial break point, and blast the ball long. I immediately get a negative thought about what just happened. What should I do?
  • [32:28] Mistakes are a part of tennis.
  • [33:56] Why we tend to battle against ourselves in our minds and what to do about it
  • [38:43] What is a basic meditation that we can start with that will help us be more mindful?
  • [42:06] How long should we meditate for?
    • When is the optimal time to meditate; in the morning, before a match, or after a match?
  • [45:22] How long does it normally take before we will see results from MBTP?
  • [47:43] Mindfulness doesn’t necessarily mean hard work
  • [50:22] When we play against players that are ranked higher than us, there is often an innate feeling that we are supposed to lose/cannot win. How can we overcome these thoughts?
  • [55:08] One key to improve our tennis games
  • [57:43] Mindfulness Based Tennis Psychology can help you excel in other parts of your life as well

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Links Mentioned in the Show

tennismentalskills.com

Djokovic’s New Tennis Psychology – Neil’s article on Novak Djokovic and MBTP

Serve to Win – Novak Djokovic’s book

Note: The link to Novak Djokovic’s book is an affiliate link, so if you make a purchase after clicking, I make 78.5 million dollars a small commission that helps support the podcast. Thanks either way! 🙂

If you enjoyed my interview with Neil, subscribe to The Tennis Files Podcast in iTunes or your favorite podcast app!

For more tips on how to improve your game, download a free copy of my eBook, The Building Blocks of Tennis Success eBook below! Thanks for listening!

 

TFP 043: How to Run a Successful Tennis Program with Matt Bilger

TFP 043: How to Run a Successful Tennis Program with Matt Bilger

On today’s show I had the pleasure of speaking with Matt Bilger, Director of Tennis at Chantilly National Golf and Country Club. Matt was my former assistant coach at The University of Maryland, Baltimore County where I played Division I college tennis. He always kept our team positive and ready to handle adversity. Matt brings the same expertise and energy to the court with his current players, and it was my pleasure to interview Matt on the podcast.

Matt and I discussed his passion for the game and tips for running a successful tennis program. Matt talks about his approach for teaching club level players, how he structures the program, and common mistakes that he fixes in his students’ games.

It was awesome to speak with Matt and I appreciate the enthusiasm and effort that he brings to every lesson and clinic he teaches. Enjoy the episode and let me know what you think in the comments below!

Time-Stamped Show Notes

  • [4:15] Matt journey from a late start in tennis to Director at a country club
  • [5:58] How Matt’s mentor influenced his passion for tennis
  • [7:22] At what age did Matt start playing competitive tennis?
  • [8:43] Advice for aspiring Directors of a tennis/country club
  • [12:18] How Matt overcame the lowest point in his career
  • [14:17] What are three things the world doesn’t know about Matt Bilger?
  • [15:57] Three of the biggest mistakes that Matt sees club players make
  • [17:28] The structure of tennis programs at Chantilly National.
  • [19:02] How Matt gets more players to be engaged and participate in your programs, particularly with social media
  • [20:32] How to fix technical issues in club players
  • [22:03] How to approach teaching beginner tennis players
  • [24:10] Matt’s affable personality; was it always this way?
  • [25:30] How to maintain motivation teaching long hours
  • [27:04] What are 3 tips to improve our serves?
  • [29:19] How Matt incorporates fitness into his clinics
  • [31:15] Some of Matt’s favorite tennis drills
  • [33:10] Favorite tennis books?
  • [34:08] The best advice Matt’s ever been given about tennis
  • [35:23] One key tip to help tennis players improve their game
  • [36:22] Where we can follow Matt online and on social media

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Links Mentioned in the Show

TPF 002: Focus on the Process with Keith Puryear 

Winning Ugly – Brad Gilbert

Agassi’s Book – Open

Pete Sampras – A Champion’s Mind: Lessons From a Life in Tennis

Note: Some of the links above are affiliate links, so if you make a purchase after clicking, I make 800 million dollars a small commission that helps support the podcast. Thanks either way! 🙂

If you enjoyed my interview with Matt, subscribe to The Tennis Files Podcast in iTunes or your favorite podcast app!

For more tips on how to improve your game, download a free copy of my eBook, The Building Blocks of Tennis Success eBook below! Thanks for listening!

2 TFP 042: How Clay Thompson Changed His Perspective and Saved His Tennis Career

TFP 042: How Clay Thompson Changed His Perspective and Saved His Tennis Career

On today’s episode I spoke with professional tennis player Clay Thompson, a serious contender for most interesting man in the world (move over, Dos Equis guy!). Clay grinds mostly Challengers and some Futures events as he pursues his dream of becoming a top-ranked professional tennis player.

Clay has been ranked as high as 408 in the world (last year) and is famous for a viral video of him smiling and fist-pumping his way to the semifinals of the Champaign Challenger last year. His high-energy and carefree approach is what makes Clay such an entertaining and enjoyable player to watch.

