TopCourt Review - Tennis MasterClass with Free Trial

TopCourt has launched the next "MasterClass for Tennis"

A tennis project backed by the Bryan Brothers, Lindsay Davenport, Genie Bouchard, Sloane Stephens, and other world-class players. Tennis drills and instructions are demonstrated by some of the best players and coaches in the world.

Marriage of Tennis and Tech

In 2020, the fundamental way we enjoy our sport gets redefined. Indian Wells was canceled, and suddenly the tennis world found itself having a LOT of extra time on their hands. Equipped with 4K cameras, drones, and a tech-savvy team (led by Harvard and other college tennis alums) - TopCourt was born.

The tennis platform is designed to bring the player and fan right onto the pro's tennis court.
The Hollywood production value and an All-Star lineup will set the new gold standard. We are excited to have direct access to the largest pool of online tennis stars in the world and that TopCourt talent list is growing every month. We provide their latest updates and previews monthly (below).

Our Tennis-Bargains Exclusive Preview -
(Link shared exclusively for our Tennis-Bargains fans)

Two main reasons why we the fans attend pro tennis events

Going to any Major like the US Open, I value these 2 bucket list experiences above all else:

1) Watching the 5th set Grand Slam match live on center court
2) Seeing and *listening* to the Tennis Pros prepare and practice from courtside

For #1, we have ESPN and Tennis Channel for all the big match coverage on our TVs.
For #2, the US Open and other events have and will bar eager fans from their grounds.

Spector sports have been fundamentally changed. We missed all those special moments of exhibition genius and unscripted, off-camera candid insights outside the stadium. Until tournaments can safely reopen, the demand for sports experiences will be greater than the supply for avid fans. 

We secretly want to train, feel, and hit like our tennis heroes.
For the lucky few in the crowd who managed to squeeze into a front seat at last year's US Open practice, it wasn't always comfortable. I remember waiting around P1-P5 all day long patiently in a queue. Rows of heads peek behind a wall of fans for a quick glimpse of one or two favorite stars.

Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible at these noisy events to ever catch all the tips thrown around in a drill or understand the coach's subtle advice to the player. Even if you could hear over the crowd noise and not get blocked, it would be really nice for once not to suffer the risk of being suffocated by a giant tennis mob crowding over you!

With COVID-19 in 2020, we found a better way - a safer way for fans to "be there"...

TopCourt's newest episodes are available now:

  • Iga Swiatek (2020 French Open Champion)
  • Andrey Rublev (winner of 4 Tour Titles in 2020)
  • Aryan Sabalenka (Top 10 in singles and doubles)

Good Angles: the view of tennis from up close and personal

The unique first-person experience makes TopCourt so different and special. It is unlike any TV camera position. You literally feel like you're so much on the court you will get hit by the shots.

You are invited to be there as the "fly on the wall"
Overhead drone shots, intimate camera angles, and personalized commentary from the pro speaking directly to you, as if you're the only else there. The one and the only taking the private lesson.

TopCourt offers 30+ different pros and coaches
All gathered together, then filmed and mic'd up for one reason - to show you their inner game and experiences that shaped them. Each pro has a different skillset and background. Their unique personalities make the campus of TopCourt so diverse and wide.

Upfront and Center is exactly where TopCourt puts the viewers for every video.

Watching the Lindsay Davenport documented series is like following a well-choreographed story with each chapter of her career. During her drills, you never feel the pro is holding back or the shots she explains are too imposing to try yourself. The edits are well done with many enhanced cues (such as the mini-court icon at the bottom revealing where the player and each ball bounce is placed).

You get the benefit of all their combined years of experience on tour, which distills differently with each pro's own style and humor in their teaching role. Chapters are bite-sized enough to absorb a few key ideas. You feel motivated to then go out to implement, without feeling you have to binge-watch it all in one sitting.

Best Episodes of TopCourt (so far)

Best Drills: Bryan Brothers - Doubles Volleys (side to side)
The 16-time GS champions and GOAT of doubles. Great drone footage, clear ideas.

Best Stories: Lindsay Davenport - "Top of the Mountain"
Origin, World #1, Olympics, Grand Slam Champion, Mom

Best Instruction: Monica Puig - Backhand & Footwork
Very easy on the ears and eyes. Covers A to Z: Grip, Preparation, Shoulder Turn, Stance, Split-step.

