Vic Braden Update

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by heretoserve, Aug 27, 2009.

  1. heretoserve

    heretoserve Rookie

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    Being a good friend of Vic's I would just like to clarify some misconceptions of the man.

    1. Vic who just turned 79 is probably in the lab studying biomaechanics (but more likely the role of the brain) in sports science. His latest technical research uses APAS software which requires 3 cameras to be set up and a grid to be placed on the court before filming. He has done this at many recent pro tournaments. The software was originally created to detect patients faking injury for insurance fraud. It can calculate every angle, speed and trajectory of a player. So if you think he's old school trust me he is sharp as a tack and on top of what's going on. But he is beyond how to hit a tennis ball. Vic is good friends with John Neednogle who is the first scientist to make a connection between braintyping and motor skill. He currently works for the Boston Celtics, helping them choose there draft picks. Neednogle can tell what's wrong with your forehand by watching you eat breakfast. Check him out at braintypes.com.



    2. He is a selfless man. Having suffered great unmentionable tragedies in his life including the loss of a beloved daughter he is humbled to the core and goals are to only make more people enjoy the game of tennis. He has no self-serving goals. He has spent more money on research than any major teaching organization. Having run the Vic Braden Tennis College in Orlando I'm in possesion of his high speed footage of Jack Kramer, Billie Jean King and Jimmy Connors (at this time filming high speed cost about 100 dollars a stroke requiring mikles of film).

    3. He recently started a tennis ambassador program where kids travel teaching other kids tennis, sponsored by the Mayor of Santa Ana. If you don't see him on the tour working with a pro player it's because his goals are more focused on changing the world. Although, trust, pros and there coaches are constantly in contact with Vic. In fact the Bryan Brothers' father Wayne accredits Vic with much of there success.

    In conclusion Vic was helping manage the tour when it was just a few guys putting on exhibitions trying to make ends meet. He has helped create the sport that every one here talks about. So you will not see Vic chatting on this web site because he has more important things to do.

    And if you would like to simply argue his book tennis for the future, let's use Pete Sampras as our subject. Who beat Roddick in straight sets in the 2002 U.S. Open when Roddick was 11 in the world. Old School I guess isn't so bad.


    P.S. Be careful with your claims to know Vic well as I have his cell phone number programed into my phone and will call to confirm.
     
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  2. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the info. I learned tennis from "Tennis for the Future". I now, more than ever believe that Braden was right when he said that to beat most players you only have to hit down the middle and deep. Strokes, not strategy, are the key to good tennis.

    Glad to hear that he's still around.
     
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  3. teachestennis

    teachestennis Rookie

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    I never said I knew Vic personally, only that he was my mentor as a tennis coach for at least a decade.

    I am aware of Vic's contributions to tennis. Everyone has their role. I just got done teaching tennis late tonite and was speaking with a fellow coach via phone and I was telling him not only is Vic really teaching modern but I also told him I enjoy reading Vic still, especially his skeletal analysis of biomechanics of the pros. I passed the one of Nadal around a lot. Vic is totally modern in his teaching today. My history only notes that until Oscar Wegner came along, there were no known teachers advocating the kinesthetic techniques that would define the modern game. Vic, like many top coaches, quickly caught on. I was just disappointed that my teaching word for word per his techniques, drawing the big C on the fence, did not get the results that I did when I adopted MTM. It was Vic who has told a lot of people besides me, when asked at a convention, what about Oscar Wegner. He never badmouthed Oscar, only said to be skeptical of his claim of tennis in 2 hours. He also told the same thing to Mike Gallagher of San Clemente who he does know who called him to ask about Oscar .

    I am also familiar with Neednogle's work and think it has a lot of merit, especially for team sports like football and basketball. The typing of quarterbacks has proven to have a lot of merit.

    Vic is as sharp as a tac. I do find his latest article about looking at genetic testing for potential tennis players as scary given I have been reading The Talent Code; Talent is Made, Not Born, Here's How! and notice that Russia just makes champions out of average kids with no braintyping. A 2008 book also confirms the claim that talent is made, not born.

    Also, I am good friends with Susan Nardi, of www.mommydaddyandmetennis.com and she and I discuss Braden's work a lot as I have a Masters Degree in Education with a minor in science and math under my BA, so I like science a lot. I do wonder if Vic had not told coaches to be skeptical of Oscar's claims, I wonder how many would have taken a hard look at him sooner. Gallagher ignored my invitation to meet with Oscar in 2007 in Costa Mesa because of his converstion with Braden. He will now tell you it was one of the biggest mistakes of his life. His son has improved a ton since he started teaching MTM and he can only wonder what could have been if he had those two years to teach his son these amazing tenets.

    It seems if Vic really wants to grow the game he might want to meet with Oscar and see if Oscar's ideas have any merit on court with just regular students, like Bud Collins did. I know Cliff Drysdale thinks Oscar has great ideas for tennis as well as lot of famous coaches and pros. All that science Groppel and Braden did about the brain doesn't mean anything to tennis if tennis is not played as Gallwey claims, by the subconcious or brain 2, or as Oscar claims, the higher brainwaves of the "spirit" or "being." If Vic wants to grow tennis, why not sit down with Oscar and share ideas given Oscar has had his own influence such that even tennisone.com noted about him, "History Proved Him Right." I bet Oscar would love such a meeting to share ideas. Vic definitely teaches modern today. They would have a great time I suspect.

    Also, Vic Braden's teaching philosophy regarding how to deal with children in Teaching Children Tennis the Vic Braden Way is still the best. I just read it again for the umpteenth time trying to make sure my teaching of tiny tots is solid (I also consulted with Susan Nardi). I just teach them open stance FHs and to hit up and across the ball, even it's a foam ball, focusing on their feel and the correct biomechanical techniques, which is new school.

    And I spent a lot of time talking with Pete Fischer, who raised Sampras, and I would disagree with you about Sampras being old school. His reverse running forehand was his best shot and was by no means old school. He lifted off the ground a lot, even on volleys, especially the BH ones. He claimed to always play his best when he hit with topspin. But that's my opinion. When Sampras was old school on his BH and stayed down, his game suffered.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2009
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  4. heretoserve

    heretoserve Rookie

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    "Sorry Vic. The future you predicted turned out to be pretty non-existent. Closed Stance, racket back at earliest moment, hit through the target line finishing with arm extended straight in front with the sword pointing straight up in the air." TeachesTennis

    Actually the swing IS two parts meaning that the swing does not start from the ready position. Vic does not reprimand for not getting a full backswing and says that when running long distances you need to pump your arms and run first. This is hard to see on the tour becuase the ball is comming in at 90 mph. I wont get into being in front of the rhythm and the natural tendency to conserve energy now. Serena actually does this very well. She also does not do the rap around much like Pete Sampras, Nadal and many other players on tour.

    "Vic forbids two tenets key to every professional swing today- a laid back wrist and a wrap around follow-through."
    Vic FORBIDS nothing. He's first to say there is no right or wrong way to hit a tennis ball. That's a disrespectful assumption.

    "As much as I loved Vic, little did he know this book would soon describe “Tennis for the Past.” No wonder my game and millions of others never felt natural or got much better as this became our perceived model. Every pro today lays their wrist back and delays their backswing as long as possible." TeachesTennis

    I have personally seen Vic make countless people who have been stuck at 3.5 for ten years into 4.5 players. This is considered by him to be his major accomplishments. There ar emany optical illusions and things that are not natural to do on a tennis court and Vic unbiased has helped to reveal those things.

