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The Little Green Book of Tennis

http://www.amazon.com/The-Little-Green-Book-Tennis/dp/1503559041

Harvey Penick’s “Little Red Book of Golf” is one of the best recent examples of coaching a sport. I have patterned my new book on tennis instruction using methods similar to Coach Penick. Drawing from fifty years of teaching and coaching, I share insights from my mentors who helped me craft repeatable techniques for winning. I also share our personal experiences and observations that have proven to be solid advice. Hopefully, you’ll find this book to be succinct and filled with gems for all levels of players and coaches.

If you would like to purchase a printed copy of the book ($28/book), email me at ethomasparham [at] gmail.com. If you’d like to purchase a digital copy, they are available on Amazon here.



Here are a few early reviews: 

“If you are looking for a tennis book that is both entertaining and thought provoking this is the book for you. Tom Parham’s insights and musings are both informative and entertaining. As a former college coach, I found it a great read! This Hall of Famer has the ability to think outside the box and you might just find yourself doing the same thing. Coaches will appreciate his originality and benefit from his years of experience.” (Coach Bob Bayliss, Notre Dame Men’s Tennis, ITA Hall of Fame)

“I was very fortunate to find Elon University and Coach Parham when I decided to play college tennis, after getting out of the sport in my crucial junior years. At Elon with Parham at the helm I found the love for the sport again. Coach Parham wanted you to love the game when you graduated and never treated his players like a number. He truly cared about them. I learned a lot from Coach Parham not only in the 4 years I played for him but throughout all my years in teaching and coaching tennis. He has been a gracious mentor to me. I was fortunate to follow Coach Parham as the Elon Men’s Tennis Coach when he retired in 2004 and have passed much of his knowledge on to my players. A lot of what I learned is written in “The Little Green Book of Tennis” as he wrote it all down. I believe this book is a must read to all high school coaches and players.” (Michael Leonard, Elon University Men’s Tennis Coach)

“Tom Parham is my friend, my coach at Elon University, and a long time advisor. He brought me to America. He skillfully guided me through a new world and a new tennis arena–American College Tennis. We did well. He understood both the game, the team, and me.  He is a very well respected professional with success at coaching and teaching at all levels. Coach Parham is a master teacher and looked at as a integral part of tennis history in North Carolina, the South, and the nation. The book, The Little Green Book of Tennis is spot on in method and message for coaches, players, and teams, at all levels. Buy it.” (Roland Thornqvist, Head Women’s Tennis Coach, University of Florida)

“Coach Parham is a masterful teacher, southern humorist, and sports philosopher who explains tennis strategies and techniques in a way that anyone can “get it.” The wisdom gained in a brilliant career has been boiled down to  bite-sized pearls of wisdom in “The Little Green Book of Tennis,” a must-read for coaches, instructors, players, and parents.” (Ron Smarr, Rice University Men’s Tennis, ITA Hall of Fame, Winningest Coach in Men’s College Tennis upon retirement)

“Tom Parham’s recent authorship of his book The Little Green Book of Tennis is a great handbook for young, aspiring tennis coaches. It is also a thoughtful, entertaining read for all tennis buffs. During Tom’s forty-plus years of coaching collegiate tennis at ACC (Barton) and Elon University, he won numerous conference, district, and national championships in both the NAIA and NCAA levels of competition. As Director of Athletics at Elon University for twenty-seven years, it was a pleasure and with admiration that I observed his success during his tenure at both institutions. Coach Parham was and continues to be a committed and astute “student” of the game while he is quick to offer praise and credit to such outstanding coaches as Jim Leighton and Jim Verdieck for their mentoring that greatly enhanced his knowledge and skill for his teaching expertise.” (Dr. Alan J. White, Elon University Athletics Director)

“Tom Parham and I are colleagues and friends.  We are a lot alike, because we could not have lived without coaching.  Both native North Carolinians,  we both played two varsity sports at small colleges in NC—me at Guilford, Tom at Barton. I have seen this man coach and teach. His words flow off the page much in the same manner as the great teachers and coaches I have known. Coach Parham concludes that “this material is, in large part, not mine.  I am only the messenger. I believed in it and benefitted from these masters. I did write it down.”  I don’t think anyone has done it better.” (David Odom, Wake Forest University Men’s Basketball Coach)

