Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tennis Book review - Allen Fox's Think to Win

This is an oldie but a goodie. Allen Fox, who's a regular contributor to Tennis Magazine, authored Think to Win: The Strategic Dimension of Tennis in 1993. Although much of the game at the professional level has changed in the nearly 2 decades since the book was published, the information and strategy conveyed is still very much applicable for those starting out through club players.

Think to Win is organized into chapters which are fairly self-contained, and straightforward, on the requisite topics concerning our sport: from ground strokes, volleying, using spin, serving, and lobs to covering the court, strategies, tactics and game plans. It's very comprehensive for singles players; in fact, my only complaint is that the book contains only one short chapter about the game most of us play, doubles, and much of it is dated with the notion that the first pair that gets to the net will win.

But while it would be easy to quickly dismiss a book written almost 20 years ago given the dynamic changes in tennis equipment and thus strategy - particularly the chapters on serving and volleying - there are still valuable fundamentals to be gleaned, particularly for beginning and mid-level players. From the basics such as how playing the ball consistently cross court is a good strategy not only because the net is lower in the middle but because playing down the line can get one out of position and cause you to run more than your opponent to how to recognize (and breakdown) an opponent's weakness.

I also found it interesting that Fox recognized Brad Gilbert's ability to out-think his opponents and use his somewhat limited physical skills to win on the men's tour, which Gilbert later wrote about in his exceptional and highly recommended book of his own titled Winning Ugly shortly thereafter.

No comments:

Post a Comment