Best Background: Fernando Verdasco - The Spanish Way
Growing up in Madrid, Success in Juniors on Hard Courts, Facing Rafa, Davis Cup Champion.

$0 payment for the first 14 days, no chargeTopCourt Free Trial Offer

Just as with every tennis product that has ever been reviewed on, we put our personal money at risk first before we will ask our readers to take the dive.

TopCourt will even send you an email notification 2 days in advance of the trial expiration to remind you, in case you are not happy before the 14 days are up.

No obligation to pay if you are not happy at the end of the trial.

More players and episodes will be available each month, so stayed tuned as we announce updates.

Use our TopCourt Free Offer for 14 days to test drive the site first. See if you enjoy the pros available currently with no risk.

Feel free to save our free trial link if you want to share with a friend or try it out later!

The Presence of Professors

"The real teaching by Masters is not with words; it is with Presence."
Don Miguel Ruiz

I'll never forget as I stood next to Rafael Nadal last year. Those few precious moments alone, holding my breath in awe to witness a moment of glory with the Master. Just one single square-foot of real estate on red clay was worth my flight ticket halfway around the World.  Last year, I actually found myself on the same court as Rafa (twice) in Spain.

For that rare opportunity, I would gladly travel back to Barcelona or Mallorca without hesitation. My Spanish wasn't even that great - but somehow I understood. Watching Moya and Nadal dialogue back and forth through every tennis ball is like being in a trance. Being there within earshot of your tennis idol will exceed your greatest expectations and worth the journey.

When you get to hang around these top pros on a regular basis, you also begin to receive what can only be described as the education from sheer proximity to greatness.

On TopCourt, Fernando Verdasco retells his personal memories facing Rafa. He recalls the pressure of playing his best against Nadal at the semi-final of a Major in the 5th set. From all his childhood struggles in the juniors to heroic Davis Cup glory days inspired by "Yes We Can" in 2008. He shares insider stories that are simply not broadcasted on TV.

How Pro Players Practice

As a tennis coach, journalist, and photographer, I have covered a lot of pro events. But over the years, even I would prefer to arrive early during qualifier matches or the early first-round days. All the top players are still loose and comfortable. Teams are relaxed and jovial.

When revisiting any of the four Grand Slams, if I could only be there for just one hour, I would beeline straight to the practice court of Federer or Nadal. Hanging out by the side of any Indian Wells practice court during a couple changeovers simply feels so relaxed and natural. Away from the tension and outside the pressures of center court matches - it gives you everything else that is not available on TV.

Play like the Pros

On TopCourt's show court, you learn straight from the pro's own descriptions as he/she demonstrates. It covers not just the nuts and bolts technique, but also the inner intent behind maximizing each shot's potential.

On TV, viewers get fixated on a great play. Then at best, we see one slow-motion replay of the last winner. But does anyone explain the subtle mental mechanics that go into constructing that point? The scoreboard does not tell the whole story. Now, when you see that glamourous play (the Flash), you begin to recognize some of the preparation (and Dazzle) that goes into setting it up.

Beyond the Spotlight and Locker Rooms

Brilliant interviews and background stories.

Be it their parents or coaches' influence at an early age or a major turning point in their career, we see what fueled them early on. The interviews and stories on TopCourt take you beyond the spotlight. Very much like ESPN's 30 for 30 series, it adds a lot of humanity to the player's journey.

Another big bonus is that fans also get to relive the drama of their biggest wins and losses, truer to life than any tennis biography. In this relaxed filming setting, they can speak with a zen-like clarity from the heart, sharing their life's ups and downs with tennis since childhood.

Away from the constant pressures of competition and probing media at tournaments looking for a sound byte, they have the time to reflect deeply and showcase their favorite moments.

TopCourt Academy

Top ATP and WTA players and coaches include many former and future Grand Slam champions. Nearly every player I watched has been in the Top 25 of the world with multiple tour titles.

The TopCourt pros practice their craft until they can't get it wrong. For each of them, it is a matter of their own survival. Each must hone and master each set of drills before they will dare put it on the line against the stiffest competition in the world.

