Category Archives for "Tools"

TFP 038: How to Choose a Racquet with Wilson Sales Manager Preston Lemon

TFP 038: How to Choose a Racquet with Wilson Sales Manager Preston Lemon

On today’s episode, I had the pleasure of speaking with Preston Lemon, a Territory Sales Manager for Wilson Sporting Goods Co. in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Preston, a former college tennis player at Virginia Tech, joined me on the podcast to give you some fantastic tips on how to choose the best tennis racquet for your game.

Afterwards, we examined 6 of Wilson’s newest racquets on the market: the Blade 18×20 Countervail, Blade 16×19 Countervail, Blade 98S (Spin) Countervail, Pro Staff 97, Pro Staff RF 97 Autograph, and the Ultra 100.

Preston and I spoke about each racquet’s specs and then discussed our experiences playing with them. Preston was kind enough to send me the six racquets above to playtest, and I have really enjoyed hitting with Wilson’s latest sticks.

In addition to the racquets, Preston also sent me several packets of Luxilon 4g string 125mm and Wilson Revolve 16g strings.  We gave our thoughts on the 4g and Revolve as well.

I really appreciate Preston coming onto the show, and for sending me the latest Wilson racquets and strings to playtest.  Preston has been a pleasure to work with, and I can only hope that the majority of racquet reps are as good as he is at what he does!

Tune in to Episode 38 of The Tennis Files Podcast to enhance your knowledge about racquets and find out which one of them is our hands down favorite!  This episode will help you learn how to choose the best racquet for your game, and whether one of Wilson’s racquets may be right for you.

Here’s a short video of me hitting with the 18×20 Blade:

Time-Stamped Show Notes

  • [2:49] How Preston became a Sales Manager for Wilson
  • [4:49] What Preston loves the most about being a Wilson Rep
  • [5:59] Three things most of the world doesn’t know about Preston
  • [8:03] How should players approach choosing the right racquet for their game?
  • [9:53] Ideal racquets based on your style of play (baseliners, serve-and-volleyers, etc.)
  • [12:16] What does flex mean in a tennis racquet?
  • [14:07] The impact of weight in a tennis racquet
  • [14:38] Should beginners use a bigger head size?
  • [16:00] Heady-heavy vs head light racquets
  • [17:53] How much do strings affect the playability of a racquet?
  • [19:50] Blade 18×20 Countervail review
  • [24:02] How does the new Blade compare with the older version?
  • [24:37] Countervail technology in the new Blade racquets
  • [26:21] Blade 16×19 Countervail review
  • [29:10] Blade 98S (Spin) Countervail review
  • [32:49] Pro Staff 97 review
  • [38:25] Pro Staff RF 97 Autograph review
  • [42:58] Ultra 100 review
  • [46:44] Other racquets in Wilson’s lineup
  • [48:24] A funny story about receiving the racquets
  • [49:13] Wilson’s relationship with Luxilon
  • [49:55] Luxilon 4g string 125mm review
  • [53:56] Wilson Revolve 16g string review
  • [55:49] Resources to enhance your knowledge about racquets and strings
  • [57:20] One key tip to help you improve your tennis game
  • [58:43] Where can we follow Wilson’s products

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Links Mentioned in the Show

Blade 18×20 Countervail

Blade 16×19 Countervail 

Blade 98S (Spin) Countervail

Pro Staff 97

Pro Staff RF 97 Autograph

Ultra 100

Luxilon 4g string 125mm

Wilson Revolve 16g string

Wilson Homepage

Wilson’s Twitter (@wilsontennis), Instagram, and Facebook pages

Note: Several of the links above are affiliate links, so if you make a purchase after clicking, I make a small commission. Thanks either way!

If you enjoyed my interview about racquets with Preston, 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!

A Guide to Formulating Optimal Match Strategy Picture

How to Formulate a Winning Game Plan

CLICK HERE to download my free strategy guide.

Most tennis players underestimate the importance of strategy and preparation. But the deeper you think about your game, your opponent’s game, and how you can exploit your opponent, the more optimally you will perform. And having a game plan helps prevent many of our biggest mental distractions, from getting nervous to a lack of concentration.

Why Do You Need a Game Plan?

Think of yourself as a general leading your troops (your tennis game) into battle.  A general prepares its army by thinking about its own capabilities and all information about its adversary. Every single detail is analyzed before the battle begins.

