Van der Meer or Braden? Who's the goof?

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
Okay, I admit that title is intended to be provacative. Here's my predicament:

I have an elevated bias AGAINST ... one of these two. But I cannot keep them straight in my mind. This prompts me to discount them both, which I know is not fair. So, please help me identify who is who....

One of these two "experts" used to publish tips on one of the Tennis Mags with a regular column. The tips were ridiculous.

I remember two specifically: In one "Tip" he advised taping a small cardboard circle in the center of your strings ... so the sound of the ball impacting it would let you know you were hitting the sweet spot.

In a Volleying tip he recommended you place your elastic headband around both elbows and hit volleys. This was supposed to help you NOT take a big backswing on your net shots.

Which one of these two authorities is the gimmicky goof ball who does these kinds of tips? I'd kinda like to keep up with the OTHER one. Thanks.

- KK
 

paulfreda

Hall of Fame
I have seen several Dennis Van DeMeer tapes and he loves these little gimmicks.
But I wouldn't poo hoo it so much. He is an excellent teacher but his European background makes him a bit corny and awkward sometimes.
 

Morpheus

Professional
What's the difference between these two; well one of them is short and pudgy and the other has a Dutch accent. They both give very basic lessons that sometimes sound goofy, but are usually helpful if you pay attention.
 

Mahboob Khan

Hall of Fame
Both are great in their own right. They have dedicated their entire life to tennis. We must give them credit. I have learned from both of them. I have great regards for someone who eats, drinks, sleeps tennis. Dennis is the President of USPTR. I have given them some plain recommendations to further improve their operations but they did not give a damn to whatever I have to say. They run the organization according to their own wisdom (or lack of it). But that will not diminish my respect to Dennis van der Meer.
 

NoBadMojo

G.O.A.T.
the difference is vanDerMeer runs a tennis factory and seems to be strictly mercenary and Vic Braden seems to be a great all around person with a huge passion for the game and has taken it upon himself to do all kinds of quantitative analysis about stuff like 'how long does the ball stay on the strings' and other stuff that many people wonder about. VicBraden has always also been great with the kids..he is goofy however, but i think has been great for the game, and like i said, vanDerMeer just runs a tennis factory and i have always thought of him as the opposite of VicBraden..kind of cold and unwelcoming.
 

FiveO

Hall of Fame
KK, I think you're being a little hard on one of these guys. After all, one of these coaches worked extensively with world class players and the other was one of, if not the first, to get into advanced video enhanced stroke analysis. If a particular tip was off base or misleading I think it may have been the fault of a mag editor, rather than that of either Braden or Van Der Meer.

IMO the gimmicky stuff was intended to appeal to the masses. It started during the tennis boom of the late '70's to early '80's when these quick tips targeted beginners, in a 60 second TV break instruction video or quarter page magazine article showing a sketch/photo accompanied by an easy-read paragraph on how to hit or fix a shot. Simple, fast, eye candy aimed at primarily the uninitiated and most likely "dumbed down" so as not to bore or scare beginners, away from tennis and back to tossing frisbees. I think some quick-tips are published to this day with that same editorial mind-set. I didn't agree with everything each one had/has to say, but I don't think either is a quack.
 

papa

Hall of Fame
Kaptain Karl said:
Okay, I admit that title is intended to be provacative. Here's my predicament:

I have an elevated bias AGAINST ... one of these two. But I cannot keep them straight in my mind. This prompts me to discount them both, which I know is not fair. So, please help me identify who is who....

One of these two "experts" used to publish tips on one of the Tennis Mags with a regular column. The tips were ridiculous.

I remember two specifically: In one "Tip" he advised taping a small cardboard circle in the center of your strings ... so the sound of the ball impacting it would let you know you were hitting the sweet spot.

In a Volleying tip he recommended you place your elastic headband around both elbows and hit volleys. This was supposed to help you NOT take a big backswing on your net shots.

Which one of these two authorities is the gimmicky goof ball who does these kinds of tips? I'd kinda like to keep up with the OTHER one. Thanks.

- KK
I'm not sure about the "cardboard thing" - seems a little crazy to me. However the volleying tip using an elastic headband seems ok. As a matter of fact someone (Coach Kriese ?) sells a device similar which is designed to do the same thing - unit turn, that type of thing. Can also use a bunjee cord to do the same thing. Although others might disagree, I think its a pretty good idea.
 