    You should do some editing.
     
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  5. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    I haven't read whatever attacks this thread is in reference to, but having had some personal experience with Braden, I 2nd what the OP in this thread is saying.

    I don't agree with all of Vic's theories, but he has contributed ENORMOUSLY to tennis on all level's AND he has been at the forefront of getting real data. He is also one of the VERY few, forward/independent -thinking pros/gurus.

    I can vouch that he SINCERELY likes to help people when he can, even if he receives no gain from it.
     
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  6. teachestennis

    teachestennis Rookie

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    I will do so, I meant how Braden taught at the time, and he said such at the time, but I will make Vic's contributions more clear and that I still read Vic today. This is why I am fishing for accurate defense and portrayal of such figures. My own swing was ruined by Jack Groppel, who took one look at my emulating Bjorn Borg and he and two coaches shamed me on the spot. I even have a pic of me hitting open stance from the baseline with my racket parallel to my leg in 1975 in a local newspaper taken when I won what is equivalent to a 5.0 tournament. I then learned to swing like Stan Smith and lost any hope of tennis scholarship when I just about had one in the bag. I guess I wonder how different things would be for me if certain very prominent "gurus" had not told me that "we believe science will prove that Oscar's claims have no merit." The only science that matters in tennis is whether a method gets the masses to play tennis, and nothing in the USA promoted so far has. Every year they tout one million more people playing tennis blah blah blah blah. Racket sales are up, blah blah blah. Well, the only number that matters is how many people that take up tennis today are playing five years later.

    Braden has evolved, and you are correct, he is at the edge right now, and I should admit that I still read him and find him interesting though I am not sure braintyping works for tennis players. Fighting spirit such as Jimmy Connors is not so easily defined. I grew up in East St. Louis near the Connors family and we never lived far from then, Jimmy even being a student at Belleville East HS where my dad taught. I thus followed them closely and even taught tennis at the famous Triple A club where Jimmy's grandmother and mother often played. I have taught tennis next to John Connors and know some things that are not easily known in public portrayals through press and media, such as the various St. Louis teachers Gloria took him to looking for help before she decided to take him out to Gonzalez. I think Jimmy is a perfect case of being a product of the 3 factors of The Talent Code and was no physical specimen by any means. His older brother was a much better athlete. But Jimmy had ignition, deep practice, and master coaching. You can have all the great genetic potential in the world and one piece of false data in tennis and you are done. I wonder how many people I ruined in tennis, and I was a below the radar tennis pro, but I ruined a thousand players at least pushing Groppel's 1984 Advanced Tennis Fundamentals "premises" on people. I'm pretty careful as a coach now on court to never tell a student what to do, just show them what pros do and uses simple analogies. Last night I had first time students ages 17, 42, and 55 who had been taking lessons for years and just not gotten any better. All three went off the court shocked and amazed to know what it felt to hit like a pro in form and efficiency and I got tips from both adults and from the father of the teenage. All will be 4.0 players very shortly and the kid will be a 5. 0 player if he sticks with MTM (doesn't have to stick with me) by the spring boys tennis season. How different things would be if I had been told to look at Oscar Wegner and test the data. Oscar has never told me to be skeptical of any coach or any theory; only to test the data versus his Power of Simplicity. Bud Collins is 2003 praised Oscar Wegner at Wimbledon, the first prominent name I ever heard do so. I then tested the data for a year and in July 2004 I converted 100 per cent to teaching per MTM tenets and not a student has ever wanted to go back to their old coach or way of learning. That is why I'm so loyal to MTM.

    That is why I posted these excepts on line. I want to be as accurate as possible before I publish it in book form. I am trying to give Burwash credit for a rumor I heard that he even tried to get Eve Kraft, who just opposed Oscar in everything he did, to hold a forum on the efficafy of the Open Stance forehand in the late 1970s. That is valuable info. Burwash is the only guy I can find that by 1980 teaches tennis by feel, he just didn't see the windshield wiper technique but he observed from his days on tour that open stance was used a lot.

    Thanks for the help; I will reedit and send it to you for verification today. I do have a soft spot in my heart for Braden given he was such a huge part of my tennis life and I used to laminate his teachings and put them in bottom of my ball basket so I could repeat every step as he taught it to my students. And Susan Nardi confirms everything you are saying about his work now, I already knew about the tennis ambassadorship since she is in touch with him, but I still have to point out Tennis For the Future did not turn out to be such. Maybe Vic is there in the right direction now; however, who knows? No one, including Vince Spadea Jr. who was a child student and a student of Oscar's just before turning pro even thought Oscar's book would sell based on what Vince and his father were hearing from other coaches. I really wish he would contact Oscar. I find it odd that none of the "gurus" ever meet with Oscar for a sharing of ideas nor has there ever been an interview by Bodo, Wortheim, or Tennis Magazine. What's the worst that could happen if someone like Vic met with Oscar, who is as nice as Vic is, apparently, and has a humility that surprises people? Oscar is about to come out with five more DVDs on his new Tennis into the Future series. He is about to go out on a line. Will he be wrong? He has a pretty good track record.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2009
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  7. blakesq

    blakesq Professional

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    I know Vic Braden better than you, nanny nanny poo-poo!


     
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  8. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Next time you speak to him, inform him Sampras' toss was higher than the contact point.

    Tell him, Drakulie says, "wuzz up"?
     
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  9. El Diablo

    El Diablo Hall of Fame

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    This thread answers the questions nobody asked, and doesn't answer to one that was on our minds -- is Vic walking around with oatmeal on his chin these days?? One more question -- why does a "selfless man" with "no self-serving goals" charge $70 for a DVD? I detect some profit margin.
     
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  10. eagle

    eagle Hall of Fame

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    He teaches at the Orchid up the road from where are.

    I've never met him but my wife has taken a group session from him earlier this year.

    My wife actually has never heard of him before. :) She played tennis when she was young and picked up the game again three years ago and has been to at least three sectionals since.

    At any rate, she said that he seemed to have a breadth of knowledge and wealth of information about the game. Very lively and personable. She however was dissapointed that he spent more time delivering theories off the court than on the court.

    And yes, lessons are cost prohibitive to most.

    r,
    eagle
     
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  11. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Glad to hear Vic is well, and still cutting edge.
    I only got to meet him once when he gave a clinic at a local club before a Champions Tour match. He was exceedingly gracious, and hung around chatting about his research in sports psychology. Truly fascinating. And such a nice man.
     
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  12. teachestennis

    teachestennis Rookie

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    Hi heretoserve, Now you see exactly why I posted and asked for help such as yours so I can get such updates, that is the real reason I'm hanging around here when I could be making money, research is a tedious job sometimes. I got rained out today in lovely Edwardsville, IL (right across from St. Louis) so I dont' have to go on court and will email you privately my new summary on Braden before I post it so you can give feedback. I have decided to Make Part 4 of the History "Where Are They Now" and I will note many of the things you mentioned in Post #1 and give Vic his due. I will however, might even mention the price of his DVDs since I mention Nick's price for Tennis in a Can. I will also add the very noteworthy accomplishment of 3.5 to 4.5 as being his personal pride, because actually, I can vouch for that even with some of my students when I taught Vic's system. I just could never figure out how to get them past 4.5, but that statement by Vic makes me respect him even more. Very cool.