Here are some of the top players:

- Genie Bouchard
- Fernando Verdasco
- Monica Puig
- Bryan Brothers
- Lindsay Davenport
- Taylor Fritz
- Belinda Bencic
- Sloane Stephens

Top Coaches paired together with Rising Star Players

Brad Gilbert (August)
Brad recounts his coaching experience with his former #1 students: Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, and Andy Murray. Brad gives out on-court coaching tips and advice to Eugenie Bouchard.

Paul Annacone (September)
A former coach to Roger Federer and Pete Sampras, he works with Taylor Fritz to give you the American Dream Team of player-coach pairing. Taylor has reached his career-high ranking this summer.

Who's Next?
Every 2-3 weeks, fans can expect another player video chapter released including former champions in the line-up:

- Sofia Kenin - 2020 Australian Open Champion
- Bianca Andreescu - 2019 US Open
- Petra Kvitova
- Nick Kyrgios
- Chris Evert
- Venus Williams
- Nick Bollettieri
- Amanda Anisimova
- Arantxa Sanchez Vicario
- Sam Querrey
- Elina Svitolina
- Jelena Ostapenko
- Tommy Paul
- Reilley Opelka
- and many more

The Value of an Annual Membership

The price is $180/year, but for a limited time - we as official TopCourt Ambassadors can provide our own free 14-day trial link this week exclusively to our fans. Interested to try?

The Gold Membership gives even more perks and a chance to see the tennis stars privately in person if you upgrade.

With no fans allowed into the US Open this year, this was the closest experience we can offer to replicate the experience from a professional tour player's practice.

As our valued reader, we have been so proud to offer our free trial - as the #1 "TopCourt Ambassador" since its June launch. We signed up with our own company credit card to test the sauce and it doesn't disappoint.

Reviewing every product firsthand is the only way to give the Tennis-Bargains seal of approval - on every racket, string, ball, event ticket, or tennis gadget.

If we did not put up our own money to research and try it first, we would not expect you to do so either.

At any later time, if a better product eclipsed it or felt it hasn't lived up to hype or expectations over the long run, then it would not stay on this site very long.

This is Tennis-Bargains and we stand by the products we recommend.

Is TopCourt worth the $15/month membership?

It is still a bit too soon to tell! It depends on your goals as a Fan and/or as a Student of Tennis. Will your favorite players appear on the site? Do you enjoy tennis documentaries and instructional videos such as On Court with USPTA?

For the Tennis Fan: TopCourt is loaded with all the extras. If you already subscribe to the Tennis Channel or TennisTV and want more exclusive content (not just match play), then this gives you private content and personalized access.

Streaming content is hot right now. If you want some first-hand insights about the players, then likely you can consider it as another kind of Netflix or Hulu or ESPN/Disney+ streaming service. Disclaimer, I only pay for Netflix but recently have been cutting back on other media in order to go outdoors more.

Membership vs One-time Rental Prices
Fans should decide if they enjoy having the widest collection of players to sample, or if they only want to view the content of just one coach on another platform (Serena on MasterClass, Agassi on Udemy, Sharapova on theSkills). Each of the 3 offers a one-time fixed price to watch the instructor's complete tennis course - they each last about 1 hour in total length.

This is similar to a NetFlix subscription vs a one time Amazon Video or Google Play rental night.

Personally, I think it is actually fine to do both - especially with the free trial period to test the waters before committing. For myself, I have watched every single TopCourt video published to date. There is plenty to choose from and I ever don't feel stuck if I am in the mood for a different title or episode.

The membership also makes sense for me as a coach and as a hardcore fan because I enjoy knowing I have a full library available and can even recommend specific videos in the tennis collection at any time to a new student.

For the Tennis Student:

Doing the math, $15 x 12 months is $160 - definitely a very good value for a year's worth of access anytime and anywhere. I see it as a perfect complement to live instruction these days during covid.

Knowing that the Bryan Brothers have a much better volley than me - I can free my own ego to admit it and refer them to the best. I also find that some students are much more excited and eager to attempt a certain drill if they watch it being performed well by the best #1 doubles team in tennis history.

If you take private tennis lessons, those are typically at $50-$65 per hour. That is the average price to hire certified teaching professionals. Once you get 30+ solid professionals in the lineup to watch, this price pays for itself.

With 3 hours of coaching time, you can expect optimistically to get a few fixes on your shots if you find a tennis coach who is good AND you go home to practice what they teach you. Check out our tips for getting the most out of TopCourt and other distance learning videos.

Could your own tennis coach ever win a set from anyone on the TopCourt team?

