Featured

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).

GYM RATS (376)

 

September 16, 2019

Dear Friends,

 

Since 1966, Wilson Gymnasium has served our student-athletes, athletic teams, and the campus and community faithfully by providing a central hub for competitiveness, learning, engagement, and fellowship. 

 

It is home to the 2007 NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Champions, 2017 and 2018 Conference Carolinas Women’s Volleyball back to back champions, and has recently welcomed Harvard and Princeton to face-off against our nationally ranked Men’s Volleyball team. Through the years, Wilson Gym has also served as a community hub for the cultural arts. Events such as Barton College’s annual Love the Symphony call it home, and it has even attracted performances from musical greats with the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Ray Charles, and KC and the Sunshine Band taking center stage. 

 

From championship play to symphonic performances, the gymnasium has provided the background for some of the most memorable moments for both Barton College and the Wilson community. To keep up with growth, demand and continual use, the College began renovations to the facility in May. The transformation will provide coaches and student-athletes with the resources and facilities to support championship play by upgrading to a bio-cushion floor with new floor graphics, updating the sound system, installing retractable bench-back seating, adding new paint and interior enhancements, purchasing a new scoreboard and creating a higher quality fan experience through the addition of a new HVAC system. 

***When I arrived in 1959,   the real talk was about flag football and most of the  scuttle was who could stop Bob Wemberly? . While I saw him only one year I gotta say he was impressive  Think freight train. But for my all time MVP for intramurals none comes close to Johnny Dollar. Any sport winner we had , individual and team , usually featured Johnny Dollar.  And for his total stay. Herb Van Roekel did win the turkey day race all his four years.

 

And there are more I remember

And more I could mention

Than words I could write in a song

But I feel them watching

And I see them laughing

And I hear them singing along

 

Lyle Lovett—Family Reserve

 

Fellow Bulldogs, I have agreed to support this major reconstruction personally, as well as volunteering to identify people from the years 1960 – 1985 who I hope may have a similar desire to lend help to the College and the project. Now is the moment to participate. Thanks so much for your time and consideration. 

 

 

Go Bulldogs! 

 

Tom Parham/Gym Rat

Class of 1963

 

MY DEAL WITH THE BIG COACH (375).

THE NEXT SEVERAL BLOGS  RELATE TO MY EFFORTS TO RAISE MONEY FOR THE RENOVATION OF THE GYMNASIUM AT ATLANTIC CHRISTIAN COLLEGE/NOW BARTON COLLEGE (MY ALMA MATER).

September 16, 2019

 

Dear Friends,

 

Since 1966, Wilson Gymnasium has served our student-athletes, athletic teams, and the campus and community faithfully by providing a central hub for competitiveness, learning, engagement, and fellowship. 

 

It is home to the 2007 NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Champions, 2017 and 2018 Conference Carolinas Women’s Volleyball back to back champions, and has recently welcomed Harvard and Princeton to face-off against our nationally ranked Men’s Volleyball team. Through the years, Wilson Gym has also served as a community hub for the cultural arts. Events such as Barton College’s annual Love the Symphony call it home, and it has even attracted performances from musical greats with the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Ray Charles, and KC and the Sunshine Band taking center stage. 

 

From championship play to symphonic performances, the gymnasium has provided the background for some of the most memorable moments for both Barton College and the Wilson community. To keep up with growth, demand and continual use, the College began renovations to the facility in May. The transformation will provide coaches and student-athletes with the resources and facilities to support championship play by upgrading to a bio-cushion floor with new floor graphics, updating the sound system, installing retractable bench-back seating, adding new paint and interior enhancements, purchasing a new scoreboard and creating a higher quality fan experience through the addition of a new HVAC system. 

 

Fellow Bulldogs, I have agreed to support this major reconstruction personally, as well as volunteering to identify people from the years 1960 – 1985 who I hope may have a similar desire to lend help to the College and the project. Now is the moment to participate. Thanks so much for your time and consideration. 

 

Go Bulldogs! 

 

Tom Parham

Class of 1963

 

SUFFER? (374)

A new buzz word cropped up among the talking heads at the us open tennis tournament: SUFFER!  How much will one suffer for the tennis win?  Got to suffer to beat Nadal.

Sort of grim sounding.  Particularly to a minister’s son.  Don’t recall all the ways it appeared at the First Baptist, but sounded ominous.  “Jesus suffered and died on the cross” popped up a lot.  “Suffer the little children to come unto me”?  Not me! at five.

Don’t  think I  don’t know the value of conditioning in tennis.  Mental toughness.  Grind it out!  Dig deep.  You are only playing half a point!  Easy for me as a coach to yell, or blow the suicide whistle.

Nada vs Medvedev  2019 might have been the toughest match I have ever seen.  Nadal has a trump card.  He can wear anybody down and he knows it and they all know it.   But this new villain/hero never blinked.  Thanks to this match we saw a new willingness to suffer.  Aggassi was great for a while at this.  and  it does provide the public a deep look into admirable quality.