Similarly, you must consider your game, your opponent’s game, the conditions, and then formulate a winning strategy based on that information to give yourself the best chance of winning your match.

When you have a game plan in place, it serves as your roadmap to success. You can play your match with one simple objective: to execute the strategies in your game plan. I will go into detail about the numerous advantages of having a game plan in the next section.

If you are still skeptical, I encourage you to read Brad Gilbert’s insightful book, “Winning Ugly” (affiliate link). Gilbert had what many considered “ugly” strokes, but he maximized his capabilities (and his bank account: $5.5 million in prize money) by thinking his way through matches and executing superior strategy to defeat his opponents. Gilbert reached #4 in the world and has coached several grand slam champions, including Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, and Andy Murray (if your first name starts with “And” and you are a top tennis player, Brad is coming for you!).Gilbert takes his readers through his thought processes while preparing for big matches, including wins over Boris Becker and John McEnroe. Gilbert’s pre-match considerations of how to play his opponents was the key reason for his victories. Gilbert would not have stood a chance against his more talented and athletic opponents without formulating and executing the optimal game plan against them.

Some of you may be thinking, “Well, this sounds great and all, but I won’t know who my opponent will be, so a game plan is pointless.” While your contention deserves a soft, slow clap at best, you must still prepare for matches by considering your game, what you do best, your weaknesses, and then apply a strategy that will optimize your capabilities.

You Will Win More Matches with a Game Plan

Answer this question: How many matches have you lost that hinged on one break of serve or were decided by a tiebreaker?

You’ve probably replayed the crucial points in your head countless times, wishing you had played them differently. Maybe you should have hit the approach to the backhand or played more aggressively on the key points.  I bet you could live with some of these losses easier if you had tried to execute the optimal strategy.

Strategy is especially crucial when two players are evenly matched. When this is the case, the player who executes the superior strategy will win.  A one or two point swing is all you need to win these matches. And a well-thought out game plan will make a huge impact in your match results.

If you haven’t been formulating a game plan before matches, I don’t blame you. I used to be that guy who heard he had a match and just showed up, 30 minutes removed from a pleasant nap. However, I realize how huge of a difference it can make to analyze your game, your opponent’s game, and formulate a strategy based on that knowledge to help you win.

Now that you know the importance of a game plan, let’s examine the specific advantages of having one.

Advantages of a Game Plan

1. Helps you play under pressure

Do you get nervous during crucial points in your matches? That’s because your mind isn’t focused on strategy, but instead on winning and losing. You need a game plan to fall back on to prevent this from happening. If you know what you need to do to win points, and you focus on executing your strategy, you will block the results-oriented thinking that causes you to get nervous. I have interviewed several top coaches, players, and performance coaches on The Tennis Files Podcast, may of whom suggest that focusing on the process is the key to optimal performance, especially in high-pressure situations.

2. Helps you stay focused

Having a game plan keeps you mentally engaged in matches. Many of you have emailed me and said that your number one issue is they have trouble focusing during matches. My response has always been that if you formulate a game plan with strategies and point patterns that you can use during a match, then it will be a lot easier to stay focused. It doesn’t matter whether you are down 0-5 or up 5-0.  Concentrate on sticking to the strategy that got you to 5-0 and keep using it until the match is over. If you are down 0-5, keep fighting and consider whether you are losing because you aren’t executing your strategy, or if you need to adjust your strategy based on what has happened in the match.

3. Helps you start the match off strong

If you know the point patterns, strategies, and tendencies that you can take advantage of during the match, you can start using them immediately. This is the direct opposite of how most players start off “feeling out the match.” Playing without a game plan will often result in a slow start. Making a comeback from way down is difficult and a royal pain in the rear. Why not have a game plan in place and use it to dismantle your opponent from the beginning? 10 minutes of planning is much easier that spending 40 minutes grinding your way back down two breaks of serve.

4. Helps you feel in control of the match

If you play a match with no game plan, you might feel lost or uncertain on what to do. This will negatively affect your performance. It is like running through a forest with a blindfold. All you are doing is reacting to the play of your opponent. If you have a plan of attack in place that you can execute, you will be comfortable and in control of your play because you know that you need to do X, Y, and Z to be successful. A game plan will make you feel confident about your game and provide you with a direction to follow during the match.

5. Helps you become a smarter player

As you practice analyzing your game, your opponents’ games, and formulating successful strategies, you will become a more intelligent tennis player. And you will become better at dealing with all sorts of different players. Your mind will be engaged, your problem solving skills will improve, and you’ll keep adding strategies and point patterns to your repertoire. Who the heck wouldn’t want this to happen to themselves? Keep formulating game plans and you will become a smarter tennis player.