“I have read the Verdieck chapter, and you did a great job capturing my dad’s thoughts. I still get choked up when I try to express my great pride in my dad and give him the credit he deserved. My dad focused so much on finding a player’s weakness and fixing it, as well as putting his players into pressure situations to learn to compete and remain poised. Each day of practice at Redlands was competition, whether a challenge match, a round robin, a steady game, a volley game. Coach Verdieck would test his players, not only with their ability to make shots and eliminate errors, but to do it when feeling pressure.” –Doug Verdieck

I played for Coach Parham during the late sixties at Atlantic Christian College. After graduation and entering a career in teaching and coaching, I was a member of the tennis camp staff at Atlantic Christian and Elon University. Much was learned during these twenty-five plus years from my mentor Tom Parham.  He had spent years talking with some of the top teaches and coaches including Jim Leighton at Wake Forest, Dennis Van Der Meer, Chet and Bill Murphy, Welby Van Horn, Wayne Sabin, Jim Verdieck, and others. What he did with all of this knowledge was to present it in such a manner that both young and old could understand it.  This is exactly what he has done with “The Little Green Book of Tennis.” He wrote it all down. The best book I have ever read on the game of tennis – from teaching techniques, to drills, to strategy. A must read for players and coaches. (Eddie Gwaltney, Retired Athletic Director, Teacher, Coach)

“Coach Parham coached me at Atlantic Christian College, now Barton College.  I was in the middle of some 30 Swedish youngsters who ventured into a new country, a new language, and new friends. This came largely at the time of “the golden days of tennis in Sweden.” Bjorn Borg was our impetus.  Edberg, Wilander, Anders Jarryd, an on and on.  My father was the director of the Swedish Open in Stockholm.  I grew up watching these guys, their games, techniques, deportment. While Coach Parham recruited world-wide and very well, he had the Swedes at the core for 26 years. He told us all, “Do it right academically, personally, and on the court. This is not just about you.  You establish whether I can bring in other players behind you.” It is hard to imagine how many good young Swedes there were, and how hard players and coaches attempted to learn and play the game. At one time there were about 300 Swedes playing college tennis in America. Quite frankly, most of us had been trained by more knowledgeable teachers and pros. But Coach Parham had done his homework. He had paid his dues.  Not only that, he was eager to absorb what we brought. I once heard him say “… the Swedes know things we don’t. And they know how to play as a team member.”  He was all about the team. We respected him, knowledge, effort, and leadership. And we held up our end of the bargain.”  (Johan Sturen, ACC ’83, two time first team All-American).

BARRIERS (334)

“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn!”
People literally went to the movie GONE WITH THE WIND to hear the “damn” word spoken on film.
Similar words exist today. The worst is the N word. Won’t type it. “F”ing” has become a current dodge. Two current books with “F**K in the title were on the Pearl Street book store shelf in Boulder recently.
In an earlier blog I stated the noble sage, Coach Morningstar, said sex was undefeated. Several caught me and reminded me that “Pussy is undefeated” is the quotable assertion. The late Robin Williams stated his favorite word was pussy. Pussy Galore made a Bond film. Tis a different day when the President says, “…I just grab’em by the pussy!”
What has this got to do with the current version of WHERE ARE WE NOW AND HOW DID WE GET HERE?
The Morningstar dictum comes into play often in the political arena. Think Bill Clinton, John Edwards, JFK, FDR,etc. Republicans equally. Wilbur Mills was a classic. Spike Lee calls Trump, “Agent Orange”; certainly a barrier-breaker in the world of civility.
I would have fired Bill Clinton for his disrespectful variation of the above opine. Yet revisiting the “W” days and the following, when an unjust war, written off the books, and deregulation (costing the American public 17 trillion dollars), it seems that blow jobs and balanced budgets may be preferable to what happened 2000 to 2008. Not to mention the 18 years of growing debt, bloodshed, and despair from that dishonest war decision.
It is hard to remember unity, but just prior to the 2008 election the large majority of democrats and republicans agreed, that no matter who was elected it would take a long, long time to right the ship. Literally within months after his election, Obama was being blamed for the whole mess, and chastised for not having it all forgotten. By the same token “I don’t care about anything else, Trump is a BUSINESS MAN” has been trumpeted by the loonies. And he credits himself for a nine year financial upswing. This bravado began within almost weeks of his swearing in, yet the beginning of the steady upswing goes back to 2009, OBAMA, YEAR 1-FIRST TERM.
I hope we can unify, our only chance to make America great again. It will take a long time. Whether we can return to greatness (and hopefully civility) will demand effort by all citizens, not by self proclamation.

