Category Archives for "Podcast"

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.”

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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!

TFP 041: Coaching Elite Junior Tennis Players with Adam Blicher

TFP 041: Coaching Elite Junior Tennis Players with Adam Blicher

On Episode 41 of TFP I had the pleasure of speaking with Adam Blicher about coaching elite junior players and high-performance tennis principles. I first heard about Adam when I searched for tennis podcasts on iTunes. The Adam Blicher Show popped up, and ever since, I have learned a lot from Adam and the fantastic guests he has had on his show.

Adam focuses on dissecting and deconstructing the minds of world-class performers & leading specialist in our sport. This is something that I love doing as well, so it is not surprising that we connected and did an episode that will help you all improve your tennis games.

Adam also has a really cool show called Adam’s Advice that will be up around the time of this episode. I highly encourage you to check out Adam’s podcast and his show to further immerse yourself in the world of experts so that you can improve your tennis game!

Time-Stamped Show Notes

  • [2:33] How did you get to where you are today in your tennis career?
  • [3:51] What is it about tennis that inspires and motivates you to get up and coach your players every single day? 
  • [5:01] What are 3 things most of the world doesn’t know about Adam Blicher
  • [5:57] In your bio, it mentions that you dissect and deconstruct the best tennis performers and athletes so that you can teach others; How does one go about doing this type of in-depth study to improve themselves? 
  • [8:55] If you could go back and talk to yourself when you were a junior, what advice would you give yourself? 
  • [10:25] Pressure is a huge part of tennis; what type of mental exercises or training do you have your players go through to help them with this part of their game?
  • [13:01] What type of advice do you give your players before they step out on the court? 
  • [15:25] What are your thoughts about meditation? 
  • [18:26] How can a player break through a losing streak? 
  • [20:22] If a player constantly gets tight on big points, what advice would you tell that player to help him/her perform optimally in critical situations. 
  • [22:10] What is a typical day of coaching like for you?
  • [23:37] What are three keys to successfully coaching juniors in the 14-16 age group?
  • [25:43] How much traveling do your players do, and do they ever have issues coping with the travel? If so, how do you help them with this?
  • [28:00] What are some mistakes that you see other coaches making that inhibits the growth of their players? 
  • [30:48] What should a player do if they have to make a big technical change to a stroke (i.e. how much tournament play should they be doing)?
  • [34:20] What type of fitness regimen do you put your players through? 
  • [39:22] Who are a couple of your high-performing junior players and what about them makes them so successful?
  • [42:18] What did you learn from interning at the Patrick Mouratoglou Academy? What is it about coach Mouratoglou that makes him a great coach?
  • [45:41] Which interview on The Adam Blicher Show is your all-time favorite, and why? 
  • [48:52] What was the best piece of advice your podcast guest gave on the show? 
  • [50:16] I understand you are planning to release Adam’s Advice; can you tell us about it? 
  • [51:12] What are three books that you would give as a gift to your tennis players? 
  • [52:37] Do you have a morning routine, and if so, what is it? 
  • [53:47] Adam’s favorite type of coffee 
  • [54:33] Where can our audience find you online and in person?
  • [56:20] Upcoming podcast episodes
  • [57:50] Key piece of advice to improve your tennis game

Many thanks to Adam for coming onto The Tennis Files Podcast and providing our audience with a lot of great advice and tips to help you improve your tennis game!

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Links Mentioned in the Show

The Adam Blicher Show

Adam’s Facebook Page

Complete Conditioning for Tennis

Mental Gym

7 Keys to Being a Great Coach – [Allistair McCaw – TFP 011]

Note: Some 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 coaching elite junior tennis players with Adam, 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 040: Tennis Serve Technique with Brian Smith

TFP 040: Tennis Serve Technique with Brian Smith

On today’s episode, I spoke with Brian Smith, creator of Performance Tennis Training, about tennis serve technique. Brian and I went through each phase of the tennis serve, from the grip to the finish.

The serve is easily the most important part of the game. As I’ve said time and time again, we serve half the time, and you can start dictating with it immediately.

Brian creates fantastic, value-filled videos about all aspects of tennis, including stroke mechanics and footwork, on his Performance Tennis Training Youtube Page. I’ve watched many of them, and when I’ve implemented Brian’s tips, they have worked really well for me.

Thanks to Brian for being on the show and talking about the most important stroke in tennis, the serve!