CLICK HERE to download my free strategy guide.

When Should I Formulate a Game Plan?

You should formulate your game plan as early as possible so that you can practice implementing it before you play your match.  Tournament draws usually are released several days before the first round matches, so you’d have time to practice your game plan. For those who play league matches, you often don’t know who you are playing until a couple minutes beforehand.

In the latter case, you should still think about how you can play the match in a way that takes advantage of your strengths and masks your weaknesses. Then, as soon as you find out who your opponent is, you can start to think about strategies and point patterns you can use to exploit his or her game.

If you have time, you should definitely write down your game plan. Writing down my game plan helps me remember what I need to do much easier than just thinking about it.

You can even go the extra mile and store notes of players on your computer. This may sound hardcore, but it will help you later down the road when you have to play the same player again. I highly recommend you download my free guide on how to formulate winning game plans, so that you can create and keep records of each player you face on your computer.

If you don’t have time to write out your strategies, use your time while driving to the match to think about how you should play against your opponent.

When I played a kid in Texas at a national open many years ago, he had a piece of paper with notes on it that he would read during changeovers. I remember questioning the kid, thinking he had done something wrong by having secret notes on me. But he prepared for the match well and it paid off. He had a written game plan in place, executed it well, and won the match.

How do I Formulate a Game Plan?

The key to formulating an optimal game plan is to ask yourself a series of questions about your game and your opponent’s game. Even if you don’t know who you are playing, you can still think through how you can set up points to favor your strengths and minimize exposing your weaknesses.

1. Answer The Following Questions About Your Game

    • What are my strengths?
    • What are my weaknesses?
    • How do I win most of my points during matches?
    • What is my biggest weapon on the court and how can I use it the most?
    • What shots do I hate hitting the most?
    • What style of play am I most comfortable with?

2. Answer these Questions About Your Opponent 

    • What do you know about this player?
    • What are this player’s strengths?
    • What are this player’s weaknesses?
    • If you have played this player before, what made you successful against him/her?
    • How was this player successful against you?
    • Is my opponent a mentally tough player?
    • What shots bother or annoy my opponent?
    • What style of play does your opponent primarily use (i.e. baseliner, serve/volley)

You may have heard people advise you to “not look at the draw.” This is not entirely optimal. Sure, you shouldn’t look at the draw to predict who you are going to play in future rounds. You have to focus on one opponent at a time.

But one reason that people advise to not look at the draw is so you don’t get psyched out by who you are playing. I don’t think this is good advice. To debunk this claim: if you are going to get psyched out about your opponent, wouldn’t it be even worse to find out right before you are about to play him or her as opposed to beforehand?

If you know who you are going to play, and you have played that person before, seen them play, or gotten advice from a coach or friend on your opponent, you should ask yourself several questions.

3. Formulate Your Game Plan

Once you ask yourself the questions above, it is time to formulate a plan based on your answers. There are a couple main things you have to focus on when formulating your strategy

    • How can I use my strengths to exploit my opponent’s weaknesses?
    • How can I minimize my opponent’s ability to exploit my weaknesses?
    • What point patterns can I use to win a lot of points?
    • What point patterns will frustrate my opponent the most?

An Example of How to Formulate a Game-Plan

Here’s an abbreviated example of how I used a pre-match game plan to effectively dismantle an opponent.

At a US Open Sectional Qualifying tournament in New Jersey, I decided to research my first round opponent. My friend suggested that we check if my opponent had any videos of himself playing on Youtube. We found a video of my opponent, and learned that he rarely attacked serves and would often block back his backhand return.

I also knew that my forehand is my strength, I am an aggressive baseliner, and I prefer not to hit as many backhands. Based on this information, I knew that I could go for more of my first serves and throw in serve and volleys to his backhand. I also knew that if we got into a backhand rally, I could hit a safe topspin or slice backhand down the line to get the point back to hitting my forehand. My game plan was to hit as many forehands as possible (my strength) to his backhand until I got a short ball which I could attack, preferably to his weaker backhand.

Since I had a game plan, I felt a lot more comfortable about what I needed to do against my opponent. I started the match off strong and won much more handily than I would have without considering this information and formulating strategies to take advantage of it.  Without the game plan, I would have been more nervous, have had to take a few games to discover my opponent’s tendencies, and had no direction as far as what I should be doing in the match to maximize my strengths against my opponent’s weaknesses.