ERNIE BARNES, ARTIST (233)

Burt Lancaster as Bob Starbuck in THE RAINMAKER (1956): “…BUT DON’T ASK FOR DELUGE!”

Hurricane Florence got us (Emerald Isle and lots of North Carolina). Luckily we could bolt for Son Dan’s home in Raleigh. Thanks for that.
We went one day to the North Carolina Museum of History. I was unaware of the artist/football star, Ernie Barnes, or his dual status as both. The museum’s exhibit of his artwork stunned me. Native to nearby Durham and a graduate of North Carolina Central University, his work portrayed the time I grew up in small town NC, but of a different culture. As I viewed his large showing of work, it looked vaguely familiar and yet different. It was.
Ernie died at 70, April 1990.
I went to Atlantic Christian College, now Barton College, from 1959-1963. And returned there as a teacher/coach/administrator until 1985. And served in similar roles at Elon College/ now University until 2004. Lots of changes. None more than in the sports world. Integration the most volatile. No football at ACC during my stays. And the only black guys I played against was when we played college basketball against military teams. As an assistant basketball coach, I was proud to help recruit ACC’S first black players–Clifton Earl Black, and Jimmy Jones of nearby Conetoe (pronounced kah nee tah) NC. Great young men. Black broke almost every record we had. Many followed and while I stopped coaching basketball I taught almost all of them. Being a small school you got to know the kids well. Speedy Gainor, Stan Lewter, Lorenzo Jones, George Bell, Richard Battle, Damien Carter, a few of these new friends. As Athletics Director, I knew the girls too–Cindy Wall, Sheila Keel, Annie May Wooten. Good people and players. A kid from Murfreesboro, William Bogues was 5’11” and led the Carolinas Conference in rebounding! Say what? Saw it!
The small town where I went to high school played 6-man football,and, while I loved playing, it didn’t resemble what awaited 25 later at Elon. Almost immediately I supervised the team’s trip to Orlando to play a tough Central Florida team. Many had never flown. The team operated in “herd mentality”. My small tennis teams sort of wandered around wherever.
As I saw these guys and their coaches work, I really appreciated them. Kyle Wills ramrodded the work-study players, a majority of whom were black kids. I watched them in their blue work suits clean the post-game gym with precision.
And as much as I loved those ACC kids, football guys are just different. I never missed a game at home. And they made it a great learning experience. Somebody said John Bradsher became a General in the US Army. I don’t doubt it. Everybody loved Dwayne Clark. I did too and wept at his funeral. Stanly Hairston, Russell Evans, Al Hendricks, Ronnie Purcell, Jeff Slade, Gino McLamb,
Willie Williams, Grady Williamson. Our defensive backs and receivers were often just a little smaller than those at big schools. I marveled at Arketa Banks, and Steve Ferguson. Leo Barker was a super coach and others too many to name.
Over those twenty years we played North Carolina Central University, Barnes alma mata. DR. Leroy Walker always spoke. BIG HOUSE GAINES and I sat together all day at the NAIA BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS in Kansas City in 1976 . The first of 8 games that day began at 11am, the last at 11pm. Coach Gaines and I watched all eight. We ate 3 meals plus at the concession stand. Popcorn, ice cream, pretzels, cokes, hot dogs, candy bars. Coppin State (with Joe Pace) won the NAIA. Big House won the concession contest.
Arthur Ashe was the Jackie Robinson of tennis. He spoke to Elon on PROPOSITION 48 in 1988. For years I have bought every copy of his DAYS OF GRACE I have found. I gave many of these, his most personal perspective of race in America, to those great kids I coached and taught. My thanks to Arthur.
I don’t know how long the Barnes exhibit will remain in Raleigh. I encourage its viewing and study. Mr. Barnes is well known in the art and football world. One book of his history and work is FROM PADS TO PALETTE (By Ernie Barnes). All football. When I finish I am sending my copy to Elon University Football. What a story.

