Winning Uglier with Brad Gilbert
Back into Match Play
We’re getting back into match play season, and BG has some tips to help you win after a long layoff from competition. We discuss the cornerstones of serve, return, and easy balls, as well as fighting nerves and pacing yourself. We also get to a couple of questions, one about motivating your doubles partner, and the other related to the age-old debate about when to get kids started in tournament play.
BG is back from the graveyard shift in Bristol and he’s fired up to break down the Aus Open and gloat about his Daily Wager picks. There was a big takeaway in terms of players being adaptable with their strategies and making unexpected adjustments. We talk about Djokovic’s brilliant tactical decision to play more shots down the middle in the final, as well as Osaka settling in after saving match points early in the event. We also take a question that looks back at a peculiar performance by Gael Monfils at the 2016 US Open.
AO Preview - No Excuses
Whatup! We’re back with an Aussie Open preview. BG’s already at ESPN HQ in Bristol getting ready to go (and avoiding the incoming blizzard). We talk about players having to make the best with less than ideal preparation. We get into the favorites like Djokovic, Osaka, Rafa, Serena, plus the long-awaited return of Bianca Andreescu. Buck is a little disheveled with BG’s pick to win on the men’s side (hint, he’s from Greece). We also preview the popcorn first round between Shapo and Sinner. And since it’s Super Bowl weekend why not finish off with a little Brady/Mahomes goat talk.
We wrap up 2020 with a Q&A heavy episode - big thanks to everyone that has listened in and supported the podcast so far! First BG discusses how he likes to set a series of small goals for the new year. Then we get into questions on finding positivity after an injury, game planning for (and respecting) pushers, preparing for clay, and an Andre vs Fed throwback story. And stay tuned for a surprise guest at the end!
Equipment with Harry Tong
Happy Holidays from Winning Uglier! We’ve got a great episode on equipment with Harry Tong. Harry is BG’s long-time shop manager (Brad Gilbert Tennis Nation in Greenbrae, CA) and he has a popular youtube page called Tennis Spin. Harry believes this is the golden age of rackets. We get into some of his favorite new sticks and the reasons for the uptick in quality. We then talk strings, with Harry giving some great intel on tension. And we discuss why there’s no need to fiercely break in a new pair of shoes anymore - a habit that BG can’t break!
Strengths and Weaknesses
In this post-thanksgiving episode, we discuss finding the balance between working on both strengths and weaknesses. BG is a big proponent of taking what you do well and making it even better. We also think it's key to avoid fixating on a weakness to the point where it can hinder confidence and derail a practice. Q&A topics include letting a match slip after a flawless first set, and a curious case of a 9-year-old who exclusively likes to hit on the wall.
What is Zen Tennis you ask? It’s a calm and peaceful hit where we put our egos aside. Whether you’re hitting with a partner or solo on the wall, the idea is to keep the rally going as long as possible. BG gets into some stories about players he’s come across that embraced the Zen practice, including the legendary Torben Ulrich. We then switch gears to Q&A, discussing whether Hawkeye takes away from entertainment value, as well as what to do this winter if you’re away from the courts.
Psychology with Jeff Greenwald
We welcome world-renowned sports psychologist Jeff Greenwald to the podcast. Jeff has authored the best-selling book The Best Tennis of Your Life and runs fearlesstennis.com. In addition to helping his clients bring out their best more often, he’s put his methods to the test with his own game, reaching world no.1 in the ITF men’s 35 division. We pick Jeff's brain with various questions regarding the mental game. These include focusing on how you're playing vs fixation on the result (11:16), controlling emotions (15:15), dealing with pressure (22:20), bridging the gap between practice and matches (28:06), and getting out of a funk (37:47). Jeff and BG also have some good back and forth moments about playing safe vs aggressive.
Learning from Losses
It’s about time we got into one of the most important parts of being a tennis player: taking losses and learning from them. BG breaks down what he calls the 3 different types of losses (2:23), which includes the heartbreaker of nearly pulling off an upset. He also gives some useful tips about taking notes post-match, as well as laughing off an especially brutal beat. For the Q&A we discuss how often you should go to the well if a tactic is working (20:33). Then we finish off with a little racket talk (26:08).