Final Thoughts

The pre-match game plan is one of the most underutilized and overlooked advantages that a tennis player can use to win tennis matches. The smarter, more strategic tennis player will win far more often than the one who shows up to the court without a roadmap for success. I encourage you to ask yourself the questions above and then think of how you should play points to give you the best chance to succeed.  Thinking about what to do before each match is well worth your time and effort.  Think like a general, and your game will salute you no matter what the result is in the end.

Download a free copy of my guide on How to Formulate Optimal Match Strategy by filling out the short form below!

TFP 032: 10 Tools to Become a Better Tennis Player

TFP 032: 10 Tools to Become a Better Tennis Player

Today I discuss 10 of my favorite tennis tools that I regularly use and recommend. These tools will help you improve your tennis game in many different ways, from learning more about the game to finding hitting partners. I recently published a blog post on The 41 Best Tennis Resources Every Tennis Player Should Know, and wanted to talk about the ones I use the most. These are the resources that I think will take your game to the next level.

On this episode, you will learn about the following resources:

  • Tennis Books
  • Search Tools to find players, coaches, and tennis courts
  • Online Tennis Instructors
  • Youtube
  • Online Forums
  • Facebook Groups
  • USTA
  • Podcasts
  • Blogs, and
  • Organizational Tools

I hope you find the resources in this episode useful! Try using them and let me know what you think!

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Links Mentioned in This Episode

The 41 Best Tennis Resources Every Player Should Know – Just about every tennis tool mentioned in Episode 32 are in this companion blog post!

The Building Blocks of Tennis Success

Othmane Garma Interview

Treat Huey Interview

Tomaz Mencinger Interview

Jeff Salzenstein Interview

Interview with Allistair McCaw

Interview with Dave Mullins

For more valuable tennis advice and tips on how to improve your tennis game, download a copy of my free eBook, The Building Blocks of Tennis Success, by filling out the short form below!

18 Best Tennis Resources

The 41 Best Tennis Resources Every Player Should Know

Have you ever googled the term “tennis resources” or some variation, and clicked on the first few results? I did, and I didn’t quite find what I was looking for. That’s why I put together this comprehensive compilation of the best tennis resources that will help you improve your game. As the old saying goes: “If you can’t find it, build it!”

The 41 Best Tennis Resources

Tennis Books

1. The Inner Game of Tennis 

This is the most widely read tennis book known to man, and the most recommended read by my podcast guests to our audience. The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey shows us how we can use our mind effectively to perform our best on the court, especially in high-pressure situations. The Inner Game of Tennis is a timeless classic. If you are having trouble overcoming mental obstacles and want to know how to play tennis with a clear mind, you need to read this book!

2. Winning Ugly

Brad Gilbert, a former world #4 and coach of Andre Agassi, takes you into the mind of one of the most strategic and resourceful players ever to play tennis. Although he never had the most elegant strokes or big weapons, he used his mind to “win ugly” and defeat tennis legends, like Bjorn Borg and Jimmy Connors. You will learn how to assess opponents, formulate a winning game plan, and give yourself the best chance of winning. There’s a ton of awesome, high-value content from Brad that will help improve your game.

3. Doubles Tactics

An in-depth analysis of doubles strategy to help you play the best strategic doubles matches of your life. Louis Cayer has captained the Canadian and Britain’s Davis and Fed Cup teams and has worked with 6 number 1 players and 24 top 50 ATP, including #1 doubles player Jamie Murray this year. Othmane Garma, coach of ATP doubles world #18 Treat Huey (who I both interviewed on The Tennis Files Podcast), told me that Louis Cayer has been instrumental in teaching him world class doubles play. If you want to learn winning doubles formations and strategies, I highly recommend this book.

4. The Building Blocks of Tennis Success

Yes, I am the author of this (e)book 🙂 I highly recommend you download a free copy of The Building Blocks of Tennis Success because it will teach you how to maximize your tennis potential. My ebook covers goal setting, training smart, technique, mental fortitude, competing, health and fitness, and other important aspects of tennis. Best of all, it is free, and you can get it here.

