Lessons from a Tennis Addict on a Quest to Become a USTA 4.5 Player

When Your Coach Believes in You

By P.J. Simmons“A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could.” --Zig ZiglarI love spending time over holidays with my Dad and stepmother, two remarkable people who exude life-affirming, positive energy every...

“You Throw Like a Girl” (and You Serve Like One Too)

By P.J. SimmonsIt was almost 4 decades ago, but I still remember the sting I felt when someone said it to me for the first time.I was only 9 years old, which in retrospect seems so young. But back then nine felt "big." And in the mini-society of 9 year old boys that I...

Doing the Hard Work that Comes with Injuries (Guest Post)

Below is a guest post from fellow tennis fanatic Jim Falvo (in photo above doing medicine ball drill).This post is a kind of "part 2" to my recent post "With Every Injury Comes An Opportunity"...But it's also "part 1" of a 3-part series of guests posts Jim will write...

With Every Injury Comes an Opportunity

By P.J. Simmons Over the years I've had my share of athletic and tennis injuries. They're never fun. But as I get older, I'm finding that a healthy mental perspective on injuries isn't just a "nice to have"-- it's a must have. I've recently come to believe, very...

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Project Serve: From Weakness to Weapon

Andy Murray's expression in this photo (like he's about to yell an expletive or kill someone) pretty much sums up the way I've felt about my serve for the past two years. Until recently, my serve has been a source of considerable frustration, anger and fear: I've...

“I’ll Take That Mistake” – Best Coaching Advice Ever

By P.J. SimmonsRecently I had the pleasure of playing a doubles match with my friend Kirk visiting NYC from Little Rock-- an awesome player who blew past 4.5 level years ago. I met Kirk at IMG Bollettieri Academy and remember thinking, "If I could play like Kirk...

To Grunt or Not to Grunt: An Amateur Tennis Player’s Dilemma

If you love tennis, you've undoubtedly participated in at least one heated debate about "grunting" (or, in some cases more appropriately, "shrieking"). Should it be completely discouraged or accepted in moderation? Should grunting in pro tennis be penalized when it's...

How to Cure Tennis Elbow (and Golfer’s Elbow) in 5 Minutes a Day

By P.J. SimmonsCount your blessings if you've never had tennis elbow (aka "computer elbow" or "mouse elbow" because it also strikes folks who spend hours at the computer). Known as "lateral epicondylitis", it's a condition that can cause an intense, searing pain and...

Ball Machines Are Better with Music (And So is My Game)

For about a year I've been spending about an hour a week alone on the court with a ball machine. There's no way around it: to make technique automatic, you need to hit a lot of balls-- and a ball machine is cheaper (free at my club) than hiring a hitter or a pro.Until...

10 Tips for Better Doubles Strategy

(Photo: I took this at the 2011 US Open - Austria's Jurgen Melzer and Germany's Philipp Petzschner in final set before winning their second Grand Slam doubles title)Coaches often say that playing doubles strengthens your singles game and vice versa. Having played a...

2 Must-Read Tennis Psychology Books that Changed My Game

As summer was ending two years ago (August 2010), I was totally burned out from work. I had spent almost every night and weekend over the previous year writing a book on a tight deadline while also working a high-pressure full-time job. I knew I'd need a serious...

Schooled by a 12 Year Old at IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy

In February I took my first trip to the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton Florida, thanks to an invite from my friend Devin Tao who I'd met through NYC clinics. Devin was generous enough to invite me despite the fact that all the other guys in the group he...

4 Keys to a Stronger Two-Handed Backhand

Until January of this year I had a one-handed backhand that I wasn't too excited about. I had spent a lot of 2011 angsting over whether I should switch to a 2-hander. Clearly there were pros and cons to both. And the biggest advertisement for a 1-hander was Roger...

“Good things happen to players who bend their knees”

Last year I ordered one of Nick Bollettieri's instructional videos, "Bollistic Backhand," and something he said on it stuck with me: "Good things happen to tennis players who bend their knees." It's so true. Things go much much better when I actually execute on this...

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