One of the greatest coaches in tennis history, Vic Braden, has died at the age of 85.
Vic was a pioneer in the tennis instructional field. While other coaches were limiting their teaching to a reliance on personal experience, Mr. Braden was breaking barriers using science to support his instruction. Vic Braden teamed with another pioneer, Dr. Gideon Ariel, who pretty much invented the field of computerized biomechanical analysis. Dr. Ariel was using a cutting-edge "Dartfish" like system while we were walking around with 25 pound “mobile" phones.
Together, these two innovators brought tennis instruction out of the stone age and integrated science and technology with human performance. Sadly, progress in tennis performance science is lacking in U.S. tennis today.
Vic Braden was also a great personality and motivator. He was intelligent and made the learning of complex ideas and concepts both easy and fun.
Vic will be sorely missed.
Steve Kaplan is the owner and managing director of Bethpage Park Tennis Center, as well as director emeritus of Lacoste Academy for New York City Parks Foundation, and executive director and founder of Serve &Return Inc. Steve has coached more than 1,100 nationally- ranked junior players, 16 New York State high school champions, two NCAA Division 1 Singles Champions, and numerous highly-ranked touring professionals. Many of the students Steve has closely mentored have gone to achieve great success as prominent members of the New York financial community, and in other prestigious professions. In 2017, Steve was awarded the Hy Zausner Lifetime Achievement Award by the USTA. He may be reached by e-mail at StevenJKaplan@aol.com.