From Go to Pro-Developing the Elite Tennis Player

 

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I wrote From Go to Pro: A Playing and Coaching Manual for the Aspiring Tennis Player (and Parents) -Developing the Elite Tennis Player primarily for advanced tennis players and tennis academy coaches working in the high-performance field. While “hobby” players will benefit by perusing and studying the material, this book focuses on what it takes to achieve excellence and maximize personal potential through tennis, and what it takes to become a professional player. To do so, one must rise beyond the hobby, or recreational, level and meaningfully commit to the sport. I agree with Matthew Syed’s message in his book Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practiceand others, including Malcolm Gladwell, that ten thousand hours of meaningful practice and work is a prerequisite for achieving one’s true potential.

This book’s genesis sprung from my working with Australian coach Gavin Hopper at his academy in Istanbul over the course of almost four years. Gavin, who has coached seven players in the world’s top ten, including the likes of Monica Seles and Mark Philippoussis, remains one of the world’s best coaches—especially when it comes to technique, motivation, and focus. One day, while driving to work together, after discussing a number of topics, Gavin exclaimed, “Mate, this should be a book!” Over the course of the next year, I put together what I initially intended as a manual for our coaches, but the work expanded into something more. Much of the information comes from Gavin’s mouth, daily discussions in the car, in the office, in the gym, and especially on the court. This information, and more, deserves to be put to pen and paper.

With this book and manual, I (and the people I’ve worked with) certainly do not purport to assert that we know everything about the sport of tennis. Everyone makes mistakes and is sometimes wrong. We are no exceptions; but we do have ideas, ideas based on experience and a modicum of intelligence. Experience shows that players improve when they commit to this system. This book provides our ideas and system, which we assert as a recipe for success. Additionally, as I make no claims to omniscience, I invite further discussion, dialogue, and debate on how to better train, perform, and win.

While this book is originally designed as a handbook for elite academy tennis professionals, as the work evolved, it developed into a wider exposition about what it takes to improve as a tennis player. Everyone can learn from this book, including coaches, players, and parents. In many respects, the answers to improving as a player—or improving at anything for that matter—are relatively simple: purposeful practice, purposeful work, some intelligent guidance, then more purposeful practice and more purposeful work.

Having said this, the beautiful paradox appears. What seems so simple is not, just as what seems so complicated is not. If you want to improve as a player, you can; if you want to improve as a coach or as a parent, you can. However, you have to work—which means that you will have to work hard, long, and intensely. Repetition, repetition, repetition. Hit lots of balls and you will improve. Hit lots of balls with purpose and you will improve even more. This book will help you develop that purpose in your game or your coaching so that you can follow the recipe for on-court tennis success.

The amount of time required to succeed at any endeavor is immense. Anyone who thinks less or can actually succeed with less is either deluded or a freak. Excellence is a long journey, and in tennis, it must begin early in life.

To make it “from go to pro” requires difficult life decisions at an early age. The parents and the child must decide on priorities, most notably between education and tennis (or whatever endeavor is involved). While this is a controversial topic, particularly from the Western mainstream perspective of the need for a balanced happy individual, our focus here is on how to improve and succeed. The fact in the world of professional tennis today is that those at the top have made decisions early in life to commit to excellence through tennis. It is a commitment that necessarily involves sacrifice, a commitment that involves a different than average life.

Coaching at an academy is not all about providing technical expertise and corrections or guiding on strategy and tactics. The ability to organize and manage groups, sometimes with limited resources, is something that makes for a major part of almost any coach’s workday. This book provides basic organizational strategies and tactics to take varying sized groups with varying abilities and mold an effective training session that serves players of all abilities, not just professionals.

Think and consider what is presented in this book. Know that some simple principles applied with hard work and competent tutelage will improve any player. Also, please share with me your thoughts and input as we all work together to advance the sport of tennis, one player at a time.

From Go to Pro – A Playing and Coaching Manual for the Aspiring Tennis Player (and Parents)

By Mark A. Beede

Hardcover | 6 x 9in | 96 pages | ISBN 9781524503130

Softcover | 6 x 9in | 96 pages | ISBN 9781524503123

E-Book | 96 pages | ISBN 9781524503116

Books are available by contacting the author at beede@aloha.net. Also available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Mark Beede is a USPTA, PTR and ATPCA certified tennis coach, manager and educator. Born and raised in Maine, Beede received his undergraduate degree from Brandeis University and law degree from the University of Maine School of Law. After practicing law for 16 years, he changed careers to tennis and moved to Hawaii to work with the USTA–Hawaii Pacific section and the Hawaii Pacific Tennis Foundation. Beede then moved to Istanbul, Turkey, to work as director of coaching education and special projects with Gavin Hopper at his international academy of professional players and elite juniors. Mark is now back in Hawaii where he works to help aspiring tennis players become the best they can be.