    Also, Oscar is pretty selfless himself and since he is ignored by major tennis media in the USA, no one knows what he does behind the scenes. His tennis work in the inner city in Miami brought him protection from the "gangs." I can tell you when I brought him to St. Louis for much of a year, we used to go for free into parking lots with fire engines to attract a group of inner city kids, set up nets, and then just teach them to rally within fifteen minutes. He always went where asked, no matter if it was free. I have even seen satellite pros take lessons from Oscar and their parents feel guilty that Oscar only charges a bit more than the going rate in whatever city he is in when they had paid Bollettieri $600 per lesson (I think Nick charges $800 an hour now). Oscar spends much of his time just training coaches via phone and emails, all for free, which I now help him do. Oscar is a lot more humble than people think or know, I can vouch for that.

    I once asked him why he does not coach pros given I know he has had offers and opportunities people can only dream of. He always said, "anyone can coach a pro or a player who has reached that athletic level as long as you don't introduce false data....I teach a player, I reach one player....I teach a coach....I reach all his players....I teach a thousand coaches, I reach countless players."

    And he sells 7 DVD titles averaging 50 minutes and a 2006 book published by McGraw Hill for $99 total. Not much profit margin there versus what other units cost.

    So I'll email you privately with my new Vic summary, please review my comments, and feel free to make sure I get Vic's story correct. Appreciate it very much.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2009
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  13. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    You are so full of BS man it is insane. Who the hell are you?

    I coached for Vic Braden and there isn't a more selfless man on the planet. In a sport full of egos and BS, Vic stands head and heels above them all. Did I agree with everything he said? Absolutely not. Just like I don't agree with everything Oscar King Cry-on says.

    A dedicated man to his family and his wife. A man who truly loves the gameof tennis.

    Quit thinking for a minute that Oscar Dipwad has a corner on the market on how to teach tennis. You are way out of line and I will make it my pleasure to ensure that everyone here understands that your only agenda is to trash those that helped build this game for your marketing plan.

    Get over it dude!! The USPTA doesn't endorse anyones method which is why Oscar cries all the time and runs like a coward when shown examples and evidence. the USPTA does not force any coach to teach tennis a certain way or their way. That isn't the USPTA's way. The USPTA offers tons of classes on the modern tennis stroke which you leave out to promote your stupid agenda which is well beyond the little pictures you shown to get your point across. Further, you only showed the forehand!

    Your disrespect for those that have helped pioneer and build this game is exactly like your fearless leader. Everything will change and everything will evolve. The game has evolved and coaches other than your precious nutcase is teaching players how to hit the ball better than Oscar Finkleheimer.
     
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  14. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Good job Heretoserve.

    Great post. I have had the pleasure to coach for Braden and it was a blast. Great man, loves the sport of tennis and has helped millions play the game.

    It is really too bad that Oscar Wegner followers (and Oscar himself) like to trash those that helped build this game.

    They trash them because they so depserately want to be recognized as the only and premier way to teach tennis.

    You and I know that anyone who promotes just their way is more full of BS than anyone combined.

    Hats off to you and you are right, Vic Braden is a class act and an excellent role model to kids and adults on family.

    Thanks, I appreciated reading your post.
     
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  15. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Good post.

    I don't see why Braden supporters would be so defensive and attacking at the same time?? They don't like when Braden's methods are questioned or judged, even though that is exactly what he did with all his tennis myths teaching.
    But then even though they don't like folks to challenge Braden, they want to turn and attack Oscar??? I too have had dealings with Vic and find him to be an exceptional man. I don't find his instructional approach to be the best though. IMO.

    For years I had been scared off from Oscar's teaching and avoided it, due to all the mis-info that is put out there about him, but eventually came to realize that so much of his tennis vision has come to fruition on the pro tour. So I looked deeper and found that the mis-info was just twisting or not understanding of teachings by detractors. He MAY have the best overall approach to developing a player.
     
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  16. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Really? Are you speaking out of your _ _ _ again?

    I just went on record that I dont agree with everything Braden taught and if someone posted and said, "Braden said this", if it was something I didn't agree on I would tell them and provide my answer.

    Why is it that you keep entering topics that you are clueless about?

    Now this is showing your stupidity. So, it was us that attacked Oscar. It was us that wrote articles against Braden because he didnt want to endorse a certain way to teach tennis. It was poor ol Oscar Wegner sitting behind the scense all defensless.

    So the OP writes in defense of Braden and it his fault? Are you kidding? Do you always get posts and stories wrong? Has Vic Braden ever attacked Oscar?

    Come on know it all, bring it.

    For years you have been scared off? Are you some kind of momma boy? There is nothing wrong with Oscars teaching. Do you get that?

    There are a few things that are questinable and Oscar has been questionned on them. However, he doesn't want to answer them and admit he needs to adjust his thinking and propoganda.

    A player can learn from Oscar all day long. However, when an Oscar follower begins to bash other coaches and throws them all into a boat and puts an antuquated book in their hands and says "SEE! I TOLD YOU THEY TEACH OLD TENNIS!! I AM THE WAY, I AM THE TRUTH, I AM THE LIGHT!! NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER BUT THROUGH ME!!!!"

    Yeah, keep spreading your nonsense and protect poor lil Oscar. Dont you think this is a topic over your head? If not, carry on.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2009
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  17. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Once again, we are not talking about King Oscars tennis teaching methods. We are talking about his marketing methods.

    Oscar has not been accepted as the sole way to teach tennis by the USPTA. So, becuase of that, Oscar got angry.

    Since then, he has been on a secret mission to defame and displace all coaches that don't teach his way.

    In the meantime, innocent and good coaches that teach and believe similarily but may teach a bit differently are the enemy of Oscar. If you teach differently in the slightest way, Oscar will be against you. He will not acknowledge you at all and will throw you in the boat with everyone else.

    There are no shades of gray with Oscar, it is either his way or the highway.

    Although, I dont have a problem with the majority of Oscar tennis training except for a few areas, I do have a big problem with his marketing efforts.

    Now, here is the kicker, all of you know me as someone who speaks my mind and doesn't hold back. You also know I am a straight shooter and am not afraid to get in anyone's face that I feel is not quiet telling things right.

    I will not dish Oscars instruction. Another way of teaching tennis is always good to have. However, just because it is a certain way to teach does not mean there is no weakness in certain areas being taught! A person of common sense will realize there is no such thing as a "perfect" way to teach tennis. However, there are better ways and good ways to teach tennis. Oscar has labelled him self as the Father of Modern Tennis. He is anything but that.

    He is a tennis teacher that has his own way to teach tennis. He teaches current strokes and techniques. He has his way of teaching it. Other coaches that don't use Oscar's methods also teach current strokes and techniques. They incorporate footwork in much the same way as Oscar does. These coaches probably have never seen or it has been a long time since they have seen the tennis manual the USPTA provides that Oscar wants you to believe these coaches are immersed in.
     
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  18. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

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    I had a chance to speak with Vic at length at Indian Wells this year. He's the man and one heck of a coach. Hands down one of the best that's ever lived.
     
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  19. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    I remember reading Braden's stuff back in the 1980s. I didn't always agree with Braden then, but I always enjoyed reading his stuff.

    I'm actually a fan of the low ball toss. Goran had a good serve with a low toss and Roddick's toss is dropping, but he hits it well with a low toss. But obviously, some people can serve well with a sky-high toss. I just think that makes the timing and toss accuracy issues more difficult.
     