As a USPTA coach, I will provide my own honest opinion about lessons. If I give lessons in ideal conditions and can cover just the forehand OR serve in just 3 lessons, we are both happy and that's a great success. But realistically that is pushing it even when coaching a talented athlete.

TopCourt just has a lot more variety of talent at the ATP/WTA Pro Tour level - the very best out of the best. From each pro's 3 drills or lessons, I would say expect about 2 out of 3 to be moderately useful and accessible for both juniors and adults. Take your time to go through and review the videos before and after you play.

I would watch the Stories and Training videos before viewing the Drills and Instruction sections so that you get some background on the TopCourt coach and their mindset.

YouTube Tennis Channels
YouTube has a lot of free content but their creators' quality advice can be very scattered. YouTube allows anyone in the world to claim they can teach you tennis, even if they themselves have never played at the tour level.

It doesn't mean the content is bad, but sometimes the explanations and view the watcher sees are actually not explained in full. Sometimes steps are skipped without the best viewing angles. Other times, they gloss over or oversimplified topics so it fits into a video.

There are some notable exceptions to show you one stroke really well - example: Tour-level forehand (Rick Macci), just look at those basic videos first. When you are ready for something more modern and demonstrated by a 2020 pro then look at TopCourt.

I would not recommend a brand new beginner to hop onto TopCourt and expect to improve right away - lots of practice on the court is more valuable. For every 1 hour lesson, expect to perform 2-3+ hours of practice for maximum results.

Comparing TopCourt to other Online Tennis Videos

*NEW* See our free direct comparison of TopCourt vs YouTube and other online programs.

Distanced Learning - 2020's new paradigm

Distance Learning - it's here to stay...

Colleges, schools, parents - we all understand the simple yet inconvenient truth. It affects all students - rich or poor, young or old, from rural to urban. The new classroom format is at home...for better or worse.

Education is shifting to becoming digital, continuous, and largely self-driven.

Digital content will reinforce more screen-time.
In turn, we must seek more time outdoors to get un-plugged.
Quality education must now be both engaging and entertaining in TicTock-sized chunks.

In the ocean of digital noise and swipe-left, he who can gather their attention wins.

We must adapt or risk failing our children's future.
Not one semester, not one year, but one generation.

Finding the right teachers and patchwork of content is key to mixing that magic "spoonful of sugar" to keep kids learning.

Spend $15 for a Lesson from a Tennis Legend

Free previews. 30-day money-back guarantee. Career Slam and Olympic Champions.

Andre Agassi Academy on Udemy

Topics: All Strokes and Mindset
Length: 10 chapters, 1 hour
Skill Level: Intermediate to advance.
Coach's Rating: A-

Pros: Love Agassi's lectures; great stories, clean format. Invaluable tips for the tournament players; Udemy certificate included; lifetime review

Cons: Limited angles, displayed using 1080p video. Students should be familiar with tennis basics and fundamentals before starting.

Serena Williams on MasterClass

Topics: Fundamentals and Technique
Length: 9 chapter lessons, 2 hours
Skill Level: Beginner to intermediate
Coach's Rating: B

Pros: Great Filming, lighting; In-depth narrative; Beginner-friendly

Cons: Focuses mainly on only one stroke - the serve. Fairly basic advice.
Student video critique and review period is over;

6 Truths of Education in the Post 2020 world:

  1. Learn Anywhere - Social Distance is baked-in. Crowded lecture halls become obsolete.

  2. Dynamic Pacing -  smarter kids can accel at a rapid pace, not held back;
    slower students are not discouraged for not keeping up. Lack of comparison and peer judgment.

  3. Asymmetric Sharing - One Teacher can now deliver personalized 1-on-1 lectures anywhere in the World at any time zone. Sal Khan of Khan Academy: "variable time, fixed outcomes".

  4. Better Visuals - Classic topics must be modernized for newer viewers and younger audiences.

  5. Tests as Games - Fun, friction-less, and adaptive; knowledge retention should be interwoven and skill-checks sprinkled generously. Participation and Practice are the keys for success.

  6. Digital Badges and Points: Showering rewards for not just the right answer but also for showing the proper reasoning to arrive at those conclusions.

Learn and Watch - Tennis Classes at Home

TopCourt Tennis
5 Tips for Studying Video

#1) Feel free to jump around!

