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Monday, December 04, 2006

Book review: Play better tennis in 2 hours by Oscar Wegner

I was recently given this book as a gift. Its full title is "Play Better Tennis in Two Hours: Simplify the game and PLAY like THE PROS" and the Play like the Pros bit sounds good to me.

Reviews on Amazon range from "too basic" and "aimed at beginners" to "revolutionary". I found it to be rather basic, a bit slim and can be summarized (for me) as follows:

  • 1. Forehand groundstroke: use topspin by using a 'windscreen wiper' action and think about your stroke's finish.

  • 2. Backhand drive groundstroke: show the ball your butt, your rackets butt that is.

  • 3. Serve: use the triceps more than your shoulder muscles.

  • 4. Movement: find the ball.

  • 5. Forehand volley: cut from above.

  • 6. Backhand volley: turn from the shoulder.

Of course there's more than that, but that's really all I got out of it, and I've simplified the explanations given in the book with photo's to a one line summary.

So how did it work for me?

  1. Forehand: I already have a topspin forehand with a wrap around the shoulder when I'm not nervous (which I am most of the time in a competitive match!) but not the windscreen wiper action. I've seen Federer and others do this with a wrap to the side, but selectively. Thinking about the finish action helps when you're not hitting through the ball.

  2. Backhand drive: I tried it, instead of thinking about take back, hip rotation and stepping in, and it seems to work.

  3. Serve: I was really interested in that because of the chronic shoulder problem I have. Of course we're taught to back-scratch anyway but now 'I get it' and it seems to have added more power.

  4. Movement: yes it works. When you're on your game and playing well you're actively looking for, tracking, seeking, wanting and getting to the ball. Just remember this tip and it helps.

  5. Forehand volley: juries out.

  6. Backhand volley: maybe, juries also out.

So would I recommend it? It depends on your level of play. Beginner and improver then yes. Intermediate and Advanced, borrow a copy, you'll skim it in 30 minutes.

I was intrigued to see the acknowledgement Oscar gave to Ron L Hubbard the founder of Scientology.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Russell, MTM Jedi said...

You gave very good feed back about this book. Let me add that for 17 years I've taught tennis and finally, I've found the holly tennis grail if i can call it that without offending anyone. These techniques including volley is awesome. In 1995 I bought an earlier version of this book and read it from cover to cover. With all my experience I still missed the hidden OYO jewels in that book. I admit I too was skeptical at first on the volleys and like you the verdict was left out. It was until last year I visited this book again and bought the new DVD's is when I realized that I had missed the forest for beyond the trees. My biggest problem was that I was still combining the traditional techniques with the new modern techniques like mixing Perrier water with ice cubes made from tap water. It just doesn't taste as good. It was when the Legendary Coach himself Oscar Wegner came down to my facility and bestowed the wisdom on to his young in the mind Jedi. Unbelievable, just unbelievable! It's nothing like having him there demonstrating it for you and you see how easy an effective his methods are. I tell you from experience, go back and read the book again and purchase the DVD's because seeing helps a lot. You will not regret it! You want believe I watch the DVD (The Best Of Oscar "Modern Tennis Methodology" every night before I go to bed. I know this method like the back of my hand and I can tell you that you have only skimmed the surface. This book is for beginners to the highest level possible. And, when I say the highest level possible. Let me prove it to you if I can in words. Example: Andre Agassi was asked a question 'how do you hit or find the ball so, well? He replied I wait until it is suspended in mid air." Andre would hit his grounds strokes once he sees the ball suspended in mid air. Do you here what i' m saying? How can this be that Andre created space in time? It's easy as 1-2-3-4-5! When the ball lands you can, like the pros, create this space in time by waiting for the ball (finding or stalking like a lion tracking its prey) to the bounce using the 1-2-3-4-5 count before hitting it will help a mere recreational player to "Play Like The Pros" That's right, you can feel what Andre was feeling because I have felt it many of times and so has my students. I first took this method after returning back to the book and tried it on a kid that her and her father was at their ends meet until Oscars method helped to empower me in turn empowered her and she reached her goal to be the best high school player in the area and without a doubt will achieve another goal receiving a scholarship to play college tennis all thanks to Oscars method. His books are Filet Mignon and it requires returning to it constantly as you move from one level to the next. You don't just read or chew without pondering or absorbing the flavor. Yes, you can go through this book quickly but as Bruce Lee adequately says, "Concentrate on the finger or in this case the words are you might miss all that heavenly glory. I could lye here as the lightening continues to light up the sky and the rain slams against my window and write a book on my experiences with this method. Everyone is different and when we read something we catch something no one else catches. This book and the other book Oscar wrote has hidden OYO BUNKAI techniques that can get lost through simple language. Revisit! Revisit! Revisit! If, everyone does this you too will be able to see the painting on the wall, forest beyond the trees, and the hidden OYO in buried deep within the simplicity of his books. May the force be with you!

1:32 PM  

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