I've been spending a great deal of time these last few years trying to
(2) can we predict that one has the
potential to be an international champion.
I have had discussions with
neuroscientists, a brain typist, a tennis playing psychiatrist who has
conducted more than 28,000 brain scans, famous coaches and pro players. The bottom
line is that there has been progress in understanding how a champion's
brain works, but we there are still many unanswered questions.
I have to go back to my years of assisting with the management of
pro tours. I'm currently archiving fifty years of film, over thirty years of
video and about forty years of audio tapes. I find that today's
champions seem to think like the champions from fifty years ago. However, this is
not based upon brain scans, but anecdotal records. So, what are these
First, the champions have had a goal of becoming a big time winner at a
relatively early age. Two (2), there was nothing that seemed to be able
to deter them from reaching their goal. Three (3), they were keen analysts
when observing strengths and weaknesses in potential opponents. Four (4),
they seemed to have the ability to analyze their own game accurately. Five
(5) they seemed to be able to analyze quickly when they were getting the
right information from coaches. Six (6), when most players were calling it a
day on the practice court, future champions were just getting warmed up,
Seven (7) , champions talked more about hating to lose than basking in the
glory of victories. Eight (8), the top players seemed to have a unique ability
to focus on execution in tight situations rather than to worry about the
outcome of the point, or match. Nine (9), champions seemed to enjoy the
pressure of tie breakers rather than fearing it. Ten (10) champions gave
away nothing; they would beat an injured player as fast as they could.
When Lleyton Hewitt was down match point in the 2004 Pacific Life
Open, I asked him if he was afraid. He said, "If he beats me, he's going to
have to hit one hell of a shot to win."
In a video I produced with Pancho Segura and Jack Kramer, Pancho
told the story about how Bobby Riggs was injured and Jack Kramer showed no
mercy and beat Bobby 6-0,6-1. Kramer said, "Don't show mercy to anyone. Beat
every opponent as badly as possible, and if you like them, take them to
Vic Braden is a longtime sports science researcher, licensed psychologist and the founder of Vic Braden Sports Instruction and the Vic Braden Tennis College, which are held nationwide at premier resorts. He has produced sixteen instructional videos that incorporate his research and his coaching knowledge.
Vic has authored six books, contributed to publications such as Sports Illustrated, and continues to author editorials for several publications such as Tennis Week and Tennis Life. In addition, he has appeared on popular television shows including NBC?s Today Show, hosted his own television shows on PBS and ESPN, and provided televised tennis commentary for numerous professional events.
His lighthearted approach is endearing, and his motto of ?Laugh and Win? has helped shape the resoundingly positive attitudes of decades of students. In his books, videos, Tennis Colleges, and speeches, Vic strives to teach effectively and connect with students on a personal level, aiming to uncover the ?genius to perform? that he believes rests in every individual.
Working with famous sports researchers for several decades, Vic finds great joy in passing on new and valuable information. He strives to help students maximize their performance and enjoyment of this great sport in the shortest period of time. In our (thoroughly biased) opinion, Vic is ?simply the best!!!?