Broudy Tennis was born out of my deep frustration with my own tennis. Growing up in the 70’s in Connecticut, tennis was my life. I took lessons, won a few junior tennis tournaments and even won a partial tennis scholarship to a very fine college. But I always felt that my tennis was somewhat of a fraud. Some days I played well, other days I was a mess. As ridiculous as it sounds, my frustration over tennis was so profound that I once even found myself (as a teenager) on the ledge of a bridge overlooking the Merritt Parkway and considering jumping off.
There was no question that my tennis was in an entirely different category than that of the better players, who could rally endlessly and confidently with graceful and seemingly effortless strokes, and whose play improved when they were under pressure. This was the beginning of my dogged quest to play like them and to be able to use their secrets in coaching others.
One of my first realizations of the Figure-8 phenomenon was in analyzing Andre Agassi, who was the top player in the world at that time. He truly had the non-linear stroke emanating from his core. Players like Agassi, Sampras and Rios were different from the rest and were the ones I began to study incessantly. They had the non-linear strokes and were the predecessors of today’s game.
Broudy Tennis is the result of studying these players for nearly 40 years, watching them from close up and also studying various disciplines. You will find that it’s pretty radical instruction. You will not find here or in the courses any commands such as “take your racquet back” or, as is currently in fashion, “unit turn.” It’s virtually impossible to do either and to maintain balance — it’s a myth. At the most, it can only produce wooden, ungainly strokes.
We show, rather, how you can imitate the top players by using your core muscles to produce a nearly effortless stroke, from groundstrokes to the volley to the serve. Your core pulls your arm. A simple analogy would be to imagine pulling a skater on a cord in a circle around you. The skater could never skate in a circle around you as fast as he could by having you pull him. Pulling the rope, you will be doing very little work. Similarly, if you move your core in a precise and fluid motion, with your racquet head out on the periphery of your body, you can create significant racquet head speed and weight. The dog wags its tail in this approach, while the old school “take the racquet back” instruction would be akin to the tail wagging the dog!
Not surprisingly, one of the three basic fundamentals of Broudy Tennis focuses on the motion of the hips. This involves a precise rhythmic, fluid movement that would seem to describe an invisible infinity, or Figure 8, symbol. One can learn this Figure 8 movement and apply it to strokes rather quickly with guidance. The other two basic tenets are using the 45-degree angle to the net as the optimal contact point for all strokes, and then understanding how you can use the Figure 8 and the 45-degree angle contact point together to create a Sine Wave that forms the basis for consistent, graceful, athletic strokes.
Players should understand that the teaching concepts in Broudy Tennis are based on science. In my determination to uncover the secrets of the top tennis players (as well as of top athletes in other sports), I studied widely, from projective geometry to physics to the works of mathematician Rudolf Steiner. One of the most exciting aspects of understanding the three basic fundamentals undergirding this program is that they unlock a myriad of insights into playing beautiful tennis. For instance, if you wield a whip in a particular way, you’ll produce a cracking sound. Through the same law of conservation that produces this piercing, breaking-the-sound-barrier sound, you can use an understanding of the Figure 8 and the 45-degree angle to put pop on your serve. I have skinny little eight-year-old female students serving with pop!
As for the three basic tenets of Broudy Tennis, they comprise a closed system; all of the instruction and drills relate to these three teachings: the 45-degree angle contact point, the Figure 8, and the merging of the Figure 8 hip motion with the 45-degree angle contact point to produce optimal, accurate strokes that form a “standing wave.”
Finally, readers should consider that this course is intended for professional tennis players as well as for beginners. It’s for those with average ability as well as for those with below average ability. Our goal is to enhance lives by giving players a sport that they will love to play because they love the way they play.
No Bad Days
The idea of No Bad Days came to me about 20 years ago when I started to think about how to explain my tennis teaching system. I was coaching full time and my players were all winning, all the time. They were winning sectional matches and national matches. We were getting used to it. Life was good.
I thought back to my days as a young player and how different my tennis life had been. It was in a constant state of flux. It was pretty miserable. Some days I was up, other days I was down. There were plenty of days when I felt like a complete beginner on the court. No feel. No confidence. You can imagine how insecure this made me feel. In all those years I think I played “in the zone” perhaps three times.
I longed to play “in the zone” consistently. The idea back then was that you could play at your best if you “zoned out,” which meant playing unconsciously. (“Dumb jocks” or natural athletes don’t concern themselves with this. They have their own operating system where they think with their body.) Getting “in the zone” was terribly elusive. There were always distractions such as personal concerns: “I have to win so that Dad will be proud of me,” “I can’t possibly let this guy beat me,” etc. To make matters worse, my tennis upbringing was old school: take the racquet back, swing low to high, move the feet, swing faster. There wasn’t much there to help me whether I was playing a match or just practicing.
This is where Broudy Tennis comes in. We say that if you are going to think on the court, it might as well be as high a quality of thought as possible. Our players are acutely preoccupied with concepts of the Non-linear Game: “stay at the 45,” “concave to convex,” “keep the hips fluid,” “stay connected.” These ideas work because they are grounded in physics and geometry.
We give players a blueprint to get “in the zone” consistently. This does not mean playing unconsciously but rather being hyper aware. So go ahead and think and build your game on the fundamentals. Be conscious. In fact be super conscious. Thinking is finally a good thing and not something to avoid.
No matter how you are feeling on a particular day, you can always intellectualize the Broudy Tennis concepts of the Non-linear Game and play your best.