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  20. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Good honest response. I remember talking to Vic (with another pro) about some of his thinking and drills for a certain area. We did not agree at all but we agreed to disagree.

    Vic is a great man but he can be as stubborn as hell. He will always treat you with respect which is something that is hard to find. I remember being asked to teach at his clinic, I was so excited. However, when I was there I felt I was a nobody and all these other people were absorbing his time.

    Then one morning I was walking towards the courts and Vic was walking up towards me. When he passed by he called me by my name and said "keep up the good work coach." Man, o, man, he knew my name? He called me by my first and last name. Then called me "coach"! I was stunned! "Wow", I said to myself.

    I got to tell you, I will obviously never ever forget that. I haven't talked to Vic in a long time. On facebook, I saw him on it. I reached out as a friend to him thinking it has been many years and he probably doesn't remember me. He did. He again, called me by my name.

    The guy is a class act. To defame him like Oscar does is a shame. Perhaps Oscars ways are better. Perhaps Oscar has cornered the market on tennis teaching, however, to defame a person that has been loved and respected by milllions not only for his knowledge of tennis but for his character, is just a shame.

    I hope one day Oscar realizes his error. It isn't in his instruction or teaching methods, it is in his effort to promote his instruction above all else. It his effort to defame honest hardworking coaches that didn't have half of the knowledge and technology we have today.
     
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  21. eagle

    eagle Hall of Fame

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    Most folks have enough sense to ferret out the good tips from the bad ones. Even if they don't, they'll likely drop the bad tips when they eventually realize it is not working for them.

    At least that is what I do. Lots of tips and techniques coming from every direction and various sources. It's really up to us to personally discern which ones we can realistically apply to our game and benefit from and toss aside those that won't work or aren't a match to our game.

    Examples for me?
    - Tip that worked for me. I learned from a past coach AFTER assessing my serve motion and timing. Higher toss for better serve timing. He didn't try to change my serve. He simply offered to adjust my toss to improve my serve percentage. Much simpler fix than changing the serve motion or positioning. This works for me but not for others.
    - Tip that didn't work for me. Full western grip. Tried this grip to modernize my game. I was at a loss. Didn't take me long to chuck this. :)

    So, I keep an open mind and am always willing to learn. I just hope I'm smart enough to pick the right tips. :)

    r,
    eagle
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2009
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  22. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Exactly right. For me lower toss better timing. Braden, Oscar, and others all have things we can learn from. Each may have a different angle. Each may have taught in a different era. Each needs to be respected.
     
    #22
  23. teachestennis

    teachestennis Rookie

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    why do you say Oscar defames Vic? I've never known that to be true. Oscar and I have shared some of Vic's recent stuff and talked about it. No two coaches agree. I teach the reverse forehand to beginners; Oscar thinks I'm nuts doing it so early but as long as I get results, he doesn't tell me not to do so. I also use a lot of other coaches stuff on top of MTM; I certainly don't view him as the only solution and I just got done rereading Braden's TEnnis for the Future because I'm trying to improve my tiny tot teaching.

    Please don't misrepresent my views, Bill. I only seek to join a grassroots cause to help simplify tennis instruction. I want to honor Vic for his contributions, but I also have to note that no one was teaching open stance FH emphasis with a windshield wiper and a butt cap over the shoulder finish until Oscar came along. I proved Oscar was not the first coach to teach "waiting;" Tom Stow in 1948 taught pausing, which Oscar says is a great term and was very impressed by Stow's writing.

    5623, who coached two kids from scratch to D1 scholarships and might know a little about tennis instruction, gave the best succinct definition I have heard of what MTM really is: It observes what works best, rather than change it, it studies it, and then incorporates it, no matter where it came from. I teach the reverse forehand better because I studied Braden's skeletal analysis of Nadal and saw some insights I needed to emphasise regarding why it worked so well. I even hit with a reverse forehand beautifully and part of the credit goes to Braden.

    Oscar does not call himself the father of modern tennis. That was a title given to him by others and even Ron Waite, a very well respected coach and current tennis photographer for the pro tour, called him the "forerunner" of modern tennis. Oscar does admit he made mistakes but then who doesn't.

    I have to go jump on court for a bit but then I'll finish off the Braden tribute and get it posted in the History once teachtoserve validates it.
     
    #23
  24. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    I teach the reverse as well and can do it faster than you, I win again. Oh wait, I am probably looking at the USPTA manual to do so. Shame on me. However, I can still teach it faster than you so I still win.

    I am not misrepresenting your views. I am exposing them. I am stating my position which happens to be against you. Too bad, get used to it.

    And I already know that it is a title given to him, however, it is a title he accepts and my records show it is from a different person. Maybe Waite thought it was "designated" to him and Oscar simply and arrogantly accepted it in disrespect for other coaches. Here is a quote from Oscar's very own webpage. Now, why would Oscar allow this to be promoted if he didn't agee with it on his own site?????? Care to comment Einstein? I know you have some twist to this:

    "Oscar's coaching concepts have had tremendous impact globally, earning him, from Brad Holbrook, host/producer of the Tennis Television Show in the USA, the designation of "the father of modern tennis".

    And here is the arrogance of it all:
    "Very different from conventional tennis teaching, Oscar's techniques are mostly unknown in the USA."

    Anyone can see this promotion and desgination supported by Oscar himself on his very own website.
    http://www.tennisteacher.com/About.htm

    And did Oscar really change the sport of tennis or does he like to think he has? Here is what is written about the snake.

    "From carefully extrapolating those basics from the best players of all time, he found that tennis was an easy sport to learn He called his system Modern Tennis Methodology."

    Intersting, I also teach the basics from the pros but never have looked at his information. I also know many many others that teach the modern game that I even learned from that never saw his information. Could it just be that everyone saw that the game of tennis was evolving since Agassi and all started to rewrite the training? They each developed their own methods, drills, and exercises and Oscar really isn't the Father of Tennis??? Here is more Mr. Historian.

    "Today, everyone in the pros and top junior tennis play per the tenets in accordance with Oscar’s principles. His first book Tennis in 2 Hours ended up in Russia in Dec 1989 and marveled Russian Coaches who quickly adopted this book’s principles for their player development. November 2004, the USPTA announced the application of those same principles for a five year phase out of conventional tennis teaching."

    Wow, so the USPTA saw Oscars' stuff and said holy cow, we need to change? Or maybe it is because of the hundreds of members that kept asking for the USPTA to update its material and the resources availlable and the direction was not in a position to do so? Or maybe politics played in like any other organization. Point is, no coach worth their salt is going to blindly obey the tennis manual for the USPTA.

    Are you going to answer the 1926 picture question(s) I provided? Did you include those in your little biased history write-up?
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2009
    #24
  25. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    My understanding is that Oscar was labeled as the father of modern tennis by another very respect tennis personality, NOT labeled himself.

    But either way, above you make the greatest point for Oscar. Very well said.

    Oscars methods are the ones in his manual. Not like the USPTA with a manual saying one thing, but teaching many others.
     
    #25
  26. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Well, you finally got something right. However, you are believing your boyfriend and not thinking on your own like you normally don't do. Still though he has not refuted it has he? I see it posted on his website dont I? Duh? he has not said,

    "you know guys, I appreciate the compliment but I must decline as there are other coaches with their own methods that see the game like I do. Plus, a lot of the strokes I teach have been around for quite sometime. I am only trying to make the instruction available to the masses. I along with other coaches in the USPTA and PTR see the game has changed since technology has changed. There are other coaches that are making the same push. The sport of tennis is growing."