Karl,

Braden is a great guy. Not sure about DVDM

DVDM has had so many crackpot theories and errors in his instruction over the years and shows no sign of letting up. I do not believe you can be too harsh in criticizing DVDM as he has started and propagated myths....I think this is ultimately harmful to tennis in general.

Braden has a much more logical and scientifically rigorous methodology, I don't agree with all of his theories(he coached me) but he is one of the only coaches who tries to develop tennis models from science and theory and not just mimic the current pro flavour and develop theories and science to justify the current model. He is truly forward thinking in this way and his own popularity has suffered because he doesn't conform to the trends, but goes by the data and his own theories. He has also contributed much to the world's tennis knowledge.

He also get's a bad rap for being a coach only for beginners or intermediates...granted his lighthearted style and his products are geared towards intermediates as they make up the bulk of the market, but players of all levels would do well to listen to him, at least for some of the theory.
 

Tiger Paw

New User
go look at one of Vic's early videos and you will see a 4 year old Tracy Austin doing backhands you might only dream of... A lot of fun..
 

Bungalo Bill

G.O.A.T.
Kaptain Karl said:
Okay, I admit that title is intended to be provacative. Here's my predicament:

I have an elevated bias AGAINST ... one of these two. But I cannot keep them straight in my mind. This prompts me to discount them both, which I know is not fair. So, please help me identify who is who....

One of these two "experts" used to publish tips on one of the Tennis Mags with a regular column. The tips were ridiculous.

I remember two specifically: In one "Tip" he advised taping a small cardboard circle in the center of your strings ... so the sound of the ball impacting it would let you know you were hitting the sweet spot.

In a Volleying tip he recommended you place your elastic headband around both elbows and hit volleys. This was supposed to help you NOT take a big backswing on your net shots.

Which one of these two authorities is the gimmicky goof ball who does these kinds of tips? I'd kinda like to keep up with the OTHER one. Thanks.

- KK
Karl,

I dont know about this one. Both coaches have contributed a great deal of excellent material, instruction, and passion for tennis.

I have coached for Vic Braden and know him personally as he lives very close to me. He, his wife, and his daughter are great people that love the game and they continue to work in the sport. It takes a lot of energy to write books, articles, teach, etc...

With the amount of material they produce, they are not going to be "right" all the time.

A very close friend of mine who is an excellent coach has worked and known Braden for years longer then I have and also concurs that he is a great guy.

I dont know Van de Meer but from what I have heard other coaches tell me is he is a good person as well.

Not one of them I would say is a "goof ball". They know more about this game then anyone of us. It certainly doesnt mean I agree with everything or that every drill and mechanism they have invented is the next best thing to sliced bread. But they are visionaries and risktakers and have done good service for this sport.

I cannot comment on the first drill as it doesnt sounds like Bradens. The second one could be adopted by him but I am not sure. One thing I can say is the elbows close to the body to eliminate arm movement has been around a long long time.

Whether they use head bands, a device called the "Power Groove", or bungi cords to help faciliate shoulder turn on groundstrokes and volleys has been around a long long time.

You might want to rephrase your concern.
 

RonnieCorny

New User
i dunno if gimmicks and such are bad or not for majority of players... but for me, some of these gimmicks do help out as i seem to have an unclear mind about what stroke corrections are needed to improve my game until someone mentioned some gimmicks for me to try... like the use of only 2/3 fingers to grip the handle on practice serves to get used to wrist-snaps... putting the handle between the index finger and middle finger during light rallies to get used to semi-western (for top-spin) (this is from an oscar wegner spot on espn).
for me, some of these gimmicks are a godsend since they have helped me improve my strokes over time. (no, i don't serve with only 2/3 fingers on my racquet butt anymore nor do i play with the racquet between my index finger and middle finger anymore)...

I guess what i'm trying to say is that some of these gimmicks can help clarify basic mistakes for some people, but not for all...

just my $0.02.
 
RonnieCorny said:
putting the handle between the index finger and middle finger during light rallies to get used to semi-western (for top-spin) (this is from an oscar wegner spot on espn)......nor do i play with the racquet between my index finger and middle finger anymore)...
??? Are you saying that to get used to a semi-western you hold the racquet like a cigarette??!!! You said to put the handle BETWEEN the index finger and middle finger? How can that be? Please advise. Thx.
 

