The Uncle Toni Project

Mentor Role

  • In my 40 years of being a professional Tennis Coach, I always knew it was a sports version of studying of Philosophy at a University.
  • I’d like to pass my thoughts on to Tennis players, parents, coaches, teachers and anyone interested in having an influence on the future, mentoring and nurturing people young and old, and achieving success and refer to Tennis Blast’s future dreams, and those of my own as a coach,  the “Uncle Toni Project.”
  • The reason being, that what “Uncle Toni” Nadal has done for Rafa Nadal is the easiest way to explain how much a coach-mentor can help a young persons achieve their fullest potential.
  • Thus our goal of Tennis Blast is to do our best for every member of Tennis Blast, in the same way that Uncle Toni has done for Rafa Nadal.


A Life of Tennis

  • I have many thoughts about coaching, teaching, friendships, business, sport, fitness, health and life in general. Here is a brief summary of what I have learned as a competitive player for 45 years and coach for 40.
  • Tennis is a project that in some ways is an endless journey. There is so much to learn, but the sport contains so much enjoyment, that you will always come back for more.
  • Similarly, through every win and loss in life, the character traits, the mental toughness and positive attitude that one learns from playing Tennis, one of the most challenging individual sports, one always comes back with optimism hope and belief to achieve ones goals.
  • To me winning and losing have become the familiar steps on a footpath to satisfaction, wisdom, good health and friendships.
  • I have always believed in saying to players and coaches, that we are all players and a coaches, but I would encourage anyone to remember to be a player first and a coach second.

Scientific and Technical Approach

  • Whenever I step onto the Tennis Court, my first thoughts are on stroke technique, building weapons, control, direction, height, placement, power.
  • To achieve this, you need good movement, biomechanics and position.
  • After that I think of the animal. The human traits. The player’s athletic and mental skills; and of course their character which determines the style and timetable the player will keep.
  • Every player could be said to be a different animal, or maybe even a different fruit.
  • I often think of Tennis as game that you need to understand some mathematics, geometry, physics, biology, chemistry, gambling, human characteristics and emotions.

Tactics Made Simple

  • Use the area of the court
  • Angles, Speed, Placement, Height, Spin
  • Variations of all of the above
  • Time – more time, or less time for you or your opponent
  • Understanding human character traits and emotions

Physical Health and Nutrition

  • Endurance, Speed, Agility, Strength and Flexibility
  • Injury prevention – Rehabilitation
  • Good foods and drinks
  • Common sense, natural, to suit the individual’s personality
  • Depending on budget and location
  • Learn fro experience – trial and error

Mental Health

  • I never forget my very first day at high school back in 1977 at Trinity Grammar School for boys at Summer Hill, Sydney. The legendary Mr James Wilson-Hogg addressed the school at assembly on the first day of 1972, the 4th last year of his 32 years as headmaster. He reminded us several times  – “Healthy Body, Healthy Mind.”
  • And I will add: “Have a good work ethic, a balance of interests and a few loyal friends.”

Selection of Your Coach

  • I conclude that any coach is better than none, as long as the individual takes responsibility for his or her own results and therefore uses the coach’s information as raw data, and makes up their own mind on how they use it and fills in the gaps with their own resourcefulness.
  • All coaches are good at different areas; they have certain areas of expertise, interest and limitations. So the student and/or their management need only to use common-sense, intelligence, fairness to the best of their ability and to successfully progress towards to their goal to enjoy the Tennis journey.

 Your Personal Development

  • Our top 3 affirmations are: “Believe In Yourself,” “Never Give Up” and “Stay Cool!”
  • Other important human traits to enjoy Tennis and life are resourcefulness, dexterity, persistence, continual effort and consistency.
  • To receive help, you need to be genuine, sincere, hardworking and appreciative.
  • If you aren’t all of the above, it will be difficult to reach your fullest potential.

Thinking Outside the square

  • This conversation starts with believing in dreams and that nothing is impossible.
  • Tactically, having a game-plan starting with plans A, B, C, D – then keep mixing them up to form E to Z until you achieve your goal.
  • Tennis is a game where you get many chances to solve the problem – you only lose when you run out of time.

To perform well and get optimal satisfaction and enjoyment whether you win or lose, you’ll need

  •  The best preparation you can manage
  • Practice i.e. learn the skill, practice the skill, perfect the skill in a match situation
  • Good health, all-round fitness
  • Good fuel and energy
  • To trust in your instincts
  • To learn from your mistakes


  • Practice makes perfect is the old saying.
  • In all the years, the best advice about practice I read was from Justine Henin-Hardenne. Make practice harder in every conceivable way, than anything that can happen in a match.
  • I’d like to add, from my on court coaching experience, that the coach must also make this ordeal fun, sugar-coated, entertaining and with good-humour.













  • I read that Layne Beachly, the 7 times world champion Surfer said that she learned that winning is easy.
  • I looked for the answer to this seemingly paradoxical statement. It didn’t take long because I really wanted to believe her belief.
  • I found that once you fulfil all of the basic criteria below, that winning is the result of loving your work and dedicating yourself to your ambitions.
  •  I also remember what Woody Allen, the famous Hollywood and 3 times Academy Award Director said: “80% of success is showing up.”
  • So it is easy to be a successful Tennis player, and philosophically therefore, it’s easy to be a successful person in life if you
  • Input all the time and energy you can
  • Innovate, update your technology and specifications
  • Analyse, correct and find solutions to all obstacles in your path – Michael Jordan says to go left, right, over, under or through.
  • Re-invent yourself whenever necessary
  • Are professional and stubbornly stick to your goal
  • Plus add the 4 Ds of Harry Hopman, the legendary Australian Davis Cup Captain and Coach of 22 teams during the Golden Era of Australian Tennis from 1939 to 1967, winning 17 times.

 Desire Discipline Determination Dedication