    I am so sorry, did I read or hear that from Oscar? Or is it just that he doesn't want to and wants people to think he is the Father of Modern Tennis for his own marketing campaign. Perhaps, he mentioned it to the television hosts out of thin air and they asked him if they could use it on TV. Did he deny it?

    Here we go again with stupid misleading statements. The USPTA doesn't subscirbe to one method of teaching and it shouldn't. It leaves it open to the pro to develop their methods and style from the vast resources available to him and I am glad.

    It does not endorse, promote, or get behind one way of teaching. Which is why Oscar is all pee'd. However, even without Oscar and if the USPTA did, I would file a complaint and so would many others.

    If a pro wanted to use Oscars way of teaching and get certified, the USPTA would not deny him. The USPTA serves as a resource to tennis coaches that choose to get certified under the USPTA. It doesn't have just one resource, it has many because there are many types of coaches and styles of teaching.

    You obvious have no clue what you are talking about. Stick to doubles.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2009
    #26
  27. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Good, I'm glad I got something right, lol.

    I think these are interesting points you make.
     
    #27
  28. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Here is an agenda for the USPTA Eastern:


    [FONT=GillSansMT,Bold]THE 2007 USPTA EASTERN DIVISION ANNUAL CONVENTION[/FONT]
    [FONT=GillSansMT,Bold][FONT=GillSansMT,Bold]Wednesday, May 16[/FONT][/FONT]7:30 a.m. Registration (Complimentary Bagels, Juice, Coffee)

    8 a.m.-noon



    [FONT=GillSansMT,Bold][FONT=GillSansMT,Bold]SPECIALTY COURSE [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=GillSansMT,ItalicI0][FONT=GillSansMT,ItalicI0]“Teaching Today’s Tennis to Yesterday’s Students,” [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=GillSansMT,Bold][FONT=GillSansMT,Bold]Brett Hobden[/FONT][/FONT]
    9 a.m.-10:30 a.m.


    [FONT=GillSansMT,ItalicI0][FONT=GillSansMT,ItalicI0]“TBA,” [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=GillSansMT,Bold][FONT=GillSansMT,Bold]Luke Jensen [/FONT][/FONT]10:30 a.m.-noon

    [FONT=GillSansMT,ItalicI0][FONT=GillSansMT,ItalicI0]“Make More Money “([/FONT][/FONT]A roundtable discussion of tennis business ideas) [FONT=GillSansMT,Bold][FONT=GillSansMT,Bold]Bill Mecca [/FONT][/FONT]Noon-2 p.m.

    [FONT=GillSansMT,BoldB0][FONT=GillSansMT,BoldB0]Manufacturer’s Trade Show and Luncheon [/FONT][/FONT](Compliments of the USPTA Eastern Division) 1-2 p.m.

    USPTA Eastern Division Women’s Committee Meeting 2-3:30 p.m.

    [FONT=GillSansMT,ItalicI0][FONT=GillSansMT,ItalicI0]“TBA,” [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=GillSansMT,Bold][FONT=GillSansMT,Bold]Tom Gullikson [/FONT][/FONT]3:30-5 p.m.

    [FONT=GillSansMT,ItalicI0][FONT=GillSansMT,ItalicI0]“Your Pro Voice,” [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=GillSansMT,Bold][FONT=GillSansMT,Bold]Kirt Zitscke [/FONT][/FONT]5-7 p.m. USPTA Eastern Division

    [FONT=GillSansMT,BoldItalicBI0][FONT=GillSansMT,BoldItalicBI0]“Playtime/Prize time Round Robin” [/FONT][/FONT]All Welcome. 8-11 p.m.

    [FONT=GillSansMT,Bold][FONT=GillSansMT,Bold]USPTA Eastern Division Awards Dinner Party [/FONT][/FONT](Compliments of the USPTA Eastern Division) [FONT=GillSansMT,Bold][FONT=GillSansMT,Bold]Thursday , May 17[/FONT][/FONT]8-9:30 a.m.

    [FONT=GillSansMT,ItalicI0][FONT=GillSansMT,ItalicI0]“36/60 Tennis,” [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=GillSansMT,Bold][FONT=GillSansMT,Bold]Kirk Anderson [/FONT][/FONT](Courtesy of the USTA) 9:30-11 a.m.

    [FONT=GillSansMT,ItalicI0][FONT=GillSansMT,ItalicI0]“Steps to Developing Elite Tennis Players” [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=GillSansMT,Bold][FONT=GillSansMT,Bold]Andy Brandi [/FONT][/FONT](Courtesy of Prince) 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

    [FONT=GillSansMT,ItalicI0][FONT=GillSansMT,ItalicI0]“Conventional vs. Modern Tennis/Your Choice” [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=GillSansMT,Bold][FONT=GillSansMT,Bold]Oscar Wegner [/FONT][/FONT]12:30-1:30p.m.

    [FONT=GillSansMT,Bold][FONT=GillSansMT,Bold]USPTA Cardio Tennis Fast-Feeding Shootout (Winner earns $250) [/FONT][/FONT]12:30-1:30 p.m.


    [FONT=GillSansMT,Bold][FONT=GillSansMT,Bold]USPTA National Seminar Contest (Present a topic; if selected as the winner, you will receive[/FONT][/FONT]


    [FONT=GillSansMT,Bold][FONT=GillSansMT,Bold]an airline ticket and a hotel room for two nights at the 2007 USPTA World Conference) [/FONT]
    [/FONT]1-5 p.m.



    [FONT=GillSansMT,Bold][FONT=GillSansMT,Bold]USPTA Pro Upgrades [/FONT][/FONT]4-5 p.m. [FONT=GillSansMT,BoldB0][FONT=GillSansMT,BoldB0]Tennis Across America™ Clinic[/FONT][/FONT]



    There is no set method the USPTA promotes or endorses. This is what pisses Oscar off. I wonder if the cocky guy had his nose in the air when the other coaches were speaking.

    It is inappropriate for Oscar and his followers to label coaches that dont use his method as ones that are anchored to old teaching and the USPTA manual. It is false propoganda. Oscar is solely concerned with his empire and nothing else. He has a secret, subtle, and devious agenda to dethrown anyone that doesn't accept him as god. The arrogant fool.​
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2009
    #28
  29. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    What is your point about this picture?
     
    #29
  30. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    The point is the "kiss the elbow" way of hitting has been around for decades and is not something the Father of Tennis invented. If anything he is not the Father of Tennis at all but the guy in the picture demonstrating the technique. Whether that means something to you it doesn't matter to me, he is a fraud either way.
     
    #30
  31. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    He never claimed to invent a FH did he?
    He told me he observed the greats doing things that worked very well and put these things together in a teaching system.
    I guess you could say he "developed" a teaching system using various technique that is observed to work well. He also continues to update as well and seems very open to look at new things.
    I understand you have had some bad experience related to this, and that you don't appreciate him now. That is normal I guess.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2009
    #31
  32. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    But he also assumed the designation of Father of Tennis. Why doen't he just say he doesn't like that title becuase of the many great players and coaches that have come before him?

    You mean he developed "a" teaching system.

    You are exactly right on that one.
     
    #32
  33. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    meant to say-
    I guess you could say he "developed" a teaching system using various techniques that is observed to work well.
     