5. The One Thing 

This book, while not tennis-specific, will help you focus on what you need to do to reach your ultimate tennis and life goals. Instead of trying to accomplish a million things at a time, Gary and Jay show us the importance of concentrating on the big picture goals. Instead of just crossing things off the list, we need to accomplish the things that further our long-term objectives. These principles apply to tennis, and this book is a fantastic read that can be a huge game changer for your tennis. Do you want to improve the quality of your tennis game and your life? If yes, then I highly recommend you check out this book!

Find Tennis Partners Coaches Courts

6. Tennis Round

Tennis Round makes it easy to find hitting partners by skill level near your area. You can search TR’s player database according to their NTRP rating and send and receive text messages and emails for free to connect with other players. Other features on Tennis Round include reporting your scores, accumulating points, and viewing results of other players on the site. I have been contacted and reached out to players with Tennis Round with great results. Sometimes I’m a little hesitant when the player doesn’t have much of a profile and just a first name, so proceed at your own risk and meet at a public place (perhaps a tennis court will do! 🙂 ). Definitely worth a look!

7. Global Tennis Network

GTN helps you connect with other tennis players, and even lets you search tennis courts around your area! You can find tennis leagues, ladders, and tournaments on the Global Tennis Network as well. GTM is another neat tool that you should check out if you want to find tennis partners over the internet.

8. PlayTennis 

With PlayTennis, you can find a tennis partner by zip code. I tested this one out and noticed a couple players that I know on the search results list. Another decent resource for finding a hitting partner. On top of that, you can also find coaches, courts, programs (clinics), and even tennis stores at PlayTennis. To contact players, you need to sign up, which is free.

9. Tennisopolis

Check out this massive network of over 51,000 tennis players around the globe! You can sign up and join its network for free to view the profiles of other members. From there, I think you’d be able to find a couple hitting partners! There are also over 750 tennis partner groups on Tennisopolis! For example, the VA/DC group on its homepage has 866 members! Hopefully one of the tennis partner groups is local to you. Join in on the fun and find a tennis partner at Tennisopolis!

10. Tennis Maps

Plug in your address or zip code, and Tennis Maps will spit out a map with a ton of flags and other icons indicating tennis courts near your area! Click the flag and then “more info” for a detailed map of the tennis court. It even tells you whether the courts are lighted, have a backboard, are public or private, how many courts there are, if they have a tennis pro, and more! A very helpful resource indeed!

11. Pulse Play 

A new tennis smartwatch and app co-founded by multiple grand slam champion Andy Ram. I interviewed Andy on Episode 27 of The Tennis Files Podcast about his career and the features of Pulse Play. One awesome aspect of PulsePlay is the ability to find playing partners. Once you create an account (free!), you can search for players. The experience is a lot cooler and more seamless with the Pulse Play smartwatch (enter code TENNISFILES for an exclusive 15% off discount! – Note: this is an affiliate link), but I’d definitely also listen to the podcast episode and check out the app/information beforehand to make an informed decision. I love technology!

Tennis Courses

12. Feel Tennis Instruction

Tomaz from Feel Tennis Instruction emphasizes using your body’s natural mechanics to play tennis more efficiently. His philosophy makes sense and appeals to those who want to feel more relaxed and biomechanically sound on the tennis court. I interviewed Tomaz on Episode 6 of The Tennis Files Podcast, which you should definitely check out! He also has a fantastic online course called Serve Unlocked that will help you improve your tennis serve.

13. Jeff Salzenstein

Jeff is a former Top 100 ATP pro who produces tons of awesome courses on all aspects of tennis, from technique to fitness and the mental game. I have checked out several of his videos and courses and benefitted from them. A couple of my favorite tips from Jeff are “elbow the enemy” and “the buggy whip forehand.” Definitely consider checking out his courses! I also recommend that you listen to my interview with Jeff on Episode 28 of The Tennis Files Podcast to get a better idea of what he is about and how knowledgeable he is about tennis.

14. Fuzzy Yellow Balls

Will Hamilton has put together a bunch of fantastic instructional videos that breaks down stroke mechanics in an easy to understand fashion. He also happens to live around my neighborhood! Will is another high-level instructor with tons of free and purchasable instructional videos that will help you improve your game.

15. Essential Tennis Instruction

Ian Westermann is another top-level online course creator. He has a ton of well-produced and helpful videos (not to mention some hilarious ones as well!) that will help your tennis game. He has expanded recently to include more coaches on his staff and has a pretty cool studio where he produces many of his videos, which is impressive. Ian, like me, also has a podcast devoted to helping players improve their tennis game, although it hasn’t been updated as frequently lately.