But wait a minute.  Two of the greatest ever suffered beyond even their max in  New York  (Joker and Fed),  begs the question—how long can these 3 super heroes survive?Is someone going to have to die to qualify?  If the women are paid the same, do they have to suffer equally?

College tennis is changing lots of ways.  But their intent is to enhance crowds.  Pros are looking at 5 sets?  Is parity of players and quality of equipment  demanding risking life long injury of upcoming aspirants.  Everyone in the draw can play.  No more 6/1, 6/0 semifinal clay victories for women.   Administrators and coaches and parents and players:  It ain’t one set and  a beer at the club, but does it have to be the lions and christians?

Romans 5:3

3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;

 

PATHWAY TO GAMBLING? (373)

 

I was a head tennis coach for forty years for two different colleges. Twenty years at Atlantic Christian/Barton College, twenty at Elon University. Most of our teams were in the National Association of Intercollegiate Association (NAIA). Elon years included NCAA 11 then NCAA 1

In 1972 the NAIA voted on college tennis’s most volatile issue; international players were completely dominating college rosters. Enclosed are a small percentage of letters I have written in an attempt to support American Junior players and their families in pursuing college tennis scholarships. This issue over the years spread from the NAIA men’s rosters to the NCAA11, NCAA1, both men and women’s teams.

*https://wordpress.com/post/littlegreenbookoftennis.com/1749

 

In 2017 my friend Chuck Kriese, former Clemson tennis coach, asked me to be a panelist at a meeting in Bradenton FL. to deal with this issue. (I thought) Coach Kriese has long been an ally on the international issue. There were ten people on the “panel” and I was asked to speak first (see notes). I did so attempting to gain support for tennis scholarships for Americans.

The second speaker startled me and others with his topic. Stripped down, it proposed to bring smaller satellite tournaments for college tennis in America. One panel member questioned where was the financing of these local tournaments coming from? Response: “we already have five million dollars in reserve.” Silence! Who is that sponsor was the question from the floor. I do not remember the name but another panelist replied “that is a gambling outfit in Europe isn’t it?” Yes was the answer. We all seemed a little stunned. And did not bring up the subject through the next several presentations.

As I exited the meeting Coach Kriese stopped me and asked “what do you think?” I was very frank with my friend –“Chuck this is an attempt to bring big time gambling to American College Tennis.” I was then no longer involved with this effort.

Concern for the game I reported this development to all involved in American tennis that I thought should be aware. Hardly anyone was aware of such a movement and I worried about overreacting and put my concern aside.

Still it nagged at me. How about the pro who revealed this scenario in the meeting: ”yes, one of my fifteen year old players asked me what to do about that man.”  Why?

“He stopped me on the way to the dressing room and offered me $1500.00 to lose the second set”.

One statistic said the volume of betting on tennis was second only to soccer in Europe.

The light comes on! With the ability to electronically report the current score of a tennis match worldwide was now technologically available to anyone as the official punched in the score. Anybody, tennis knowledgeable or not could place a bet on anything in the game. Second serve a double fault? Total number of games played per match?

Light #2. Gamblers get a 4% vigorish on any bet. The more bets the more 4% flows to management.

Voila. Where can you find the most number of tennis matches played in the world? Europe satellites? Nope. College tennis in America, no where close. Men & women, all divisions. How about Old Dominion’s number four girl against number four from William & Mary?

Will NC’s number two guy win the next point? 4% !

Today’s paper features an article entitled “New Series Seeks A Improved Pathway To Pro’s for US Tennis”.

Did I attend the beginnings of this current attempt? Is this really a “pathway to gambling”?

ORACLE is now the ITA (College Tennis) leading sponsor. All gamblers need now is that score recorder in a college referee’s hands. Worth watching this all develop?

COMMENT BY LANE EVANS

This is very insightful coach.  Well done!  I hope this is not a trend that will increase.  Gambling in tennis will paralyze our sport.  There are too many issues in sports as a whole to have this muddle the mix.  I have heard of the few regulars that show up at tour events and college matches with cell phones in hand ready to call the next bet.  Some have been stopped but just like the drug traffic, there is another right behind them to take their place.  High school, college and tour coaches need to unite in integrity.  They need to draw their lines in the sand and let the tennis world know that they are not going to participate.  Period and without discussion. Violators should be prosecuted for the fullest extent possible.  No exceptions.  No appeals.  Put me in charge of it.  I’ll take care of this quick, fast and in a hurry.  Anything that tarnishes our game is off limits.  We saw some fantastic performances at the Open over the past few weeks.  Gambling has no place among that royalty.  le

COMMENT BY DR. JOHN  EATMAN

NOT YET NORMA ROSE (372)

NOT YET, NORMA ROSE

Our friend, Norma Rose White , is a retired high school teacher. Finding it painful to report negative grades for her students, yet required period comments, Mrs. White chose “not yet” as a grade for “those others”. Our family found this evaluation a reasonable response for many a category, and we often responded, “not yet, Norma Rose!” when expectations weren’t quite met.