It's Not compulsory to go linearly from Chapter 1 to Chapter 10 in order. Explore all topics briefly at least once. Skip ahead and come back later.

This is known as "Interleaved Practice" - Make it Stick: the science of successful learning

#2) Don't Binge!

Yes, this is not like trying to blast through 5 seasons of a sitcom in one weekend. It's not a race nor a time-limited food buffet to see how many dishes you can stack.

The goal is to understand this stuff and retain it.

  • Watch a few videos, then take a break to think about it. I prefer my 90-minute "sprints".
  • Share or explain what you learned to a peer, in your own words.
  • Sleep on it - let your subconscious review the lessons and ideas overnight before bed.

#3) Learning to Practice Balance Ratio

How to Study Smart is a great youtube video to watch for any student.

  • Learn one or two drills max.
  • Practice each drill at least twice, separately during the week.
  • Repeat in your own words the keys points first.
  • Go out with a parent, friend, or coach. Demonstrate what you witnessed.
  • When you teach someone else, you reinforce it. Always be a student of the game.

#4) Maximal Screen Time Efficiency - 3 views for every 1 clip

1st time viewing any video - Skim through and just get the overall idea.
2nd replay of the video - Write on paper the key points (in your own words)
3rd / final replay - answer these questions in your head:

  • What are the basic mechanics?
  • When do I use it in a match? When should I avoid it?
  • Identify one good habit to focus on. List one bad habit to avoid with this drill.
  • Why is it used? Explain its usefulness.
  • Where should you hit the ball? How close to the lines do I need to hit?
#5) Have Fun! Use it in a Game or Challenge Contest
Set some progression goals to level up and challenges with friends.

Level 1 - Make 3/10 in a target area, Level 2 - 6/10 in a target area, go for Level 3.
Keep it interesting and yet challenging enough to keep going.

These tips can apply to any online education platform.

Other MOOC's I would also highly recommend:
Udemy, Khan Academy,

Tech Advantages for Learning

  1. Freedom of Choice Kids now have so much more free unstructured, spare time.

    How we fill this "idle time" could determine their future more directly than ever before. Off-court or outside school, alternative education plays a much larger factor today.

  2. Speed control - option to skim through chapters at 1.5x speed in the background, or carefully study and replay the last 30 seconds of the key idea. Bookmark and Highlight with time markers.

  3. Recorded replays For both clarity and re-enforcement, each student should be an editor.

    Imagine assigned to create a movie trailer for each lecture of only the most important parts. Encourage replays and shares - like reading a great book, we get something new on the 2nd or even the 5th time. Discuss what was learned.

  4. Boundless Exploration - Gen Z consumes video and memes the way the internet sprawled at its infancy. Allow for an easy transition into related sub-topics fluidly without stopping.

  5. Breaking the Self-Inertia to Create Habits - Avoiding lazy idleness. Know it, Be it, Do it.  It's not just a Nike slogan anymore. Building routines around actionable knowledge is key.

    Procrastination is sinfully easy now; parents must be responsible gatekeepers. Learning now takes extra diligence at home to prevent their kids from automatically being lured away by all the other digital media vying for their attention.

Mastery requires trial and error

Sorry - the last I checked Elon Musk has not gotten all the Neural Link bugs worked out yet. So we are not jacking into the Matrix anytime soon. You have to get your hands and feet dirty.

Remember these words: "Don't tell me - show me, Neo."

You have to go out to the real world and prove it can be done. It may not need to start on a tennis court. But learning must start with shadowing and rehearsing, or it won't stick.

In all likelihood, with anything challenging, we will not get it the first time.
Most people should go back to review the video (or take it along with you on an iPad or Tablet). Go back and replay it while practicing to get the steps right.

As a pro tennis instructor, I find it takes several sessions for each lesson to get comfortable for a student. It takes another few to get competent. With continued practice, it may require months to gain true mastery. But it has to be incorporated into your regular cycle of drills.

Get comfortable repeating it a few more times before moving onto the next topic.

Overlap the Practices with Match Play

I recommend 10-20 minutes max per set of drills. It can be repeated after a break or a different drill.

Do not simply repeat to a point of exhaustion because your body will not want to repeat it the next day.
The mind must be fresh in order to avoid making sloppy bad habits and one should isolate each step.
Put it all together once all the pieces are in place.