Time-Stamped Show Notes

  • [2:32] How Brian Smith became an expert tennis coach
  • [3:52] Tennis book that made the most impact on Brian’s tennis career
  • [4:49] What motivates Brian to be the best tennis coach he can be every day
  • [6:23] Why the tennis serve is the most important part of your game
  • [7:16] The grip we should use for the tennis serve and some alternatives
  • [9:09] Various stances for the serve (platform, pinpoint)
  • [10:35] Brian’s preferred backswing technique (abbreviated vs. full/classic)
  • [13:23] How to develop a smoother backswing on the serve
  • [15:19] Tools we can use to smooth out the serve
  • [16:57] How much should we rotate our bodies on the serve?
  • [18:32] The ideal loading position for the serve
  • [19:42] Ideal height to toss the ball
  • [21:17] How to toss the ball properly
  • [23:04] What is pronation and how does it help us hit better serves?
  • [24:42] Would a weak continental grip still allow us to pronate effectively?
  • [26:22] The different types of second serves
  • [28:19] How can we produce more spin on our serves?
  • [30:10] Tips for generating power on our first serves
  • [34:03] How can players hit flat serves?
  • [37:58] Brian’s favorite serve placements
  • [40:14] How many serves should we practice hitting a day?
  • [42:32] What parts of our body should we be strengthening to hit better serves
  • [43:57] Favorite point patterns off the serve
  • [46:19] Exercises to keep the rotator cuff healthy
  • [47:27] Resources to improve players’ serves
  • [49:52] How did Brian come up with the idea for Performance Tennis Training?
  • [51:23] Why should players check out Performance Tennis Training?
  • [53:07] Brian’s favorite PTT video
  • [54:30] Future plans for PTT
  • [55:59] One key piece of advice on how you can improve your tennis serve
  • [56:57] Where can we follow Brian and PTT online?

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Links Mentioned in the Show

TFP 031: 7 Effective Technical Fixes for Your Tennis Game

Performance Tennis Training Youtube Page

Performance Tennis Training Facebook Page

Tennis Ace Trainer

If you enjoyed my interview about serving with Brian, 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 039: Todd Ellenbecker On Injury Prevention and Recovery

TFP 039: Todd Ellenbecker—Injury Prevention and Recovery

Today I had the pleasure of speaking with Todd Ellenbecker, DPT, MS, SCS, OCS, CSCS (whew!). Todd is the Vice President of Medical Services for the ATP Tour and a Director of Physiotherapy Associates Scottsdale Sports Clinic in Arizona. He was kind enough to join me to talk about injury prevention and recovery for tennis players.

I received a ton of questions from all of you because injuries are a huge part of the game. We must take measures to prevent injuries, and properly recover when we have the misfortune of getting them. Otherwise, we will not be able to play the sport we love for very long.

Todd’s advice goes beyond helping your tennis game, and will help you lead a much healthier, more functional life. If you don’t make time to work on your physical strength and flexibility, you’ll never reach your tennis potential.

Todd, along with recent The Tennis Files Podcast guest Dr. Mark Kovacs and Paul E. Roetert, is a co-author of Complete Conditioning for Tennis. This book has been a life-changer for me and my game. I have used it to formulate my own periodized workout routine and am seeing fantastic results on and off the court because I am committed to the program.

Thanks so much to Todd for coming onto The Tennis Files Podcast and providing us all with such amazing value. His expertise in the area of physiotherapy is truly second to none!

Time-Stamped Show Notes

  • [1:49] How Todd became the VP of Medical Services for the ATP Tour and Director of a Physiotherapy Clinic in Scottsdale, AZ
  • [3:36] Todd’s degrees and certifications
  • [5:29] Three things most of the world doesn’t know about Todd
  • [6:20] Why do tennis players get injured?
  • [7:37] Can you get injured with good technique?
  • [9:09] Three of the most common injuries on the ATP Tour today
  • [10:52] Difference in injuries now versus previous generations of players
  • [12:20] What we can do to protect the shoulder
  • [13:53] Why traditional heavy lifting can be detrimental to tennis players
  • [16:20] The optimal time to train and perform exercises
  • [18:30] A case study on how Ram, a member of our audience, can recover from a rotator cuff injury
  • [21:09] The cause of hip pain and how to remedy it
  • [23:14] Todd’s duties as the Vice President of Medical Services for the ATP Tour, and how Todd and other ATP physiotherapists go out on the court to treat professional tennis players during medical timeouts
  • [25:00] The most common injuries treated during medical timeouts
  • [26:17] How often are medical timeouts used for gamesmanship, and how are trainers supposed to respond if they sense this
  • [27:41] Todd’s favorite tools that we can use to prevent injuries
  • [30:28] Three things that amateur players can do to prevent injuries
  • [33:45] How can Doug help his team deal with shin splints
  • [36:44] Where can our audience follow Todd online?

