2021 TopCourt In-Depth Review: 6-months Later

TopCourt 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. For 2021, we see even more old-school veterans and coaches are teaming up with next-gen and undiscovered raw talents.

Marriage of Tennis and Tech

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

As the #1 TopCourt Ambassador, we offer advanced access to go in-depth with extra Q&A's on team meetings for industry insights, suggestions. It's been my goal to help reshape how the World learns and sees tennis.

TopCourt's tennis platform is designed to bring the player and fan onto each pro's tennis court.
The Hollywood production value adds to an All-Star lineup to set the new gold standard. We are excited to have access to the largest pool of 40+ online tennis stars in the world with that talent list growing every month. We will 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 big events continue to 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 of limited seats for avid fans.

TopCourt's newest episodes are available now:

  • Iga Swiatek (2020 French Open Champion)
  • Andrey Rublev (winner of 5 Tour Titles in 2020)
  • Aryan Sabalenka (Top 10 in singles and doubles)

Great Angle: 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 one else there. The one and the only taking the private lesson.

TopCourt offers 40+ 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 story. World #1, Olympics, Grand Slam Champion, Mom

Best Instruction: Monica Puig - Backhand & Footwork
Very easy on the ears and eyes. Covering 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 chargeMy TopCourt Free Trial Offer

Just as with every tennis product that has ever been reviewed on Tennis-Bargains.com, we put our personal money at risk first before we ever 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. 30-days to cancel.

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

First, use our TopCourt Free Offer for 14 days to test drive the site. For a limited time, see if you enjoy the pros available currently with no risk.

TopCourt takes our Game Changer Award of 2020

We have been reviewing online tennis courses for over 10 years. Since the days of Fuzzy Yellow Balls, this idea of learning tennis ideas online is not new.

TopCourt kicks it up 2 notches to make it entertaining and inspiring the whole way. It is simply unmatched by the depth of the talent and quality of the footage. With each new pro that signs up, you get more value for your money with unlimited access.

If you enjoy good journalism, it's worth paying for a subscription to the New York Times or the Washington Post. If you really love pro tennis content, go with TopCourt. You won't regret it. At Tennis-Bargains, we stand by the products we recommend and hold those standards high.

Running Plays from the Pro's Playbook

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: a Human Story

Interviews conducted brilliantly and background stories that reveal the human and young person behind the superhero costumes the players wear on the court. If 2020 has given us anything, it is the appreciation for connection. This has become TopCourt's signature recipe.

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 hidden obstacles encountered in their 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 little more 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 probing for a sound byte or misquote, the players have the time to reflect deeply and showcase their favorite memories and moments with their fans.

Don't we all 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 their player. Even when I could hear over the crowd noise and see the action, it would be really nice for once not to risk being suffocated by a giant tennis mob crowding all over youSee TopCourt's Latest trailer clips

With COVID-19's impact on tennis - we found a better way - a safer way for fans to "be there"

Presence - the Power of Professors

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

USPTA Pro Reviews: TopCourt vs TheSkills vs MasterClass vs Udemdy

Watching Tennis Lessons from Tennis Legends

Online and streaming entertainment may become the superglue that holds tennis fans over this long Winter. The Australian Open and ATP Cup have been pushed back to Feb. Indian Wells has postponed after March. Will we see Top 10 Tennis in the USA before Miami?

After spending many hours over several weeks watching the latest online streaming tennis, here's this month's breakdown for each platform's pros and cons below. Opinions expressed are purely that of this site alone - which do not necessarily reflect those of the USPTA.

The academy gets even deeper with talent, adding even more star-studded this month. Filming for the next season' has recently wrapped in Florida. So with editing and post-production, they should land on-screen soon after in 2021.

My Personal Holiday Streaming List and Favorite Shows:
  • Disney+ (The Mandalorian)
  • Netflix (Queen's Gambit, The Champions - if you enjoy the Office)
  • CBS (Young Sheldon, Amazing Race)
When it comes to the "Marvel Universe vs DC Comics debate" - we're a solid Marvel fan, so your miles may vary with your superstars. Fans should compare TopCourt for free then you be the final judge!

2021 Instructional Tennis Showdown Competition - Round 2

To give our tennis fans a full comparison, we personally reviewed nearly all of the other major online platforms each month that features tennis video packages. Some legends who have a large fan base created their own video products. Free previews with a money-back guarantee.

TheSkills - Maria Sharapova

Topics: Warmups, Drills, and Mental Toughness
Length: 20 chapter lessons, 1.5 hours
Skill Level: Intermediate (3.0-3.5+)
Coach's Rating: B+

Pros: You learn a lot about Maria and her life, mindset, and strategies. Solid warm-up routines. Good suggestions for tweaking certain shots and key focus points. Her monologues are clear.