September 2018—till September 2019 was quite a year at Emerald isle. One neighbor just finished his house repairs last Tuesday. Hurricane Florence was a killer damage- wise to our community. Then Dorian caused forced evacuation from our newly repaired cites. Margaret and I left Thursday at 8am. At 9:1O not hurricane Dorian, but another assailant, tornado unnamed, roared down that path.

This one was vicious and found its frequent target (s)—back to back recreation vehicle parks.

Years ago when his small grandchildren visited, “Country”Boykin referred to them as “the thundering herd”. Three weeks before this hurricane our herd decsinded en mass on us.   We actually devised a common tact for older grandparents: we rented them a house.

Two nights their air conditioner shut down. So “several” sought relief at Pops. Logistically we had six adults, one semi teenager, and two four year olds. Nine people, two houses. One son of mine is mathematically off the chart but one could figure the variations of people we could combine. Yet, within minutes we all knew that all seven combined could not harness the two fours, when together.   Only the beach itself could tame them together.

Growing up in small North Carolina towns it was obvious that families did the same for their family vacations. “What are you all going to do on vacation?” Going to Myrtle Beach. Whole family, grandma, and dog, Emma.”

Most of the time there were lots of kids. No telling how many four year olds were babysat by the great Atlantic mother.

Grand parents giggle at the tail light joke. Our community elders host a “they are gone” party in the early fall. I missed that three weeks ago exit bliss moment.

Symptoms required a cardiac check, or three.   My history causes a lot of looking over my shoulder. Been lucky for twenty years after being lucky after quintuple bypass.   Need to go in there again, Coach. Odds got me.

God bless modern medicine and Dr. Williams. Ps. My first savior was another, Dr. Williams, my lifelong friend, Dr. Willis Williams.

Only a stint was required. And while it was the major one (right coronary) it feels like I have a new carburetor.

There is a reason or two for writing this. The three weeks back to back left a lot of reasons for concerns. Week one –many know lennox Parham (think thundering herd).   Somehow my hospital stay may have sounded serious to many close friends. Pile on a hurricane following a major hurricane that was reported to be headed right at 202 Blue Crab, only to be upstaged by a bombshell tornado, this too picking one of our nearby neighbors.

The streets are dry, the wind “lay down”as said locally.

Not yet Norma Rose.

 

RUNS IN THE FAMILY (371)

Both my sons played college tennis and have continued to play.   Oldest grandchild plays tournaments.  Elder son, Tee,  just finished a tournament in hometown, Boulder.  Runner-up in doubles, they won $200.  Reminded me of my “total earnings” from pro tennis.

I attended all the early ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association) coaches conferences, held mostly in Sanibel, Florida.  In 1989 the ITA held a prize money tournament, singles only, all ages.   Not for me.  1990 they added age divisions.  The late Bob Brynes, a fine player, asked me to partner with him in the 50’s and older.  When we got the draw there were only four entries.   Our first round opponents were both over 70 years old.  Pretty easy, this pro tennis.  However our next opponents, in the “finals”, no less, were pretty good,  The 7/6, 7/6 match was really long.  Bob carried the load.  I realized I was late for my free shuttle back to the airport.  A cab cost me $30.

Weeks later I received my share of the win.  EIGHTY FIVE BUCKS!  However, the check bounced.  Later redeemed,  I yielded $55.   Our  family earnings from tennis play are now:  Tee-$200, Dad –$55, or $255.

My trophy reads ITA NATIONAL DOUBLES CHAMPION  (50 and OVER).   Thanks, Bob.

FACULTY CHILDREN (370)

Small college teachers often have colleagues’ children in their classes.  They are often the brightest is the class or’ “the others”.  Love for colleagues, or the realization that one of your own may be one of “the others” breeds special attention to the “not yets”.

Recently I talked to John Sanford, son of legendary “Doc” Sanford, our baseball  coach and my department chairperson.   Doc and I changed schools.  He came from Elon to Atlantic Christian College, now Barton College, and later I moved to Elon.  One day at Elon Doc called saying he was bringing 12 year old son,  John,  to visit Elon.  I made preparations.

Doc came to Atlantic Christian because of a bitter turf battle with the  Elon basketball coach, the irascible  Bill Miller.  Vying  over services of Richard Such, future baseball Hall of Famer caused the tift.

Elon’s gym housed a hosting room, the Huey Room, where they displayed Elon’s athletic greats, or Hall of Fame members.   Large pictures of members were  hung on the wall in no order.  Before Doc’s impending tour I crept into the Huey Room and rearranged the pictures, putting Doc right beside Coach Miller.

After greeting Doc and John I escorted them down to the the shrine, all the way extolling the athletic prowess of his father to young John.  As we entered and squared away at the pictures I interrupted my praise.: “Oh my god , Doc!  They’ve got you up there by Miller!”

Doc said: “… yeah- move me down there by” Peahead” Walker!”

I asked John if he remembered that visit some thirty years ago?   “Like it was yesterday”.  he added, “..Coach, thanks for helping all us faculty kids.”