P.S. for fun google 6-man football in Texas. going strong with scores in the 70 point range. I believe Crowell High School has had the best program.
P.S.S. Just purchased the new biography, ASHE, on Arthur Ashe. Into first 200 pages, and so far, so good. tp

THE 2018 US OPEN (TENNIS) –BLOG 232

Now retired from coaching tennis, I marvel at the changes in the game. The US OPEN men’s singles match between Nadal and Theim may have been the longest match ever played at that level of play. In 2012 it was apparent the next tactical gold mine was the drop shot. Now they have perfected how to defend this nightmare. What is next?
1. Temperature control. Eight players retired with heat the victor in early play.
2. Two of the all time best (and toughest) men–Federer and Nadal were victims, one to heat, one to injury. The parity of the players, and the number of them, has combined with technology to the point that even the fittest succumb. Somewhat like pro football, who is left at the end, wins. Most obvious first rule change: Only 2 of 3 sets.
3. There were no referees in small college team tennis matches when I began coaching. Players made all calls. The home coach was in charge of decisions. Some “goat rodeos” in those days. The point penalty system gave our new found referees a way to control misbehavior. Took a while. Illie Nastase shouted at the “cyclops” prototype “…you made in Russia!” The new machines can make a call as narrow as a blade of grass. Little arguments with modern line calls. The
2018 NCAA Mens Singles finals featured Wake Forest’s #2 player beating Wake’s #1 player in the finals. I witnessed a similar situation 45 years ago.
Small colleges often played in the NAIA. Presbyterian College of Clinton, SC was coached by Jim Shakespeare. And, similarly, their #1 (George Amaya) played their #2(Milan Kofol) for the title. The chair umpire and only official was the impeccable Mr. Marvin Richmond. Mr. Richmond, a small but quite neat man, had served a term as the head of the USTA.
College tennis was growing fast and needed rules. The NAIA had its unique behavior rule which simply stated ONE WARNING, SECOND OFFENSE—GAME. This was also before tiebreakers. Early in the close and heated (for teammates)match Mr. Richmond had given Kofol with a warning. At 7/7 in the final set, Amaya broke Kofol for the first service break in the set. This made the score 8/7 with Amaya to serve for the match. Kofol reeling from losing his serve, made the fatal mistake of underestimating the rules. Approaching his seat for the change over, he angrily threw his racket at his chair. Stunned, the quiet crowd heard a big voice from the small referee: “Penalty two. GAMES 9-7. Mr Amaya is the NAIA MEN’S SINGLES CHAMPION!”
Understandably Coach Shakespeare objected. His reason: “You can’t make that call, this is the national championship!” As Mr. Richardson descended to the bottom rung of umpire’s chair he straitened his necktie, turned to the coach and players and declared “WHAT BETTER TIME TO MAKE THE PROPER CALL.” And walked away.
There is written proof of my sincere admiration for the Williams family and what all they have accomplished over the years. At the same time, having watched more tennis this year than ever, my major complaint has been “…the rules do not allow throwing and/or damaging your racket. Male or Female, any day.
The rules are important. Examples are important.
Fewer rackets will be thrown.

BALLS OUT (231)—-ON COLLEGE TENNIS

BALLS OUT!

 

PHONE IS 252-764-3492

 

“HELPING  (blog 176)

“LITTLE  GREEN BOOK of TENNIS” (blog 164)

ACCESS TO BOTH IS FREE THROUGH ME OR PDF ON BLOG

 

ethomasparham@gmail. com

Yesterday I was the moderator of a podcast by colleague, John Danise, of Florida. John is old, like me, and like me, is a fan of tennis. We share many ideas as to how to enhance tennis in America, specifically high school and college team tennis.

