How many times have you heard “bend your knees and roll your shoulder!” when trying to improve your tennis game? Of course that’s only one of the hundreds of things that we are taught early on when picking up this game. Do most of them work? Sure, if you adapt your game to be loose and under powered. Heck, I used to be one of those guys out there, running around and swinging as hard as I could to get a little extra pace and penetration. It was effective, but only 75% of the time and the other 25% was generally during a pressure point. Even when making 75% of those great shots in, I was 100% worn out after a couple of hours, drenched in sweat and my body regretting every single split step I took; yes, I’m not in the shape I used to be – age is getting the best of me but even at my prime I was always completely drained of energy to hit another ball after a while.
I was getting pretty tired of the same old song and dance, hitting seven or eight good shots for every 10 when it should be 10 good shots for every 10, I needed something different. I was seeking new life for my tired tennis game.
I didn’t want to hire a coach or go take lessons, I had a feeling that most any “pro” at my nearby club would feed me the same crap “racquet back early!” I didn’t want to play like that, I wanted to be effortless and take my natural power and really harness it to be a consistent and regular stroke.
I was fortunate enough to have been introduced to a fellow who, little did I know at the time, was going to change the way I look at and play tennis; and a future friend to boot! Enter Jack Broudy, a former touring pro, a coach, an inventor, and a southern California surfer; was he going to be another “tennis pro” who is going to feed me the same garbage I’ve already heard a million times already? I surely was hoping he wouldn’t, I didn’t want to waste his time or mine.
Jack and I talked about tennis, he asked me what was going on with me and how I felt about my game. I told him all the problems and places where I wanted to improve. He told me about his “non-linear” way of playing tennis (it’s really a lifestyle), huh? Non linear? This is tennis, not science or math class right? I actually asked Mr. Broudy just that, “Oh, so this is basically simple math right?” He scolded me a little, apparently it’s not simple math, it’s much more complicated than that.
On top of the already complicated non-linear, Broudy threw in “hitting at 45 degrees and holding the coil” and introduced me to his training tool, the 8-board. I thought for sure my wee little brain would not be able to handle all this new information that he was throwing at me…and we hadn’t even begun to hit any tennis balls. Though, the reality of all this new information was only initializing better tennis for me.
We started with hitting a few balls for a few minutes, I was hitting the ball like I had before 75% good shots and 25% grotesque ball striking. Jack worked through some of my mishitting and errant groundstrokes, he did say I had a good stroke but quickly followed it up with “I can make it better.” This is where things got really confusing for me, he brought out his 8-board and told me to get on it; Broudy started feeding me balls. I don’t think I have ever felt so uncomfortable playing tennis, I mean being on this board with two independently rotating platforms trying to hit a tennis ball was going to make me a better tennis player? Yeah right! My feet were killing me and I felt like I was going to fall over on every follow through. Jack made showed me on his 8-board what his motion looked like, so I tried it and I understood but I hadn’t figured out how to really do it properly.What Jack explained to me was the whole motion of his theory and how it generates more power with less effort and ultimately becoming a better tennis player, it was all starting to come together and make sense.
Obviously, I wasn’t hitting the ball any better at that moment, but I began visualizing what he had been telling me, I could feel all the things he had explained to me; was I on the brink of being a better tennis player? I was onto something special and new. I only got to spend about an hour on court with Jack so I didn’t get a full grinding lesson; however, Broudy did invite me to be one of his “online tennis students” and gave me access to his online tennis school that is filled with his video lessons. Everything that Jack told me and showed me within that hour we spent on court was exactly the same thing he was talking about in his lessons; it was all clicking even more, I was pumped to get on court and test my new found way of playing tennis!
It’s never easy to go from one way of playing tennis for several years and to suddenly switch to something different, even if it’s better for you. The first time I hit after watching the videos and working what Jack told me into my own game was a complete disaster. I couldn’t find my forehand and my backhand was alright but I felt like I was heading in the wrong direction. I called Jack and started telling him all the things that went wrong, he did show some sympathy and reminded me that it’s like riding a bike, you won’t get it right from the start. Jack was right once again.
Let me fast forward you to where I am now, three weeks from our first meeting and a lot of time watching the instructional videos and talking with Jack…. I know it will be hard for most of you, who don’t know me, to believe what I’m telling you; however, not only has my tennis improved tenfold, I am conserving energy and thinking clearer when I play. Don’t get me wrong, I’m in no shape to go out and have a go at the futures tour or the challenger circuit, though I can tell you that I am hitting the ball a lot better and harder than I ever have. I feel so much more confident in my stroke and can rely on all of my shots. Remember how I was hitting 75% perfect shots, now I’m hitting 95% great shots and using half the energy.
Here’s the thing, it’s no magic bullet to make you the greatest tennis player the world has ever seen, though I can assure you what Jack Broudy has uncovered is by far changing the way tennis players play tennis. I’ll tell you now, it’s not about footwork, grip, or “loading and exploding”; what it is, is a new way of thinking about how you play your game, and an effortless tennis powerhouse. If you are open to manipulating the stroke you have currently, then there is no reason to not take a gander at the stuff Jack Broudy has to offer, it is after all a game changer.