National Women's Tennis Organization — September newsletter


Written by Paul Fein, with Foreword by Dick Gould
2021 Coaches Choice

This book is divided into four sections: Techniques, Tactics, Interviews, and Final Points. It answers all of the questions you might have and then some that you didn’t know you had. The author doesn’t pretend to have all the answers although he might. He also relies on interviews with other experts on almost all subjects along with examples and illustrations using current male and female players.

Co-Presidents Elizabeth and Lois have decided to co-review this book to provide a “balanced” view of it.

L: I have to say that Paul Fein had my attention with the subtitle. I am always looking for techniques and tactics to compensate for my strokes and fitness and unleash whatever latent “talent” there is. Then there is the Dedication: “For everyone who loves to play tennis, watch tennis, talk tennis, coach tennis, learn tennis, promote tennis, dream about tennis, write about tennis, and read about tennis.” That (I am happy to say) is I.

E: The sheer size of this book let me know right away that I was not meant to read it from beginning to end like a novel. It feels more like a reference book where I can go to rethink my drop shot or service motion. The combination of bullet point reminders, player examples, and notable quotes in each section make this book an interesting read.

L: My favorite chapter in this book is Chapter 20: Six Keys to Smarter Shot Selection. The first part talks about knowing your own game, and knowing my own game as I do, shot selection is a weakness. Suggestions in this chapter are provided to help you evaluate your game within the match, evaluate your opponent, take into consideration the playing conditions and last, but best, pick the right shot for percentage tennis in challenging situations.

E: I really liked Chapter 21: The Art of Anticipation. The chapter starts with the concept that “Knowledge is Power,” reminding us that the better we know our opponent, the more advantage we have. It reminded me that in playing age-level tournaments, I often play an opponent that I have not played before so I need to build my knowledge during the match. Saving new information for the next time I play someone is a skill I need to develop. I also like the use of the word “Art” since one definition is “the conscious use of skill and creative imagination…” and I think that well describes the play of many great athletes.

L: Besides providing a lot of interesting examples, drills, and pointers for your purchase dollar, another thing I like about this oversized book is that it has wide margins on each page to take notes. I have to admit that I read it from cover to cover quickly and am now motivated to reread and make personal and match notes in the margins.

E: What makes this book stand out to me is the variety of information it contains. Whether I want to think about ways to improve my tennis or I simply want to bask in the wise words of players from over the past 80 years, there is a section for me. I think Mr. Fein has done a terrific job of amassing the wisdom of the tennis ages into this book.

L: In summary, I would say that I wish I would have read the piece by Judy Dixon (NWTO member) on the best tactics in senior women’s tennis before I had to play her recently. (This qualifies as a total rationalization as it wouldn’t have changed the outcome.) Judy was one of several top players interviewed in the chapter on The Secrets of Successful Senior Players. I also can’t resist saying that this is a very Fein book. (I actually think it is a great book.)