 

The personal information above is a copy of contacts to work I have done. My son convinced me of THE CLOUD, and the willingness to give freely to anyone who will access the blog, or the free pdf to both books.

The topic we confronted yesterday was the persistent issue of how to make tennis better in America.   My belief has always been scholarship availability for American juniors is both legal, and a key to player improvement (and sadly, to the recent demise in quality).

I was particularly encouraged by two of our contributors, one American, one a South African.   Having lost the argument for some kind of reservation of scholarships, it is good to know there are bright, younger people aware of the problem, and the willingness to put some pressure on the big guns.

Maybe the best thing yesterday, was making people aware if the history of this battle. Both sides.   The second half of HELPING is all on the history of information I have gathered since 1970 (“pre—internet”) Some mine, mostly others.

Many have been aware of the issues and legality of the problem. It was good to hear there are some new ones with the passion for our tennis. (see “

Passing the Flag” (blog 163.)

 

PS you can hear the podcast from yesterday by googling yella ball network. Find the specific podcast and punch away.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ur10snetwork/2018/08/30/coach-danise-exploring-tennis-blessings-with-mentor-tom-parham

COACHING THE ECONOMY (230)

From my friend, Alan:  The head football coach was about to send a rookie college football coach on his first recruiting trip.  The prior season had yielded  no wins, eight losses, and two ties.

Old coach’s instructions.  1.  If  they ask you what our team record was last year, pretend you didn’t understand them.  2. They will likely respond, “…what was your record last season?” 3.  You can then say “Oh! EIGHT AND TWO”.

(It is not whether you win or lose, but how you place the blame. Or CLAIM THE FAME!)

(“It’s the economy, Stupid”!)

Here is a quote of my own.  Almost always the coach being fired is a better person than those firing him/her.

I hated  to fire a coach.  Like shooting your dog.

Historically team wins dictate employment.   2-8, 1-9, 2-8, adios.  Most  recoveries look hopefully like this—first year (3/5) , second year -5/5, third–7/3 and  almost everybody is happy.  Can’t please em all no matter what.

There are a lot of different things going on now.  Historically judgement on football coaches was about four years.  A lot like politics. “Give him four years to build his program” to “he better win next year or he’s gone.” Like politics?   Similarly “…if he gets it done in four years, we’ll give him four more!”

The previous Presidents, Clinton, W, Obama had eight years.

There is currently a lot of chest thumping over the economy.  And, in fact, the current crowd began to brag about this being totally to their credit  very early on.  A little quick for football.

CLINTON from 1992-2000  ended with a surplus budget.  (“It happened during my administration!”–POGO, AND BILL.)  Economy record?  9/1.

2000-2008:  The “W” (give cheney  and rusmfeld plenty of credit).  Iraq and hedge funds.  The term “trillions” at the end of this eight.  Economy record, 0-10.

Obama (2008 – 2016) .  The good news on the street is that we have been in the longest bull stock bull market ever.  About 8/9 years.  Hmm, that puts its beginning about 2008.

JET JOB (definition).  In the sports world when a team improves rapidly, skeptics arise.  Why?  Because to do it right takes time.  When a team goes from 2/8 to 8/2 in the first year of a coach’s tenure, eyes roll.  Pundits ponder.

It can happen quickly.  One team we had pulled 2/8 to 8/2.  I’ve got to say that coach was a really good one and we brought in two all time players at QB and wide  receiver.  After another 2/8 was about to be terminated, one staffer seemed concerned:  “I’m not sure.  This guy has recruited a great group for next year, plus he had the courage to properly red shirt some that will really help.”  Still he was replaced and the new coach went 8/2.

“You can’t make chicken salad until you have the chicken.”  (Buddy Bedgood).

MAYBE JUDGEMENT (CREDIT) ON THIS POLITICAL GROUP SHOULD WAIT UNTIL 2024.  OR 2020?