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Links Mentioned in the Show

Complete Conditioning for Tennis

Physiotherapy Associates Scottsdale Sports Clinic

Note: The link to Complete Conditioning for Tennis above is an affiliate link, so if you make a purchase after clicking, I make a small commission. Thanks either way!

If you enjoyed my interview about injury prevention and recovery with Todd, 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 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!

How Luca Corinteli Became an Elite College Tennis Player

TFP 037: How Luca Corinteli Became an Elite College Tennis Player

On today’s episode, I had the pleasure of speaking with Luca Corinteli from the University of Virginia Men’s Tennis team. Luca is an elite tennis player and was ranked as high as #2 in doubles in the country with partner Ryan Shane. Luca has helped UVA Men’s Tennis win the NCAA Division I national championship the past two years in a row.

Brian Boland, head coach of UVA Men’s Tennis and a recent guest on The Tennis Files Podcast, highly recommended that I interview Luca when I asked Coach Boland who he might suggest I speak to from his team.

Coach Boland was right on the money (per usual). The senior Wahoo with proud Georgian roots gave us a truly fantastic interview on the life of a college tennis player at the #1 college tennis program in the country. Luca is mature well beyond his years, and we wish him and UVA Tennis all the best this season and into the team’s professional careers.

Time-Stamped Show Notes

  • [3:15] How does the championship ring feel?
  • [4:13] How Luca got his start playing tennis
  • [5:57] How judo helped Luca’s tennis game
  • [7:12] Luca’s first tournament experience
  • [7:59] Role models growing up as a junior
  • [9:34] How Vesa Ponkka has helped Luca’s tennis career
  • [11:08] An overview of Luca’s junior career
  • [12:54] How Luca overcame a low point as a younger player
  • [14:42] Luca’s biggest accomplishment in his junior career
  • [15:49] How Coach Boland recruited Luca onto UVA Men’s Tennis Team
  • [16:57] Luca’s biggest improvement since joining UVA Tennis
  • [18:36] Overcoming adversity in college tennis
  • [20:51] Best advice from the coaching staff
  • [23:08] Luca’s favorite drills in team practices
  • [24:18] Ratio of on-court to off-court training
  • [26:50] What part of Luca’s game did Luca have to improve the most when he came to UVA?
  • [28:28] Luca’s most memorable moment at UVA
  • [30:16] Rivalries in college tennis
  • [31:45] What went through Luca’s mind when Henrik Wiersholm clinched the 2016 National Championship for UVA Men’s Tennis
  • [33:15] Funniest moment with the team
  • [34:50] The sickest match that Luca has played in college
  • [36:33] Luca describes how he held serve down a break point at 5-5 30-40 in the national championship match at #1 doubles against Oklahoma
  • [37:27] How Luca calmed himself down after shaking before serving down break point in the national championship
  • [38:29] What makes Luca a great doubles player
  • [39:50] How Luca decides when to poach in doubles
  • [40:57] Winning point patterns in doubles
  • [42:46] Difference in levels between college tennis and ITF Futures events
  • [44:05] Luca’s plans on whether to play professional tennis after college
  • [45:20] Three things that most people don’t know about Luca Corinteli
  • [47:27] Luca’s favorite tennis book
  • [49:07] Where can we follow Luca online
  • [49:52] One key tip that will help us improve our tennis games

Special shout out to UVA Men’s Tennis, as Luca is the 3rd guest I’ve had on the show in 37 episodes that has ties to the program. Coach Brian Boland (Episode 34) and Treat Huey (Episode 7) have also been on The Tennis Files Podcast.

Treat just qualified for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in doubles with Max Mirnyi, which is an incredible accomplishment! Go Treat!

Thanks again to Luca for coming onto the Tennis Files Podcast and speaking about his experiences as a player on UVA’s Men’s Tennis Team!

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Links Mentioned in the Show

Winning Ugly – Brad Gilbert

UVA Men’s Tennis Team Homepage

UVA Men’s Tennis Twitter Page

Luca’s Twitter and Instagram Pages

Note: The link to Winning Ugly above is an affiliate link, so if you make a purchase after clicking, I make a small commission. Thanks either way!

If you enjoyed my interview with Luca, 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!