    #33
  34. heretoserve

    heretoserve Rookie

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    WOW! Vic would be happy to know that so many people still appreciate him.
     
    #34
  35. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    I am in 100% agreement with you. And because he did, he is under the same microscope as others that developed a teaching system as well. People will take the good and the not-so-good. Not to say that Oscars instruction is mostly bad. I am just saying someone like me or the other coaches will take stuff of value for their lessons and leave the things they already have for lessons. Which is my other point, there are many ways to teach footwork, strokes, etc...

    There are two things that I use in my lessons from Oscar - volleys and the walk backward and hit the ball. That is excellent stuff.

    The stuff I leave behind? The "find" the ball stuff and the prepare when the ball bounces. Just not even close to grabbing that for my lesson.

    The rest I dont agree with has nothing to do with his lessons or tennis teaching, it has to do with his marketing and the outside stuff that surrounds him.

    That is all it is. I know I get emotional about this because I really dont like someone telling others that coaches besides himself are out of touch or that he is the only one that teaches the modern stroke of has "the secrets" to it. I think that is pretty arrogant when you consider some of the great coaches today and yesterday.

    Plus, it is tough to dish a coach from the past. They were in a different set of circumstances, had different tecnology to work with and tennis was still in its infancy back then. Even now, it has a lot of growing up to do.

    Would I agree that US tennis is behind? Or is a hodge podge of good and poor instruction? Absolutely. However, coaches are smart enough (many of them at least) to drop the bad and keep the good and many teach modern tennis and use techniques, drills, and exercises to compliment this. You know this so I dont know why I am telling you this.

    Wegner is right about something else. Many coaches although they dont teach old technique, still make the learning portion a bit difficult. However, I dont think this is the fault necessarily of the instruction. I think a lot of it is the coach himself and his communication skills.

    Look at it this way, even Oscars troops get his instruction wrong or misinterpret what he meant. This is a common occurrence in all instruction.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2009
    #35
  36. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, he is a great man for a stubborn Welch! ;) Kathy, who developed the Operation Doubles site and passed away recently would say the same.
     
    #36
  37. onehandbh

    onehandbh Hall of Fame

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    ^^^ interesting discussions regarding tennis instruction.
    I personally don't know Oscar's methodology, but there is a
    Wegner devotee/instructor who posts on craigslist almost
    every day here in socal.

    There's a picture of him in his post hitting his
    one hand backhand. Sort of a unique wrist position.

    http://losangeles.craigslist.org/lac/act/1341820267.html
    http://www.tennislessonsla.com/html/what-i-do.php

    Here is the website he always links:
    http://www.tennislessonsla.com/html/


    btw, just by coincidence, I happened to be hitting one day
    on the court next to him and got a chance to witness some
    of his teaching and also watch him hit a little bit.
    He actually has testimonials on his website along with contact info for the people vouching for him.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2009
    #37
  38. heretoserve

    heretoserve Rookie

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    Well I know almost every player who looses in the first round of the U.S. Open will commit more unforced errors than winners.

    And that the average 3.5 club player hits about 13 errors for every one winner.

    Stats definitely show that your probably not going to make that cross court drop shot from behind your back from behind the baseline. Then say "GOD, I can't believe I missed that. I own that shot."

    I played div 1 college tennis as well as club tennis in Germany and can safely say. Make it easy for yourself first hard for you opponent second.

    My #2 Singles tactic principle for my kids is:

    Don’t Miss

    This tactic principle relates to the large amount of unforced errors committed in tennis. This statistic is vital, not just for club players, but players of all levels. Aside from working on fundamentals there are a number of ways you can reduce unforced errors.

    Hit most of your shots deep cross-court, where the court is four and a half feet longer and the net lower. Also, give yourself big targets by aiming four feet in from the singles line and the baseline. Finally, wait for a shorter off paced ball to attack or even direct to your opponent’s weaknesses.

    When you play, simply have the mentality of playing the court and not your opponent. You have to go for the best shot you know you can make, regardless of your opponent’s position.

    Don’t Miss Drills

    Simple cross-court groundstroke rallying is a great drill to practice consistency. This drill helps to build the steady, consistent attitude needed to keep more balls in play.

    When playing baseline games try to rally five balls in a row before beginning each point. As the average club player rally is 3 balls, this will give a good jump start on a consistent mentality.
     
    #38
  39. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

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    "Sorry Vic. The future you predicted turned out to be pretty non-existent. Closed Stance, racket back at earliest moment, hit through the target line finishing with arm extended straight in front with the sword pointing straight up in the air." TeachesTennis

    I recall reading an interview with Vic Braden some twenty or so years ago. In it, he confesses that he never really understood the forehand (so he probably taught what everybody else was teaching). Where Vic differed from other coaches in the 1970s and 80s was on the backhand.

    In that era there were virtually zero pros using the Eastern backhand grip -- everyone was hitting backhand groundstrokes with the serve/volley (i.e. continental) grip. That's why just about everyone with a one-handed backhand except Guillermo Vilas hit far more slice backhands than topspin. Even Rod Laver hit almost exclusively underspin when rallying with an opponent at the baseline. Backhand topspin was for passing shot; period.

    It was dogma that "Eastern Grips Are Best" so to avoid embarrassment, coaches redefined the eastern backhand grip to be the "virtually identical to the continental grip." But it was a lie. The true Eastern grips put the continental right in the middle between them.

    Braden broke with the crowd and stood alone in teaching _everybody_ -- not just rank beginners, to put their index knuckle solidly on top of the racket handle. (Not even Vilas turned his grip that much for the topspin backhand.) Nowadays most pros do that for hitting one-handed topspin backhands; Braden was the prophet.

    OK, so today they've made even more changes in technique. Well, Vic's book was titled _Tennis for the Future_ -- not _Tennis for Eternity_.
     
    #39
  40. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    To make sure I understand you,- Vic broke from the crowd and and actually taught the Dogma that Eastern grips ARE best on the backhand?

    Also so this implies that nearly all other instructors were repeating this dogma, but not actually teaching it?
    And Vic admitted he didn't understand the FH?

    JUst trying to make sure I get the points of your post correctly,
    thanks
     
    #40
  41. teachestennis

    teachestennis Rookie

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    At the suggestion of heretoserve, I am making some changes as he has brought up some good points about Braden and now you have another. Someone also suggested I should try to be a little more objective regarding personal opinion which I am taking a second look at. That is why I posted excepts to get to the truth and I intentionally try to walk a line and be a bit provocative to elicit such good points as you just made. I have found two books that advocate open stance forehands (one from 1903 and I am having Instant Tennis of 1962 shipped to me as we speak and yesterday Vic....yes, Vic is watching or hearing about this debate and I probably should contact him at some point as he is known never to refuse a chance to promote tennis..... joins this fray indirectly by writing about Dick Bradlee and I have to give credit to Vic for admitting he and Jack Kramer weren't impressed by Dick's demo of the open stance though the explantion of the heavy rackets doesn't make sense given pros have been hitting open stance since the earliest days. Bob Kraft of Hong Kong (www.tennisministry.org) has an amazing coaching resume, set up high school tennis in China, hired by PTR to go to China and set up the first PTR certification in Asia) told me on Skype the other day offering his opinion that pros probably played more open stance in the early days because there was not a ton of books written on instruction and if it's the most natural way to play, as Oscar claims, it made sense many people would find it by trial and error, given most people in those days didn't have nearly the access to books and no teaching media such as TV and internet, as well as tennis dogma telling them there is a preconceived way to swing.