Generally, it is wise to stop *before* you start making too many mistakes. Repeat later.

Amateurs practice until they get it right, and the professionals practice until they can't get it wrong. 
Watch the pros on TopCourt - each one practices their craft religiously. 
They understand to bring that one skill into a pro match, they must be able to reliably compete for a living with it on the Pro Tour.

New tennis exercises need to be combined with old ones.
Just like interval training, moving to a different station, and always returning later.
Over enough time, it will blend in with the rest of the routine and workout circuit.

Each short video only gives you a small nugget of knowledge.

The viewer should decide what to watch first, last, or skip altogether.
Not all video clips are created equal.
Not all teachers are created equal.

3 Successful Tips for Distance Learning

Watch selectively.

Practice religiously.

Learn passionately.

Happy Money - Tennis Retirement with Money and Happiness

Tennis players retire by 29, 39, or 69...

To do so happily starts with finding a sustainable Zen relationship with your spending and saving habits. How you feel about money may determine if it flows into your life like water or slips away like sand.

Normally, I keep topics mainly around Tennis.

Today I want to switch gears and talk about the Mindset of Money. Finding great Bargains in Life.

Too many today are simply grinding it out. From freshly-minted pros, long-time coaches, to the countless fans globally struggling with debt or unemployment. Double-digit negative GDPs around the world is the new norm, while most are still deep into recovery or cryogenic freeze mode. The people who are worst off are in the OR/ER rooms waiting for ventilators - a microcosm of the greater health of this planet.

I am going to introduce a very inspiring book and audiobook I found during these difficult times. It is called Happy Money (and you can peek at this short youtube intro). Blogger Financial Samurai also wrote a great article last week about How to Feel Rich even if you Can't Get Rich.

With this platform and audience, I hope that I can help reach some of you who are unhappy or struggling during the lockdown. Both tennis professionals and fans alike are affected. Keeping Fit in multiple dimensions: your wallet, your body, but also the health of your mind.

Happy Money - the EQ of Money

The Book I want to share is called Happy Money, by Ken Honda

A jolly, round face man - Ken's quiet, disarming demeanor may fool some about his real wealth, but he is definitely a guru on the EQ and IQ of money.

Think of him as the Marie Kondo of Money Flow - instead of tidying up your room, Happy Money seeks to help you tidy up your cash and enjoy the way you feel about what you have.

The goal is to make "happy little millionaires" - with the emphasis on happy - not millionaire.

Thank you, money in. Thank you, money out.

It is all about appreciating and using the money to spark and accept positive energy - in and out. Very much a "wax on, wax off" approach for this gratitude cycle. In fact, he suggests viewing money as a form of Energy.

Sure, it will pay bills and buy food - but more importantly, it is our psychology with money that shapes our mood. It has helped me, and hope that it will help you too! (more below)

Son of Immigrants and Refugees

Growing up with struggling parents who came to escape from war-ravaged Vietnam and desperate poverty in South East Asia, the mindset travels with them to find ends meet. It is the son of a refugee that shares this verse now. I grew up poor with struggling parents who had no choice but to create their own business because their English and high school education was not good enough to be hired for any "normal" white-collar job as 1st-gen immigrants. So I only offer my own perspective. There are hundreds of thousands far worse off than me that have perished.

Countless lives and grandparents who had their retirement dreams ahead of them dashed, never to see that day when they could travel to their dream vacation they had saved up their entire life.

The Pixar movie, Up, is the memory that pops up in my head of the old man who lived in the little house with his wife to save up for their dream life while the world kept building around him.

You know someone, and maybe it is you, that strives to make it up there to Paradise Falls. We owe it to those who were lost, or left behind in America, to help get them there. Maybe with just a few colorful balloons at a time.

But I say to those who have dared and dreamed and toiled before you - even one small person has the chance to lift them up. Guide them with support, and we get there together.

Having bucket lists is not enough - dreams are so fleeting if not pursued with passion and urgency.

We struggle and save our whole life to fulfill that promise - to our children, to a better life for family, to justify our pain of past sacrifices for the promise of a new brighter tomorrow: Annie's song.

2020 shows us that all the preparation in the world can sometimes go right out the window. Well-crafted and planned futures. Only to be stolen by this invisible cloud of virality and fear.

