It's time for another tennis book review! I have a huge collection of tennis books but just a few that I read through again and again. And in this episode, I'm reviewing one of the first tennis books I ever bought. It's one that continues to be useful as it's packed with all kinds of actionable tennis tips. I'm reviewing a book I think every tennis player needs to own – Winning Ugly by Brad Gilbert and Steve Jamison. You can listen to this episode by clicking on the media player above or by listening in with your favorite podcast app. You can also subscribe in iTunes by clicking on this link: tennisfixation.com/itunes.
You know how much I love my tennis books. This week, I'm reviewing an oldy but a goody – Brad Gilbert's Winning Ugly. Brad Gilbert is a former pro player, a former high-level tennis coach who famously worked with both Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick, and currently works as a T.V. commentator providing the “color” during many of the Grand Slams.
Among recreational tennis players, however, he's probably best known for his book, Winning Ugly, which he co-wrote with Steve Jamison and which first came out in 1993. If you search for “tennis books” on Amazon, this is the book that always comes up in either the No. 1 or No. 2 spot. And for good reason – the extensive collection of tennis tips and advice in this book really work.
Brad Gilbert's philosophy of how to win tennis matches is succinctly stated in the Introduction to his book:
With two players of roughly equal ability, the one who's aware of and takes advantage of the dynamics, opportunities, and openings before, during, and after the match will win.
He expands on this further, explaining:
Tennis begins off the court, continues through your pre-match regimen and into the match, and goes on after you've won (or lost) the final point. Smart players know how to prepare correctly for a match and once the contet is under way how to control their emotions. They know how to think their way through a match, avoiding low percentage shots that carry unnecessary risk at inappropriate times. Smart players observe what's going on in a match and analyze the information. They know how to capitalize on what they know.
Brad then gives you tip after tip after actionable tip, explaining exactly how he put this philosophy to work to beat some of the biggest names in tennis when he was a pro (players like Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Boris Becker and Andre Agassi) and shows exactly how players like you and I can do just what he did to level up our own games.
I'll give you a few examples of tips I got out of this book that had a big impact on my tennis and that I still use today, years after first reading Winning Ugly:
1. Carry at least two tennis racquets. This is so obvious to me now but the first time I read this recommendation my mind was just a little bit blown. Brad has an entire chapter on what gear you need to play a winning game. It's Chapter 2 and is called “Tools of the Trade: How Equipment Can Help You Win.” I definitely recommend a close reading of this chapter.
2. Never serve first. When you win the spin, if you're like most players, you choose to serve first. But in Chapter 6, called “Start Smart: Grabbing the Early Lead,” Brad gives all of the reasons why you should almost always choose to receive first. And I almost always do choose to receive first and find that, it not only helps my game, it often freaks out my opponents. That is worth it all by itself.
3. Take notes. Brad recommends taking notes during and after your matches. I myself take notes after any “tennis event” I'm involved in. This tip helps you keep track of what you've learned, both the good and the bad, every time you play tennis. And I use my own notes as a refresher I can go through before each match to remind me of tips I need to help my game.
These are just three examples of things I learned from Winning Ugly. You can find tons more tips in this book and I'm sure you'll find plenty of advice that you can quickly apply to your own tennis play. I recommend Winning Ugly for any tennis player who is serious about leveling up their game. And if this is a book you already owned but haven't read in a while, pull it out and give it a quick re-read. I'm sure you'll find some tips you've forgotten about that you can quickly apply with great results.
RESOURCES AND LINKS FROM THIS EPISODE:
Here are links to the resources mentioned in this episode as well as past book review episodes:
- Amazon link to: Winning Ugly: Mental Warfare in Tennis–Lessons from a Master
- Amazon link to: Real Tennis Tips for Real Tennis Players: Simple Tips to Help You Play Better Tennis Fast
- Tennis Quick Tips Podcast Episode 53 – The Inner Game of Tennis Book Review
- Tennis Quick Tips Podcast 64 – Arthur Ashe on Tennis Book Review
- Tennis Quick Tips Podcast 74 – The Best Tennis of Your Life Book Review
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© Kim Selzman 2015 All Rights Reserved
Full disclosure – Some of the links in this post are Amazon affiliate links. I make a very small commission if you purchase any item using my Amazon affiliate links. Your cost is the same for these items whether or not you use these links. This does not influence my opinion of these items and I always tell the absolute truth about every item that I review. I usually do not review items that I don’t like.