Kim Selzman Tennis Quick Tips

TFP 036: 6 Quick Tips to Improve Your Tennis Game with Kim Selzman

On Episode 36 of TFP, Kim Selzman from The Tennis Quick Tips Podcast and tennisfixation.com joined me to give you some of her best tips to help you improve your game.

Kim started playing tennis at 40 years old and fell in love with the game immediately. She is a super passionate tennis player that enjoys sharing what she knows and learns about the game with her audience. Well that sounds a little familiar! 🙂

Kim does an awesome job of giving her audience value-packed tips that are quick and easy to implement, and can really boost your game. She has produced over 140 podcast episodes and it was a lot of fun to speak with her on the show. I also included her podcast in my article The 41 Best Tennis Resources Every Player Should Know.

Time-Stamped Show Notes

  • [2:58] How Kim got her start in tennis
  • [5:34] Kim’s website and podcast
  • [9:09] 3 tips to improve your serve
  • [15:35] One tip Kim follows every time she plays tennis
  • [18:52] Why Kim changed her mind about lobbing
  • [22:43] Resources that Kim uses to improve her game
  • [26:03] Favorite tennis books Kim would give as a gift to someone who wants to improve their tennis game 
  • [30:33] One key tip to improve your tennis game
  • [34:06] Where can we find Kim online

A big shout out to Kim for coming onto the podcast and giving us some great tips on how we can all become better tennis players!

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Links Mentioned in the Show

A special gift from Kim for our listeners!

Winning Ugly – Brad Gilbert

Arthur Ashe on Tennis

Tennis Beyond Big Shots – Greg Moran

Interview with Dr. Mark Kovacs

Complete Conditioning for Tennis Players

Note: The links to the books 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 with Kim, let me know by leaving a review for The Tennis Files Podcast in iTunes or your favorite podcast app!

TFP 035: Martin Blackman USTA Player Development

TFP 035: Martin Blackman—USTA Player Development

On today’s show, I had the pleasure of speaking with Martin Blackman, General Manager of the United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) Player Development Program.

Coach Blackman is responsible for partnering with the U.S. tennis community to identify and develop the next generation of world-class American tennis players. The former ATP pro and college tennis coach spoke to us about the USTA’s player development program that has recently seen a lot of success and a ton of top-ranked American talent.

The current head of USTA PD was one of the top juniors in the world and eventually climbed to a ranking of #158 on the ATP Tour. He also played Davis Cup for Barbados. After his pro career, Blackman coached the American University tennis team and top junior players at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in Maryland.

On Episode 35, Coach Blackman speaks to us about what the USTA is doing to bolster the development of top American tennis players. We can adopt many of Coach Blackman’s and the USTA’s principles into our own way of thinking to help us improve our tennis games.

Time-Stamped Show Notes:

  • [3:44] How Martin Blackman started playing tennis
  • [5:00] Coach Blackman’s college and pro tennis career
  • [8:00] The most important part of the evolution of a tennis coach
  • [9:35] How Martin figured out to have a stronger connection with his players
  • [10:50] Advice Coach Blackman would give to his 20-year old self
  • [11:50] The importance of embracing the process
  • [13:11] How does Coach Blackman define player development?
  • [18:57] What key characteristics or traits need the most development among top tennis players?
  • [22:40] Knowing the long-term vision for the player and sacrificing short-term gain
  • [23:11] Why Pete Sampras switched to a one-handed backhand, and Martin’s victory over Pete in the juniors
  • [25:10] What our audience can do to help improve their tennis games

A huge thanks to Coach Blackman for coming onto the show and for speaking with me about how the USTA, and you all as players and coaches, can better develop into successful tennis players.

I hope you enjoy my interview with Coach Blackman! Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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Links Mentioned in This Episode

Free Guide to Setting SMART Goals

Complete Conditioning for Tennis (2nd edition)

Interview with Dr. Mark Kovacs

Interview with Coach Brian Boland (UVA Men’s Tennis)

Note: The link to Complete Conditioning for Tennis above is an affiliate link, so if you make a purchase after clicking, I make a small commission. Thanks either way!

If you enjoyed my interview with Coach Blackman, do yourself a solid and subscribe to The Tennis Files Podcast!

To get a copy of your free guide on How to Set SMART Goals, subscribe to my newsletter below!

