Friday, March 28, 2014

Short Book Review: "Brain Alignment: The Art of Focus in Tennis"

Brain Alignment: The Art of Focus in Tennis, by Charly Rasheed, (CreateSpace: 2010)(170 pages with Glossary)(Available on

Mentioned in USA Today (August 23, 2013) by Bob Bryan (of the Bryan Brothers) as a "pretty famous book in the tennis world", this little book is a fascinating read.

It's authored by Charly Rasheed, Tennis Director Pro at Wild Dunes Resort in Isle of Palms, SC, near Charleston.

In it, Rasheed lays out his thesis that tennis is essentially a mental, more than physical, exercise. It's played by humans who are operating on two levels at once - that we are "two selves" on the court. The first is a Logical (or mental) Self, and the other is an Athletic (or physical) Self.

Rasheed goes on the detail how this works, and launches into exercises and strategies to improve tennis performance with this knowledge. He focuses on the doubles game in particular, with suggested patterns and illustrative photographs.

Rasheed goes on to explain his "Three Fs": feet, focus and feel. He also suggests that players use "action commands" to help improve play - these are verbal on-court instructions directed from their thoughtful Logical Self to help re-train their instinctive Athletic Self.

It's an intriguing and mind-challenging approach, worth considering.


P.S.: Here's an excerpt from the book:
"Roger Federer's influence on the game of tennis stretches further than the historical implications. His technical approach to tennis is virtually flawless. Most notably, Federer's visual control at contact point is profound and something which, as a competitor and instructor, I became very interested in. At some point, no matter what ball sport we have ever participated in, we have been on the instructional receiving end of "keep your eye on the ball". Not until recently have I realized the significance of this instructional point, thus opening up a system of thought, a psychology of sport, that shows us why this game of tennis is so mental . . . [In a recent match], I was profoundly mortified that I [myself] couldn't execute the one fundamental that that I had set out to enforce: "Eyes on contact". At best, I was visually connected to contact point less than thirty percent of the time. I [was] frustrated, devastated but immensely intrigued. I began to realize that the fundamental of "eyes on contact" was not a physical exercise but 100% mental . . . I [was] to stumble on the greatest epiphany of my life in relation to tennis and sport: WE ARE TWO SELVES."

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