Cons: Costs more ($69?) for just her one course alone?! Wait for a sale or promo. Players must have all core shots in their bag to get the most out of this series. The vast majority of the videos feature her personal reflections on her own career.

We recommend Maria fans to try the 7-day free trial offer with the All-Access package. Try the other sports stars' commentary. The multi-sport pros give good pep talks to motivate home athletes. For me, it's still too new and needs more talent in the lineup to compete effectively at this price.

MasterClass - Serena Williams

Topics: Fundamentals and Technique
Length: 9 chapter lessons, 2 hours
Skill Level: Beginner to intermediate (2.5-3.0+)
Coach's Rating: B

Pros: Great Filming, lighting; In-depth narrative; Beginner-friendly. MasterClass packages a very wide range of (non-tennis) topics and subjects with gurus of their own craft.

Cons: Focuses heavily on one stroke - the serve. Fairly basic tennis advice.
The student ability to get video critique and review period is over;

Note: We found TopCourt's Gold membership has many interactive features. Gold students get access to many more tennis pros for Q&A, plus even a chance to attend future live filming events.

Udemy - Andre Agassi Academy

Topics: All Strokes and Player's Mindset
Length: 10 chapters, 1 hour
Skill Level: Intermediate to advance (4.0+)
Coach's Rating: A-

Pros: Love Agassi's lectures; great stories and clean format. Invaluable tips for the tournament players; Udemy certificate included; lifetime access for review. Only ~$15 on sale. A proponent of education, I support his efforts and would recommend his course.

Agassi's bestseller autobiography "Open" is my definitive must-read. Vital if you want to deeply understand the life of any tennis pro.

Cons: Limited angles; the video quality is limited to only 1080p. Students should be familiar with tennis basics and fundamentals before starting. Only about an hour's worth of content - wish there was a sequel.

TopCourt goes A-Team with their Champions and Coaches 

ATP and WTA heroes are joining the TopCourt team lineup for 2021 including Karen Khachanov, Madison Keys, and Kyle Edmund.

WTA Triple Threat of Former World #1's: Venus Williams, Chris Evert, and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario. Each earning at least two dozen grand slams in their careers.

Hall of Famer Nick Bollettieri (coach of Agassi, Courier, Seles) joins ranks with Paul Annacone and Brad Gilbert. Stacking a century's worth of tennis wisdom, they have guided several strong talents into the path to becoming future world champions.

TopCourt Revisited, 6 months later - areas for improvement?
Perhaps we've gotten too much content?! Like Netflix, you won't be able to easily digest it in just a few sessions. It now has a library of over a hundred total episodes, while still revealing about two more players each month.

Narrowing the field might have to come in the future. Some episodes I ended up skipping over because of my difficulty with a few player's accents.

TopCourt recently added new sections called "Top Picks" (recommendations) and "Trending" (popular). To get our users launched, we listed our starter video pack of picks from TopCourt.

Our Wish List features for tennis enthusiasts:
  • A voice-over replay explaining a player's technique while he/she is hitting in slow motion.
  • Pros rallying full speed against each other in live points. Play analysis by TopCourt coaches.
  • Visual cues to pick out the one truly excellent shot example from all the other good ones.
  • Feedback Mechanism: a rating system to allow fans to give "likes" at favorite video keyframes.
TopCourt's growth is the most comprehensive and promising out of all the platforms screened to date. There is a lot of value to a solid team and building a strong, well-balanced group of players. It's the chance to display the player's own authentic self while offering budding talent the opportunity to build a bigger fan base online.

Best of all, TopCourt still offers our free 14-day trial to test it out, so try it today!
We're eager to see new upcoming updates, players, and share our opinion here in the next round.

Honorable Mentions

YouTube Tennis Channels

YouTube is great for watching highlights and replays. But it's a mixed bag when it comes to quality lessons and developing your own tennis game properly.

A few YouTube channels I enjoyed:
The wild west of tennis content.
Everyone has their own ideas and style. There is a lot of "click-bait" too and often lessons are over-simplified into 3-5 min videos with flashy titles but the quality of content has a very wide gap and some ideas are oversimplified.

The negative is that you might learn the wrong technique or make bad assumptions if you try to learn purely from YouTube. Recording yourself and doing a visual comparison with a pro is recommended.

Fuzzy Yellow Balls - the OG

Wil Hamilton started the online tennis training idea about a decade ago. The target audience I would say is 2.5-3.5 players who want to learn the Tactics and Strategy behind singles and doubles. Some of the content is starting to show rusty and a few stale courses after many years.