4 TFP 034: Brian Boland—Turning College Tennis Players into Leaders

TFP 034: Brian Boland—Turning College Tennis Players into Leaders

On Episode 34 of TFP, I had the honor of speaking with Brian Boland, Coach of the 2013, 2015, and 2016 NCAA Division I Championship University of Virginia Men’s Tennis program. Coach Boland shows us how we can produce better leaders and human beings through college tennis. This approach is ultimately what determines whether coaches and players are truly successful in life.

Coach Boland’s approach of focusing on developing his players have resulted in incredible accomplishments, both on and off the court. Virginia Men’s Tennis has been ranked in the top five of the ITA’s final rankings in 8 of the past 10 seasons, and they’ve also won 5 ITA National Team Indoor Championships, 14 conference championships and 18 NCAA and ITA individual national championships.

What is so striking about Coach Boland is that he doesn’t focus on the results so much as the development of his players. That his favorite moment at Virginia Men’s Tennis has been attending weddings of his players, rather than winning titles, speaks volumes about his values. Coach Boland was also the very first contributor to one of my most popular articles, 30 College Tennis Coaches Reveal Top Character Traits of Successful Student-Athletes.

Huge thanks to Coach Boland for coming onto the show! This episode is a must-listen for any coaches and players who want to get the most out of themselves and their players. Coach Boland shows us how we can do this through leadership, integrity, and character.

Time-Stamped Show Notes:

  • [1:44] How did Coach Boland become a head coach at UVA?
  • [5:03] One thing that the world doesn’t know about Coach Boland
  • [7:06] How do you keep motivated after winning everything there is to win in college tennis?
  • [9:37] How did UVA bounce back from adversity this year to win the NCAA Championship?
  • [13:06] How do you deal with players who aren’t in the lineup
  • [16:43] Challenges in maintaining an elite team year after year
  • [18:42] What did Coach Boland mean when he said “It takes a village to be the best at what you can do.”
  • [23:38] What systems do you have in place to ensure that your players succeed?
  • [26:42] How and where Coach Boland recruit players
  • [29:49] The success of local mid-atlantic players at UVA
  • [34:25] How UVA tennis player Thai-Son Kwiatkowski is skyrocketing up the ATP rankings
  • [40:04] Shout out to Dr. Mark Kovacs (guest on Episode 33 of TFP)
  • [40:51Treat Huey’s rise to the top of the ATP doubles ranks
  • [47:02] What’s the goal for UVA during the fall college tennis season?
  • [52:07] UVA’s individual and team practices in the fall and spring
  • [54:12] The structure of individual practices
  • [55:31] Difference between fall and spring seasons
  • [58:42] Drilling during practices
  • [61:20] Coach Boland’s favorite drills
  • [64:14] How to determine UVA’s lineup
  • [67:34] Coach Boland’s toughest and most enjoyable moments at UVA
  • [74:02] Sanam Singh’s wedding
  • [78:28] How has UVA Tennis changed over the years?
  • [79:54] How can we save our college tennis programs?
  • [81:40] Coach Boland’s morning routine
  • [85:26] Books that Coach Boland would gift someone looking to improve their tennis game
  • [86:51] The importance of tennis coaches and experts sharing information with the community
  • [89:15] Best advice that Coach Boland has every received
  • [90:31] Where can we follow Coach Boland and UVA Men’s Tennis online
  • [92:08] One tip from Coach Boland that will help us improve our tennis games

I hope you enjoy my interview with Coach Boland! Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Subscribe to automatically download new episodes!

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Links Mentioned in This Episode

The Inner Game of Tennis

Lead For Godsake

Success is a Choice

UVA Men’s Tennis

Interview with Dr. Mark Kovacs

Complete Conditioning for Tennis (2nd edition)

Note: Some 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 with Coach Boland, be sure to subscribe to The Tennis Files Podcast! Next up on the schedule is Martin Blackman, Head of Player Development at USTA.

For more tennis tips to improve your game, download my free eBook, The Building Blocks of Tennis Success, by subscribing to my newsletter below!

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

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

On today’s episode, I spoke with world renowned sports science and fitness expert Dr. Mark Kovacs about strength and conditioning for tennis. Mark has trained numerous top professional tennis players, including John Isner, Sloane Stephens, Sam Querrey, Donald Young, and Melanie Oudin. Stack named Mark one of the Top 31 Fitness Professionals to Follow in 2015.

Mark is a performance physiologist, researcher, professor, author, speaker and coach with an extensive background training and researching elite athletes. He has been featured in many of the biggest sports and news publications, including ESPN, the New York Times, and Tennis Magazine. Mark was also a top college player at Auburn and achieved a world ranking on the ATP Tour.