So I urge my reader to consider this idea:

The far worse crime is to have never lived - to never have started/grown/shared something new with the World - in a sheltered existence of timidity

We face the real fact in difficult times:
Life is always uncertain. The End is always closing fast. Each day, remind ourselves that this too shall pass - if we keep moving forward.

Origin Story was founded around the last great recession just over a decade ago. Times were tough then too, just as they have been before in this country. With many out of work, the economy in shambles - tennis was on the verge of uncertain collapse or starvation.

I realized that over the last decade, even this one website has helped many. In the past, I measured success by how many thousands of tennis ball cans sold, thousands of hours of tennis instruction shared, and thousands of US Open fan memories made possible every year...but even in this lost year of tennis, I make it count by keeping my true fans happy - that is lasting Wealth.

This very website is evidence that great things can be borne during a pivot year.
Indeed the sport itself endured - yes, even thrived in the darkest hours of the last Great Recession.
We all take a collective deep dive in 2020 holding our breathe underneath dark waters, but America has and will once again resurface stronger.

There is Hope and Light ahead, as there was in 2008.

With all that I can do to support folks in saving extra dough and exercise more - I feel it still does not address the larger epidemic that now looms against society today. I write this piece in hopes to address this larger problem of 2020 and hope it brings you (even just one reader) some peace of mind.

The idea of "Having Enough"

With relationships past and present, we seek to build up good connections - ones at the core which are tied to truly kindred spirits. Linked to help each other grow.

It is also about quickly spotting the "transactional" friends - ones that will trade with you and accept money for goods and services. Beware of how they behave when their "free lunch" is over. The nice words and token acts might be a scam to lower your guard.

It is easy to get anyone to ride with you in the Limo, but it is more telling to see who is willing to ride with you on the Bus. I want to credit that quote to Oprah.

In tennis, they are happy to partake in your free drinks, hospitality, and private tennis courts - but they quickly scurry away like cockroaches when the cake is gone and there are signs of trouble on the horizon. There is too much FOMO and living the YOLO lifestyle these days. Hopping from one extravagant event or life-forgetting binge to another. The hedonic treadmill for some doesn't stop until it crashes.

Attraction to shallow intoxication from life in the form of substance addiction. Fortunately, this lifestyle has never appealed to me as an introvert - I guess I am an exception when you look on TV. In fact, the nature of marketing and being in sales online, one would think requires a very extroverted and gregarious personality. Ironically, I do not in fact possess these traits.

Grow Rich (with Peace of Mind), by Napolean Hill, is the variation of the popular title I recommend.

The concept of having "enough" is one that almost everyone I know struggles to identify. We get caught in the excesses of consumerism - trying to buy our way into Happiness. It does work, it doesn't last. We try to get higher-paying salaries to keep up with the Joneses - only to discover higher maintenance costs with our upgraded homes or cars, with bigger toys and possessions.

Right along with our spouses and children, we get spun into this vicious loop. Kids will come home and feel cheated because they didn't get a new cell phone as nice as their friends. Human nature puts us in this mode by default, if we aren't careful, it is a slippery slope down ahead.

Experiences and self-discovery

Lasting, memorable, positive experiences. Possessions and toys have that nice new-car smell, but it fades too quick. Objects by nature break and disintegrate over time. You pay to repair or replace them constantly otherwise you feel huge loss aversion for suddenly being without that gift which gave you the highest high.

Experiences, learning, growing in a new or old path - is the much more sustainable route. I urge travel (when it is safe again) not to simply displace distances and traverse oceans. But instead, seek the culture, the history, the stories. - my tennis travel blog
It is what we learn and can convey to the Future World that makes our travel valuable and limitless in the possibility for the next exploration. Seeking the next Summit this way is a journey, not a destination.

You cannot buy your way into Adventure

Owning a new Tesla did not and will not give you a rich life. You simply inherit another shiny box with 4 wheels - now zipping around in a much nicer electric box with bulletproof windows. Similarly, the GoPro does not come with built-in skydiving and scuba-diving. That 4K drone does not automatically transport you to the beautiful sunset or perfect waterfall. You gotta get out there!

Life's precious moments are not included in the price of admission.

Money is just a fuel

Get out there and find your heart's true Passion, my friend.

Live for what makes you, not what others want to make of you.

The real Adventure starts once your planning ends.

Stay safe, be happy, live well.

- JC

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