16. Online Tennis Instruction

Florian Meier does an excellent job of breaking down strokes and explaining technical concepts. He has a ton of free videos online, everything from getting a more biting backhand slice, to serve and volley footwork and toss fundamentals. Florian is another top-level online instructor providing a ton of value that I highly recommend you check out.

17. Jeff Rothschild 

Jeff is a registered dietician, NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with a Master’s degree in Nutritional Science. He has a website at eatsleep.fit with a ton of awesome advice about tennis nutrition. Jeff’s clients include Mike Bryan, Stefan Kozlov, James Valentine from Maroon 5, and other elite ATP and NCAA tennis players. He has also worked with endurance athletes, boxers, swimmers, and a number of touring musicians at TriFit in Santa Monica, CA. One of my most downloaded podcast episodes was my interview with Jeff on Episode 14 of The Tennis Files Podcast. I recommend you check out Jeff’s eBook and Jeff’s Nutrition course.  Both of them will show you how to properly feed your body to play the best tennis possible. If you click through this link that Jeff set up for my audience, you will receive over 50% off his nutrition course!

Tennis Podcasts

18. The Tennis Files Podcast 

I certainly would like you to listen to this one! 🙂 I have a weekly tennis podcast devoted to helping you improve your tennis game. I interview professional tennis players, coaches, and other tennis minds to help you become a better player. And when no one feels like talking to me, I host solo episodes discussing everything from technical tips, to mental strategies and awesome resources, based on over two decades of playing the game at a national, Division I college tennis, and current 5.0 and Open level. I really enjoy producing the show, and consider it a great privilege to speak about tennis to all of you. I can’t thank my audience enough for all the amazing emails, reviews, and suggestions. Your kind words and support keep me motivated to produce the best content I can! I’d really appreciate it if you’d subscribe to the show and write a review! Thanks for listening!!

19. Essential Tennis Podcast 

Ian has over 240 episodes containing expert advice on all aspects of tennis. I am a strong proponent of immersing yourself in tennis to keep focused on improving your game, and Ian’s podcasts are a great way of doing this on the go. His episodes are solo format and usually under 20 minutes, which is great for those who like shorter podcasts

20. Tennis Quick Tips 

Kim Selzman does a great job of providing tennis tips in short podcast episodes to help amateurs improve their tennis game. Kudos to Kim for producing over 140 episodes of quality content! She has a very endearing and upbeat attitude on her shows, and it is a pleasure to listen to her tennis advice!

21. Tennis Psychology Podcast 

Host Dr. Patrick Cohn focuses on perhaps the most important part of tennis: the mental game. The majority of his episodes are 5 minutes or less and provide excellent tips on keeping your composure, staying focused, and competing effectively. Like Ian’s podcast, this one hasn’t been updated as frequently lately, but hopefully that will change soon. Still, there are a ton of episodes available in the archive that will help your mental game.

22. The Adam Blicher Show 

Adam has another fantastic podcast centered around interviewing professional tennis players and coaches to help players improve their game. Adam is a high-performance coach and I have been impressed by his interviews and awesome social media posts on Facebook. He’s consistently brought excellent coaches onto his show and I’ve definitely enjoyed the value they’ve provided to Adam’s listeners.

Where to Buy Tennis Gear

23. Tennis Express

Tennis Express is one of the best online tennis shop out there. They have great prices on tennis racquets and gear, and free shipping depending on how much you buy (at the publishing of this post, it says free shipping on everything, which is awesome!). I’ve always been pleased with my purchases from TE. You should definitely check out Tennis Express if you want to purchase anything tennis-related.

24. Tennis Warehouse 

Tennis Warehouse is one of the giants of tennis gear and equipment. They have fantastic prices, free 2-day shipping over $75, and great staff/customer reviews on racquets, shoes, and other products. They also have a great racquet demo program ($20/week for up to 4 racquets). I’ve bought a ton of stuff from TW and their customer service is also top notch. Nuff said.

25. Holabird Sports

Local to Maryland is another online tennis kingpin in Holabird Sports. They offer a great selection of racquets, shoes, strings, and everything in between. Holabird gives you free shipping over $25, so it may be a better option when you want to order less gear. The third of what I consider the big three in the online tennis gear world.

There are certainly some other great online tennis shops (Midwest Sports comes to mind) so feel free to google search products to your heart’s content if you have a ton of time. Otherwise, just stick to the three above and you will be more than pleased with your options.

