Sports

The Vic Braden Tennis College

Last week, my wife and I spent time relearning the game of tennis at the Vic Braden Tennis College in St. George, Utah. I say relearning because the Vic Braden school is less about improving your current game than it is about changing your strokes and strategy to Vic’s way of thinking. That sounds bad, but it isn’t – at least not in my opinion. Vic is a psychologist by training, but he’s spent most of is life playing, coaching and studying professional and amateur tennis. He has researched the game and how it’s played (including using detailed slow motion photography, wireframe analysis and motion capture) thoroughly over the years and has loads of logical reasoning behind his way of playing it. While the changes he encourages are major for most people, they make a lot of sense and are somehow, easier to adopt because of it.

Vic, himself, videotapes each player several times during the session and then meets with small groups to explain what can be totally changed improved. At the end of the session, more taping is done to see what, if any, improvements were made. While Vic was very nice, my changes were almost imperceptible. Yeah, I gotta lot of work to do. 10,000 more balls for each stroke type and I may finally get it.

Vic is over 80 now and has a head full of tennis memories, fact and figures. He knows and works with all of today’s greats as he did with tennis legends in the past. He can tell stories about Roger Federer and Rod Laver and discuss details of their strengths and weaknesses as well what made them both different, but great champions. Braden is a complete crack-up too. He had us all laughing within minutes of our first meeting.

The Vic Braden Tennis College has other locations as well. We chose St. George so that we could spend some time hiking with friends in Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks too.  The area is phenomenally gorgeous if you have the time and, more importantly, the energy to explore after Vic kicks the crap out of you.

If you’re a 5.0+ tennis player, you may not want your game entirely disassembled. If you’re playing below that level and feel like you plateaued years ago, this type of game upheaval may be just right for you. It’s a lot of fun and the instructors are very patient. I know, I tested them.

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