There is a lot of chalkboard talk (he loves to talk) and his X's and O's start feeling like a scene from a football huddle. Some may like that play-calling style, especially if you're playing leagues or tournaments below the 4.0 level

Others may find it too verbose with his commentary with magnets on the whiteboard and not enough illustrated examples that are live real-time action on the court.

Top Tennis Training

The UK blokes Alex and Simon explain almost all their shots with a back-to-front camera angle in their British accent. Most of the content is broken down by them talking about stroke analysis.

They might be strong players but their videos do not always translate to improving an amateur's game. Players starting tennis are advised to learn the fundamentals prior to emulating their advanced technique. I found this complicated comprehension and misses some basic progression steps needed for new players' improvement.

Whether you are a junior or advanced adult player, finding the right coach to emulate is the key!

Learning to Learn using online tennis tools

TopCourt Tennis
5 Quick Tips for Video Learning

#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" from
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 Balance the Practice 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) Maximize Screen Time Efficiency - 3 ways to watch 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? Reflect. Explain its usefulness.
  • Where should you hit the ball next time? 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, Lynda.com

TopCourt is the new spin on modern tennis education + entertainment = "Edu-tainment".

Watch and Learn - Tennis from Home

Stay safe at home, enjoy your tennis, and be inspired for $15/month.

6 New Paradigms of Education and Learning

  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. Exciting Visuals - Classic topics must be modernized for newer viewers and younger audiences. Fan demand creative camera angles and personalized stories with real characters and emotions.

  5. Fun On-Court Games as Testing - Fun, friction-less, and adaptive; knowledge retention should be interwoven and skill-checks sprinkled generously. Participation and practice are some keys to 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.

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 with a patchwork of content is the key. Discovering some new digital "spoonful of sugar" is the magic key to help kids unlock learning while locked down.

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-2x 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.

Overlap the Practices with Match Play

I recommend spending 15-20 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.

"Amateurs practice up until they get it right. Professionals keep practicing until they can't get it wrong."

Watch the pros on TopCourt - each one exercises their craft religiously. They understand to bring a new pattern into a pro match successfully, they must be able to reliably compete for a living with it on the professional tour.

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

Each short video 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.

Watch selectively. Practice religiously. Learn passionately.

Mastery requires trial and error

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. You have to get out there on the court and actually create muscle memory in order to put it to use.

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

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.

Happy Tennis Retirement with Zen and Flow

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 determines 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.

Discovering great Bargains in Life may mean needing to pivot your skills and experience. Perhaps try a more meaningful 2nd career in your next Set. The right gameplan to find your calling - Sasha Cohen: An Olympian's Guide to retiring at 25 (NYTimes)

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. Most businesses are deep into stagnant 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.

Readers can get off this endless runway. Escape the cycle of student debts and borrowing for large mortgages and loans - only to imprison yourself in a job you don't like, buy the things you don't need, in order to impress people you really don't care about.

A smart entrepreneur once defined "enough" as:
"You need enough Purpose to be excited about getting up every morning, and enough Money to go to sleep peacefully at night".

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.

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 the mindset: How to Feel Rich even if you Can't Get Rich.

Happy Money - the EQ of Money

This life-changing 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 millionaires.

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 were dashed in the past couple of recessions. Millenniums never got up to speed in the job market, weighed down by student debt, beaten down with poor job options. Some 65+ retirees never lived 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 their dream to the peak. Maybe with just a few colorful balloons, we do our part.

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 in the reality of difficult times that:

Life is always uncertain.
The Climb is always daunting
Dangers approach us around the corners.

But each day, we must remind ourselves that we are getting one day closer to the Summit. Challenges become experiences that become Storied Legends to the future generations - we just have to keep one step in front of the other, moving forward and remembering: "this too shall pass".

Origin Story

Tennis-Bargains.com 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 ahead, as there was in 2008-2009.
Out of any period of darkness, you can still find a gem of light

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 Donut King (2020) is a perfect movie encapsulation of my own Asian-American latchkey kid childhood with constantly working immigrant entrepreneur parents. I believe old-fashion Grit and determination with healthy portions of hard work will still override talent and money in almost any generation. I have found that steadiness and consistency will always win out over risky shots over the long run - in tennis and in life.

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 that 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.

JCtennis.com - 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 one type of 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.

Real Adventure starts once your planning ends.

Stay safe, be happy, live well.

- JC

PS: For more help to start making your retirement map, with some humor and fun -
How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free
: (Retirement Wisdom That You Won't Get from Your Financial Advisor)

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