26. Your Local Tennis Shop 

There are thousands of these, so I don’t have names for you. But local shops are valuable for the expertise that the store owner and staff can give to you. You can ask questions in person, physically feel and try certain products, and enjoy speaking with human beings about tennis face-to-face. If you prefer this vibe and enjoy supporting your local businesses, then local tennis shops are a great option to get your tennis gear!

Tennis Forums

27. Talk Tennis Warehouse

I really like the TW forums because of the passionate members, the well-structured categories, and the helpful posts. There are all sorts of threads from pro tennis and equipment, to the college game and instruction. The forum is very active, which makes for a constant flow of information and sometimes valuable content (especially in the tennis tips/instruction thread). TW is my preferred forum, even if they are a little strict with me creating threads about my content (I only did it once 🙂 ).

28. Reddit Tennis 

The Reddit tennis forum can be helpful and interesting at times, and make you feel like the most hated person on the internet during others. It seems like the most popular posts on Reddit Tennis are either about the pro game or funny pictures and gifs. Regardless, there are a decent amount of posts geared toward tennis advice and fruitful discussion. Some of the posters are quite knowledgeable and provide fantastic content on the forum (shout out to dropshot!). Reddit Tennis also has its fair share of haters/trolls, but that’s to be expected on just about any forum out there. It isn’t organized like the TW forums, but the posts and questions can be entertaining and deliver great content every now and then.

29. Tennis Forums/Men’s Tennis Forums

If you are a pro tennis junkie, then Tennis Forums (women’s game) and Mens Tennis Forums are for you. They are both frequently updated with discussions about the latest pro tournaments and opinions on the players. Even though these forums are geared toward the pro game, you can pick up tips to help improve your game based on the discussions of the mental/strategic/technical aspects of the pro matches.

30. Facebook/Linkedin Groups 

I know what you’re probably thinking. “Bro, do you even forum?” Yes, yes I do. Facebook has fantastic tennis groups full of passionate players and coaches. I am a member of several of them, including Competitive Tennis Coaches and Tennis Freaks.  On Linkedin, I participate in the Tennis Fans (a group about rotating devices that keep tennis players cool….just kidding!) and Tennis Industry groups. Many of the members offer thought provoking questions and opinions on the game, and as long as people remain respectful, everyone can benefit!

Find Tickets

31. Stubhub

Stubhub is one of the biggest and most well-known brands when it comes to purchasing tickets. When you aren’t buying tickets from the original seller, you want a name you can trust, and Stubhub certainly fits the bill. They also generally have reasonable prices and the fees don’t seem too crazy.

32. VividSeats 

I’ve also used VividSeats to purchase tickets to tennis tournaments and other events. Like Stubhub, many of the tickets you purchase are instantly downloadable which is very convenient. One time I was going to purchase US Open tickets but found out that I had to meet somebody within a couple mile radius of the Open, so make sure it says “instant download” or something to that effect if that’s what you are looking for.

33. Original Seller/Ticketmaster

Often, the original seller (i.e. usopen.org/ticketmaster) will charge the least amount for tickets. This is because the individuals who offer tickets for resale generally want to sell their tickets for a profit (unless they are looking to get rid of them and don’t care about that). It depends so I would check both the original ticket seller and the reseller sites above to find the best deal. One thing to note is the prices from the original seller generally stay fixed, while reseller site prices fluctuate based on the market, weather forecast, and other variables. I noticed that US Open tickets for the second Sunday went down by $40 once news of Hurricane Hermine came out!

34. Groupon/Living Social 

Every once in a while, Groupon/Living Social will have a deal for tennis tickets. I’ve seen it for the Citi Open every once in a while, and its decent. So far, I’ve only seen tickets for tennis tournaments pop up close or during the event, so you probably can’t plan too far ahead. But definitely perform a quick search on discount sites like Groupon and Living Social to see if there are any deals.

35. USTA

The USTA (and other associations) will email you with a ticket deal or discount code every now and then. It is worth checking your email or performing a quick inbox search to see if you’ve received any messages about the tournament you’d like to attend. The USTA has offered a buy one get one free (weekday) and percentage off codes in the past, as have other organizations.