    I will look at that issue of the backhand, also, and now that you mention it, though my FH was destroyed by the "gurus" my own backhand was pretty good because I did place my knuckle on top and I think it was because of Braden, my guru for so long......hmmmmmmm, I think you caught me there, lol. My article specifically deals with the FH stroke technique, which I do note. I am revising some of my comments and have posted a nice tribute to Vic in Part 4 in the Where are They Now section and have removed a few comments and tried to be a bit more objective.

    Vic is still stubborn on the neutral stance (which for years in tennis was called a closed stance). MTM doesn't forbid it, all pros use it at some point, but at that level you can do things that beginners and intermediates can't with a greater degree of success. In beginning stages we keep FHs open and then the neutral stance occurs incidentally and naturally as part of "stalking" or "tracking" the ball when moving in and attacking. MTM points out that it's all right to move the left foot forward as long as we don't conciously try to move the racket through the target line for a full shot.

    I have quoted Todd Martin and Kelly Jones as dealing with this issue and they both have better current track records than any of us, more than likely, and these two guys in my opinion should be on McEnroe's team. I know I'm going to recommend every player I can to attend Kelly's LMS Institute in Florida. One of our MTM coaches John Frausto is giving Kelly rave reviews for doing a great job with his#1 Wisconsin ranked 14 year old. Coaches should not have to redo the swing techniques of other coach's players, that is the problem in the USA. We should be building on them, but when you have grassroots coaches still claiming that you have to hit "through" the target line to get pace and coaches at the very top levels claiming that is bad data (and I'm not talking about Oscar), no wonder our juniors are confused.

    Keep the feedback coming, guys. I'll make the changes as you guys are getting to the truth! That is all I want for the USTA and the "gurus" to do. Test the data objectively and define a simple tennis methodology from day 1 to emulate and build the best biomechanical muscle memory that allows the greatest number of people to play tennis. That will allow more coaches to make a good living as players want to improve with good teaching and will pay for such, and then more coaches will help create and build more USA champions. But the players have to have the correct data, not contradictory data.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2009
    #41
  42. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    Anytime so-called gurus of tennis establish a idyosyntric belief, (believing that certain patters are absolute, or, believing that their methods are more perfect than others), a wall goes up between them and others. It cascades further when some players become "followers" (blindly or otherwise) of that particular pattern of teaching, not just lamenting the virtures of the individual but loudly (sometimes) supporting the content with minimal experiences.

    This sets up difficulty in discussing any point simply because now we have subjective opinions and emotions that are dependent not on true understanding but based on personal feelings and limited experience.

    I won't go into my own findings, (based on teaching 37 years, working with such pros as Vic Braden, Bruce Smith, (my father), Craig Harter, and having worked with several top 20 world-ranked players, 100's of state and divisional ranked juniors and even a couple top 10 nationally ranked senior players. On top of working with and gaining experience in working with these players, I've been fortunate to have listened to dozens of top world-class teaching pros, including pros I consider friends, John Yandell, Desmond Oon, Steve Johnson, and others pros whom I've listened to at conferences. (Namely Macci, Bolletteri, Landsdorp, Pfister, McLennan, Vantoff, DeHart, Hobden, and dozens of others.) However, I can tell you that there is value in all pros who truly have experience in dealing with the wide variety of learning and teaching experiences. Those who only teach a few players once a year, and then proclaim they understand how players learn and progress is simply under a false sense of experience. Likewise, pros who have only worked a few years or with only a few players don't have the depth of understanding of one who has worked for decades and with thousands. And, then there are those who have made their minds up completely and won't change any belief no matter how articulate, logical, and clear the different theory might be.

    Because I am able to work with thousands of players, over long periods of time, as well as having seen how other teaching patterns work (or don't work very well), I find that discussing things with others who are subjective in their criteria for understanding difficult and conterproductive.

    What I'm trying to say is that it takes an open mind, less of an aggressive stance, a willingness to listen and not take things out of context.

    When this is accomplished, we have real learning and real sharing.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2009
    #42
  43. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    I don't believe it was in the context of tennis, but I recall someone pointing out that it is extremely dangerous when someone names a technique after themselves, or becomes associated with a technique. The tendency is to reflexively defend it, even in the face of new evidence.

    Some of the arguments about which teacher is best remind me of those bad Kung-fu movies in which the monkey-style students fight the crane-style students to determine who has the best teacher.
     
    #43
  44. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    What a thought provoking post, but I can't be certain of your point. Most of us are well aware of your work and contribution to tennis, so little doubt you have some good perspective.

    But also surely you are not suggesting that Oscar's international experience is too thin to have gained perspective as well.

    And surely you see how the mixed messages of what is going on in US tennis is challenging to say the least, as well as how poor our results has been over the last decade. Even BB states that few of the Pros bother to use the manuals. Is that not proving most of the problem? Where is this big glut of talent that these great US coaches you cite have developed while the Russian and Spanish have done so much over the last decade? I'm not pointing to you or any other coach as an individual, but as a group, has there not been disappointing result for US tennis??
    Or are you trying to say that the US programs have got it cooking with gas these days and don't need some inspiration?
    I ask this in earnest and with respect to your big picture perspective.
    thanks,
     
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  45. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Good point about the Kung Fu movies, as to how they fight over who's system/style is better.
    But does the US even have a style or system? If I understand BB correctly, each is more or less doing his own thing with little regard to the manual or programs.
     
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  46. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    Two things: No, I'm not inferring anything about Oscar. I honestly haven't studied enough about his overall beliefs. I've watched a few DVD's and read his book...and, based on those, I feel that, like many others, he has many points that can be very beneficial. Like Braden, I have my reservations about a few things, but overall, no real distinction about all of Oscar's work. I've enjoyed talking to him on the phone a couple times and he has expressed a seemingly sincere appreciation for my books, which is most appreciated.

    The other thing is the issue of the US tennis program. If you have read my series on American Tennis on TennisOne, you will have a better grasp of my take on this issue.

    Personally, the problem with U.S. tennis, in a nut shell is this:

    1. A good majority of great American athletes don't view tennis as a challenging, viable sport to explore. Most players were introduced to tennis by parents...where most kids explore football, baseball, basketball, skateboarding, etc., on their own. Thus, at the pivotal years, most good athletes go out for those sports. Why this is can be many reasons; I personally believe that the USTA and other key tennis institutions are not presenting tennis in a favorable light. "Learn Tennis FAST" was the key marketing phrase for the USTA...how many good athletes are going to look at tennis from this slogan as tough, challenging, testing their abilities, and a sport that they can prove themselves in? When you appeal to the limited attention span, when you try to attract those who don't want to work hard for something, then you get what you marketed to...those who don't want it to take too long to learn or that it is too difficult to learn.

    A good example of this was seen in all the years (28) coaching high school tennis (while also working at tennis resorts). Among the 40 kids that came out each year, many were players cut from the baseball teams, most were just kids who didn't have a sport they liked or had played, and thought tennis would be good. While most of these kids were far from uncoordinated, they were even farther, in most cases, from the football quarterback, starting basketball players, or the star baseball players. We trained these kids to become exceptional tennis players for the most part...mainly because they had desire, (motivated either from within or from our motivational techniques) and they were taught a very proven method of learning the game. (Advanced Foundation as described in my book!).