To sum it up, Mark has one heck of a resume, and it is an honor to speak with him on the show today.

Mark co-authored an amazing book and resource, Complete Conditioning for Tennis (2nd edition), which was published a couple months ago. I have a copy of his book and have had a hard time putting it down in my spare time. It has a ton of invaluable information on how we can put together a personalized fitness program using the exercises and in-depth knowledge from Mark, E. Paul Roetert (former managing director of the United States Tennis Association’s Player Development Program) and Todd S. Ellenbecker (Vice President, Medical Services ATP World Tour, and clinic director at Physiotherapy Associates Scottsdale Sports Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona).

The book also includes 56 videos illustrating the exercises and stretches which you can access online. The value in this book is unparalleled in comparison to any other tennis fitness book I’ve seen on the market so far.

In this episode, I ask Mark questions on how we can improve our tennis fitness to become better tennis players. We also talk about Complete Conditioning for Tennis (2nd edition) and some of the principles in the book that will help take your game to the next level.

Mark has an unbelievable amount of knowledge in sports science for tennis, and provided us all with a ton of value on The Tennis Files Podcast.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • [3:18]  How Mark became a world-class fitness expert
  • [5:08]  Mark’s degrees and certifications
  • [7:14]  One thing about Mark that most people don’t know
  • [8:27]  The elements of tennis fitness
  • [10:25]  How to train the different elements of fitness
  • [12:30] – What most tennis players lack in their fitness
  • [14:12]  The muscle group that amateur players tend to undertrain the most
  • [15:39]  Ways to train your your weakest muscle group
  • [17:16]  How low should we go when we squat
  • [19:22]  What type of squat should we use during training
  • [22:35]  Will partial squats put pressure on the knees
  • [25:04]  What set/rep/weight ranges should we use for our exercises and what are the effects of using different ones
  • [29:16]  What is periodization and how does it affect our training
  • [32:30]  In what order should we train the different fitness elements in a periodization program for maximum results
  • [36:07]  What are the best strengthening exercises for the serve
  • [38:37]  The importance of the kinetic chain and discussing Mark’s “An 8-stage model for the tennis serve” scientific study
  • [42:47]  How do we correct inefficient footwork
  • [45:56]  Mark’s favorite footwork drills to help your speed and agility
  • [49:10]  Stretches that tennis players should incorporate into their routine
  • [51:41]  Analysis of professional tennis players’ fitness and why tennis is one of the toughest sports in the world
  • [53:53]  How can we get the most value out of Complete Conditioning for Tennis (2nd ed.) and put what we learn into action
  • [56:07]  What has changed in the 2nd Edition of Complete Conditioning for Tennis from the 1st Edition
  • [57:27]  Mark’s favorite chapters in the book
  • [58:24]  Where can we get Complete Conditioning for Tennis
  • [59:39]  One common misconception/myth about tennis fitness among tennis players
  • [1:01:26]  Other books and articles that Mark has authored
  • [1:02:06] – Where we can find Mark online and on social media
  • [1:04:14]  Mark’s one tip that will help us improve our tennis games

I can’t thank Mark enough, who was extremely responsive through social media and email, for coming onto the show. He continues to make a huge impact on the success and lives of countless athletes, and I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to put his advice and principles in Complete Conditioning for Tennis (2nd edition) into action!

Subscribe to automatically download new episodes!

Subscribe on iTunes Button

Click this icon, click the blue “View in iTunes” button, then hit “Subscribe.”

Or hit the subscribe button in your favorite podcast app!

Right Click Here to Download the MP3

Links Mentioned in This Episode

Complete Conditioning for Tennis (2nd edition)

Tennis Anatomy

Dynamic Stretching

The Flexible Stretching Strap Workbook

Mark-Kovacs.com

ITPA-tennis.org

Interview with Allistair McCaw

Mark’s Facebook/Twitter/Instagram (mkovacsphd)

Note: Some of the links above are affiliate links, so if you make a purchase after clicking, I make a small commission.

Regardless of where you purchase Mark’s book, I hope you give it a read! I highly recommend it and will post a book review once I am finished reading this incredible fitness resource.

If you enjoyed my interview with Mark, be sure to subscribe to The Tennis Files Podcast! Next up on the schedule are Brian Boland (head coach at national champion University of Virginia Men’s Tennis) and Martin Blackman (Head of Player Development at USTA).

For more tennis tips to improve your game, download my free eBook, The Building Blocks of Tennis Success, by subscribing to my newsletter below!