Even more impressive is Clay’s business acumen and his outside interests, which include creative writing and helping grow the game of tennis.

If you dare press the play button above, you are in for two of the most entertaining and insightful hours of audio that I have produced on The Tennis Files Podcast so far. And it only took me 42 episodes to crack a decent joke or ten on the show!

Thanks again to Clay for coming onto the podcast and showing us how we can improve our tennis games with a more positive mindset and an attitude of gratitude for the game we love.

Time-Stamped Show Notes

Beginnings

  • [2:00] Clay’s first memory of playing tennis
  • [3:09] Playing other sports and how he decided on pursuing tennis
  • [4:33] Clay’s tennis idols growing up
  • [6:55] Clay on the importance of personality in tennis
  • [8:30] What are 3 things most of the world doesn’t know about Clay Thompson
    • Creative writing, screen writing, business ventures, alternative medicine
  • [12:41] Favorite video games: Final Fantasy, League of Legends, Counterstrike

Junior Career

  • [14:42] The first tournament Clay played as a young kid
  • [15:55] What it felt like to win his first tournament
  • [17:57] The highest ranking Clay reached as a junior player
  • [23:13] Going toe to toe with Jack Sock in the Juniors
  • [26:50] Technical changes in the juniors.
  • [30:14] 

    Unique

     stroke techniques – Gulbis, McEnroe

Transition to College Tennis

  • [31:27] A pivotal moment for Clay in 2012 in the All-American Championships that helped change his perspective on the game and save his career
  • [38:24] The type of yoga Clay practices and how it helps Clay’s tennis
  • [41:01] The most influential person in UCLA Tennis that helped grow his game and character.
  • [44:29] A point away from winning the NCAA Championship match to UVA
  • [47:51] Clay’s impressions about Mackenzie McDonald, a fellow UCLA Bruin and teammate, on his prospects on the pro tour?

Pro Tour 

  • [50:33] What is the hardest part about being a professional tennis player?
    • Being like a CEO and managing your finances.
  • [53:18] Dealing with no job security in tennis
  • [57:38] Solutions for the financial black hole for professional tennis players
  • [59:58] A normal day of training when Clay isn’t playing a tournament?
  • [1:03:49] Typical workout day for Clay
  • [1:06:07] Differences between working out for tennis and other sports
  • [1:08:29] Shake-weight training for tennis! (just a joke 🙂 )
  • [1:09:12] His experience reaching the semis at the Champaign Challenger last year
  • [1:11:24] Plan to have an awesome year and executing on it with great results
  • [1:14:27] How to plan financially as a professional tennis player; documenting expenses and your budget
  • [1:17:13] The importance of mind maps and Mind Meister (tennisfiles.com/mindmap)
  • [1:18:39] The need for more business courses to teach professional players to manage their finances
  • [1:19:04] The benefits of forming a company (i.e. LLC) as a pro
  • [1:20:58] A fine example of a terribly-executed Chappelle-show joke
  • [1:21:57] The key to succeeding on the pro tour
  • [1:26:00] Clay’s worst experience at a Challengers/Futures Event (hint: it involves food poisoning!)
  • [1:28:52] How Clay feels being a combination of Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe in one body
  • [1:29:35] What the camaraderie is like on the pro tour
  • [1:32:59] The importance of having a strong team
  • [1:34:01] Clay’s favorite meal after a match
  • [1:35:59] Cooking on the road
  • [1:36:54] Clay’s not the only one with a personal chef!
  • [1:37:54] Training at the USTA National Facility
  • [1:41:43] Traveling on the pro tour
  • [1:43:16] Clay Thompson is not Klay Thompson
  • [1:44:25] The key to having a huge serve like Clay
  • [1:46:37] Clay’s long-term goal in the sport
  • [1:49:10] The need for marketing tennis more effectively to help it flourish
  • [1:53:43] Three of Clay’s favorite tennis books
  • [1:57:27] Where can we follow Clay online?
  • [1:59:00] One key piece of advice on how we can improve our tennis games
    • Structure your training in a way that keeps you happy and motivated to get better
    • Go from “have to” to “want to.”

Subscribe to automatically download new episodes!

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Subscribe on Android

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Links Mentioned in the Show

TFP 035: Martin Blackman

TFP 033: Dr. Mark Kovacs

Agassi’s Book – Open

Zen Tennis

Inner Game of Tennis

Winning Ugly 

Clay’s Twitter Page (@ClarenceAThomp)

Note: Some of the links above are affiliate links, so if you make a purchase after clicking, I make 6 million dollars a small commission that helps support the podcast. Thanks either way! 🙂

If you enjoyed my interview with Clay, subscribe to The Tennis Files Podcast in iTunes or your favorite podcast app!

For more tips on how to improve your game, download a free copy of my eBook, The Building Blocks of Tennis Success eBook below! Thanks for listening!