RonnieCorny

New User
Dedans,

no, it's meant to be that instead of the handle of the racquet going between the thumb and indx finger, it juts out between the index and middle finger... sorta like a clawed thing...
imagine if you don't have full use of your thumb, what would you use to keep the racquet in the normal position (or best approximation)...
this is from an oscar wegner spot on espn... i think they still sometimes show these spots on espn classic...
 

simon

New User
I don't know enough about either to declare who's the goof, but I just had to add that I can't help cracking up when I hear Van der Meer.

My girlfriend found an instructional tape of his at the library from the late 80s and we thought the tips were pretty good and nothing too goofy. The hilarious part was how he said "blinding speed" and the number of times he said it. I can't duplicate the accent here but rest assured it's become our catch phrase.

My goal is to get him to say "blinding speed" (we see him every once in a while around the courts).

Me: "Hey, Dennis...how would you judge that speed? Was it, say, blinding?"

DVM: "Why yes. A fine example of BLINDING SPEEEED!"

We recently won a free hour lesson at his place so it's my mission to track him down and pop the question.


simon


p.s. - sorry for the silliness. slow day at work.
 

Geezer Guy

Hall of Fame
I was at a big charity fundraiser last night, and who did I happen to run into but Dennis Van der Meer AND Vic Braden? I chatted with them briefly during the Meet-n-Greet - both very nice guys. However, it was obvious that they wanted to get off by themselves. As quickly as they could, they distanced themselves from the rest of the crowd and were talking quite ernestly about something. Occasionally one of them would raise his voice or throw his fist in the air (I'm not sure which - couldn't tell them apart). After this went on for awhile, I sidled up to them and listened in from behind the plants. They were discussing what to do about the "Captain Carl" issue - whatever that is. Said the guy is ruining their reputation. They each blamed the other for starting the whole thing. One of them said this "Carl" guy is a stalker, been following him for years and taking all his good ideas. At any rate, this went on for awhile and then they noticed that I was listening in and clamed up. So, I don't know where it'll go from here.
 

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
Well, I suppose that *is* better than that little ... mix-up ... back in '76. What bugged me about that newspaper piece was, even the reporter admitted that girl looked *at least* 25. (I mean, perfect makeup ... body "to die for" ...)

Umm.... Nevermind.

- KK
 

FiveO

Hall of Fame
KK,

I'm actually relieved to hear about the misunderstanding of '76 you recounted. I mean, you could say Braden and Van Der Meer are attractive men, I guess, but.........c'mon.
 

papa

Hall of Fame
Just wait until you get to be my age and your brain starts making commitments that your body can't keep.
 

tennis life

New User
The academy at Van der meer is excellent, and so is dennis. He has an accent and is REALLY hard to understand. He is a cool guy however, and he really loves tennis
 

Phil

Hall of Fame
tennis life said:
The academy at Van der meer is excellent, and so is dennis. He has an accent and is REALLY hard to understand. He is a cool guy however, and he really loves tennis
Speaking of accents, I've always thought Braden's was a bit strange-maybe a similar intonation as around the coal region of W. and C. PA? I could be way off...maybe it's just a speech impediment. Anyone know where he's from?
 

cghipp

Professional
I went to Van der Meer's tennis camp at Hilton Head some years back. It was a lot of fun and I found Dennis VDM to be very charming, and also very helpful. The coaches videotaped everyone's serve and then we all sat in a room while they played the tape on a large screen. He gave his criticisms in a very humorous way, so that no one's feelings were hurt, but the deficiencies were clearly pointed out. We had fun laughing at ourselves. It was amazing how many people had a huge hitch in their stroke, even though they would have sworn, before viewing the video, that they did not stop or reverse their motion. My own issue was a ridiculously high ball toss that left the viewing frame completely for what seemed like forever.

At that time he was also working with Head on the soon-to-come Intelligence line. He had a prototype of the gigantic racquet that had the microchips to kill vibration and prevent tennis elbow (I forget which model that was). He was so proud of it, he got everyone to hit with it in a drill to see what we thought of it. It wasn't for me, but it definitely did not have much vibration.
 
Phil said:
Speaking of accents, I've always thought Braden's was a bit strange-maybe a similar intonation as around the coal region of W. and C. PA? I could be way off...maybe it's just a speech impediment. Anyone know where he's from?
That's no speech inpediment; he simply hails from the Three Rivers City: Pithhburg. LMAO!

Vic Braden bio:

Monroe, H.S., Monroe, Michigan. Won singles in 10th, 11th and 12 grade (no tournament during his freshman year due to WWII).

Attended Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan (home of the junior nationals)

Was ranked #2 in the Mid--West; behind Tony Trabert
 
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