36. Your Company 

If you work for a company (most of us) or an organization, inquire whether they have any sort of deal with the local tournament near you. One place I worked for got free tickets to the Citi Open (Legg Mason at that time) and many times, people who get the tickets at your company can’t even attend. You’d be surprised how many companies purchase box seats at tournaments and get free tickets. One of them might be yours! It never hurts to ask! 🙂

Tennis Blogs37. FeelTennis.net 

In addition to having great online courses, Tomaz regularly puts together value-packed blog posts. A lot of his articles contain a relevant video, and he has a knack for explaining tennis concepts in easy to understand and helpful ways. Definitely worth a read!

38. Tennis Consult 

I have enjoyed reading the blog posts at Tennis Consult. Two of its contributing authors, Allistair McCaw and David Mullins were guests on The Tennis Files Podcast. I’ve read fantastic articles from Allistair, Dave, Todd Widom, Allen Fox, and others on the various facets of tennis. I highly recommend you check out the articles on Tennis Consult.

39. FuzzyYellowBalls.com 

Another of the top online tennis instructors also has a great blog that will help you improve your game. Will also includes guest posts from tennis experts like Feisal Hassan.

40. eatsleep.fit 

I’m a fan of Jeff Rothschild’s unique and expert take on the nutritional and coaching side of tennis. From fighting the heat to preparation during rain delays, Jeff provides us with valuable insights on how we can get the best performance out of our bodies.

41. Tennis Files 

I truly believe that my tennis blog is one of the best out there for the simple reason that I am here to serve you. I always have my audience in mind when creating content, and it makes me really happy to hear how my articles and podcasts have helped your tennis games. There’s nothing I love more than giving out advice and having people play better tennis because of it.

I post an article and a podcast episode every week, and hope that my consistency and quality of my content (despite also having a full-time job, whew!) will benefit your game. Things always come back to you in spades when you give to others, so I don’t mind racking up the good karma 🙂

I hope you found my 41 Best Tennis Resources guide for tennis players helpful! I will keep this post updated with the latest tools and links.

[Note: some of the resources above include affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if your make a purchase after clicking. Either way, thanks for checking them out!]

What’s your favorite tennis resource that has helped improve your tennis game? Tell us your favorite resource/category in the comments section!

And for more value-packed tennis tips, I’d love for you to download a copy of my free eBook, The Building Blocks of Tennis Success, by filling out the short form below!

Mind Map Example

Mind Map Your Tennis Goals

When the New Year rolls around, billions of people will set goals for 2016. Unfortunately, most of them will fail. One important reason why is because they lack a concrete plan of action.

One amazing tool to help you create an effective action plan is a Mind Map.

Mind Maps are customizable flow charts that help you break down your goals into manageable steps.

The beauty of a Mind Map is that it can turn a seemingly monstrous task into a very realistic and achievable one.

There are a lot of things that I want to do, but I often don’t know where to begin.  This is why I love Mind Maps.  They help me break a large task into small steps so that I have a concrete plan of action that I can easily follow. All I have to do is stick to the plan, complete each step, and I will accomplish that task.

Instead of writing your action plan on paper, you can create free Mind Maps on your computer. I prefer Mind Maps because they are visually appealing, easy to make, and you can drag and drop each subpart or step as you please.

Shout out to Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income for introducing me to this idea!

For example, I am currently working to launch The Tennis Files Podcast. When I first thought about creating a podcast, it seemed like there was so much to do that I felt overwhelmed.

But after creating a Mind Map, I feel really confident about my prospects. Take a look:

Mind Map - Tennis Files Podcast Up

With each task broken down into little steps, I can concentrate on completing and checking off each step from my Mind Map. It will be much easier to reach your goals when you have all the steps you need to take written down.

The same applies to your tennis game, or anything else you want to accomplish in life. Whether you want to improve a specific shot, your fitness, finances, career, or qualify for elite tournaments, you increase your chance for success when you create a Mind Map!

Mind Maps are a fantastic free tool for translating your end goal into a manageable step-by-step program. And as you can see from my podcast Mind Map above, you can create Mind Maps for any project or goal that you want to accomplish.

I like to create my Mind Maps at a website called Mind Meister.

Mind Meister lets you create 3 Mind Maps for free! If you need to make more Mind Maps or unlock more features, Mind Meister has paid plans with advanced capabilities, ranging from $6-$15 a month for unlimited Mind Maps.

I highly encourage you to formulate step-by-step plans to reach your tennis and life goals with Mind Maps. Your mind will thank you (pun fully intended 🙂 ).  If you do, I am confident that you will have a prosperous New Year!

For more free tools and tips to improve your tennis game, download a free copy of my eBook, The Building Blocks of Tennis Success, below!