    In Utah, I had the starting quarterback and starting guard from the basketball team come out for tennis his freshman year. Within 6 months, he was competing with several top-ranked juniors who had been playing for years. He was a great athlete and had a good work ethic. (Luckily, he didn't like baseball which was the same time of the year as tennis!) This kid went on to set the school records in tennis. Unfortunately, he had high aspirations for basketball...which, of course, went no where. Recently, his dad told me, (now that the kid is married with a kid on the way!), that his son wishes he had taken my advice to explore tennis in college instead of basketball. Live and learn!

    2. Other countries view tennis stars as national heros. Except for the commercial qualities of a Roddick, Williams, most American's couldn't tell you if they were right or left handed, played with one-handed or two-handed backhand, or even know what the four grand slams are!

    3. I will agree 100% that there is a great deal of ignorance and limited experience among top teaching pros in the U.S. If you go to any USPTA convention over the past 5 years, 90% of the speakers have been the same. There is a "good ol boy" network, it seems, in USTA tennis and USPTA tennis that I believe severly limits the opportunity to share greater insights.

    4. My belief regarding those pros I mentioned have a lot to offer, but also are limited by the depth of players that come to their programs. Even in mine, I seldom get great athletes and many don't come to tennis with that determined mindset of a Seles, Courier, et al.

    5. Probably the most important factor in the U.S. as well as other countries is that the main tenent of most books and even most teaching pros is to teach rudementary methods first, believing that most youngsters/beginning adults, can't learn more advanced methods first...or, that if you make it too challenging, they will quit. This produces millions of players who learn simple ways to get the ball over the net so they can "Play tennis today"...yet, they can't change later to more advanced methods because they always revert to their most comfortable methods.

    All of this is outlined in my two books. However, for the sake of discussion here, I thought I would share these points to ponder.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2009
    #46
  47. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

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    Yes -- bizarre, isn't it?

    Ever since Bill Tilden, it was dogma (in America, at least) that the only way to teach tennis was with Eastern grips. Grudgingly, they admitted that if you were a genius you could also win with the continental grip.

    However, Tilden put his index knuckle on top of the grip for his backhand drive, and his forehand grip was identical to that of Pete Sampras, and almost identical to that of Bjorn Borg. He put a distinct topspin on the ball, and wrapped the racket around his neck on the follow-through.

    After Tilden, American champions gradually began hitting their groundstrokes flatter, and gradually reduced the difference between forehand and backhand grips. Tilden described the grip change as a quarter circle; i.e., 90 degrees. Later teachers described the grip change as "an eighth to a quarter `turn'" -- without defining what a "turn" meant. (360 degrees? 180 degrees?) Eventually, even Rosewall described his grips as "eastern" even though his grip change was maybe a quarter of a bevel.

    Tennis teachers simply would not admit that any great pro's grips were anything but eastern. Whatever the top players were using, they called "eastern." I remember an article in a tennis magazine in 1974 analyzing Lew Hoad's flat/topspin backhand. Now, Lew Hoad used a continental grip, but American coaches did not want to admit that such a great player used anything but an eastern grip. So they called it eastern, and the article noted that Hoad contacted the ball even with his front foot. The next month a tennis teacher indignantly wrote in that this was bad advice; in the eastern backhand the ball is contacted a foot or two in front of the front foot.

    Idiots! Lew Hoad DID make contact even with his front foot, because his backhand grip wasn't eastern; it was CONTINENTAL!

    In fact, by that time no one (except maybe Nancy Richie Gunter) was using the eastern backhand grip; the last great male player who had done so was Tony Trabert back in the 1950s -- so coaches simply "redefined" the Eastern backhand and (falsely) claimed that "the eastern backhand is virtually identical to the continental grip." A how-to book that was (I presume) ghost-written for Billie Jean King claimed that she used the "eastern backhand grip" for all shots except the forehand groundstroke. Even for the forehand volley!

    Yes, teaching pros still demonstrated the authentic eastern backhand grip to beginners, but nobody stayed with it when they became any good, until Vic Braden began emphasizing the importance of staying with the _true_ eastern backhand grip so that players could rally with topspin. But his theory took quite a while to catch on.

    By the way, today's tennis writers do a similar thing. It has become the conventional wisdom that the "semi-western" is the best grip for forehand groundstrokes, so any great forehand they analyze will be described as having a semi-western grip, even if it is truly full-western -- as long as _someone_, anyone, has a grip that is more extreme. (If you can turn the racket over and hit backhands with the same side of the string bed without changing your grip, then it's WESTERN, with no "semi" about it. Case closed.)


    The business about Braden admitting not to understand the forehand is something I vaguely remember reading years ago. I believe Braden's backhand was indeed stronger than his forehand, and he believed that this would be true of any player who learned to hit the backhand properly (assuming they used one of the then-conventional forehand styles).

    To Braden's credit, he did publicize the fact that forehand topspin was achieved with a near-vertical racket face that was sharply rising. (Most people in the early seventies falsely believed that topspin was achieved by rotating the racket around the ball at contact.) Braden pointed out that this (the sharply-rising vertical racket-face) was true even of those players who turned the racket completely over during the follow-through (windshield-wipering). So even though Braden did not teach windshield-wipering, he was one of the first to accurately explain how it was done.
     
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  48. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    One other point I thought I would add: most teaching pros I know don't own more than a couple books on tennis and most don't read them nor do they prescribe to the great tennis web sites now available. Most go on and just keep doing what they've been doing.

    The problem with tennis...any pro can help a player SEEM to improve. The context of improve is the immediate perception of "getting better". However, this is such a subjective way to teach. If I hit a thousand balls to a student and just say, "Figure out how to get the ball over the net," I guarantee that they will figure out ways to bunt, push, jab, stab, flick, fling, hack, and dink a ball high enough, hard enough to clear the net...but not so high enough or hard enough to go out. This is like teaching a piano student to use their two index fingers to learn to play the piano. Sure, a song can be played today...chop sticks...I guarantee that a student who learns this way will not only get bored quickly, but will fail to reach their true potential on the piano, as well as never play the instrument the way it was designe to be played effectively. (unless they change the method they are learning.)
     
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  49. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    This is weird claim, though I'll admit that within my lifetime the definition of western and semiwestern seemingly has changed. Everyone used to talk about Borg's Western forehand, yet watching video today, he would be said to hit with a fairly standard semi-western.

    How do you define western? I've always believed it was a grip hit with the index knuckle on bevel 5 or between bevels 4&5.

    I can flip the racket from hitting with my knuckle on bevel 4 and hit a backhand with that same grip, though I prefer to have the knuckle on bevel one when hitting a backhand. I still call that grip a semi-western forehand.
     
    #49
  50. Wegner

    Wegner Rookie

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    For clarification. I have been informed that I am accused of badmouthing Vic Braden. Never have done so, on the contrary, Vic is one of the most likeable tennis personalities on the planet, and worthy of every praise. In his famous tips for Lipton Tea Vic was not only amusing but drew a lot of new people to play tennis. I met Vic in 1968 at Perry Jones office at the Los Angeles Tennis Club, when he was involved with Jack Kramer and his original Pro Tour. I have discussed tennis technique a few times with him, and we always had a friendly relationship and great respect for each other. I am horrified that some people talk without knowledge and try to introduce enturbulation and lies into a relationship between a great person like Vic Braden and myself.
    With my best wishes to Vic Braden and all the great teachers of the past, Oscar Wegner
     
    #50

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