Superior Book Productions

February 21, 2009


Winning in Tennis and Life:
How to Execute Your Strategy On and Off the Court
Mary Pat Faley
Aviva Publishing (2009)
ISBN:  9781890427474

Mary Pat Faley is an energetic, positive can-do voice in the tennis world. Now she is ready to bring the tennis and life lessons she has shared with hundreds of her students to millions of readers. Her practical advice, including detailed instructions for improving your tennis serve for tennis players and motivational exercises perfect for anyone, will make even the couch potato feel inspired to gain a positive attitude and achieve his goals.

Winning in Tennis and Life is far more than a tennis instruction manual. The book is divided into three sections:  The Game of Health, The Game of Tennis, and the Game of Life. Each section is filled with Mary Pat’s personal life stories, success stories of her students, inspirational quotations, exercises to help readers achieve their goals, and Mary Pat Faley’s never-failing positive attitude.

Mary Pat begins by telling her story of surviving four life-threatening pulmonary embolisms that made her slow down her tennis teaching. During this time, she slowed down her teaching to recover, and she reinvented herself by becoming an author and writing the book she had always dreamed about:  Winning in Tennis and Life. In addition to using her own stories of struggle as inspiration, Mary Pat also provides numerous stories from her tennis students of overcoming obstacles, including battles with cancer and blindness.

Intermixed with the personal stories is practical advice about nutrition, exercise, and how to keep yourself in good health so you can continue to win in tennis and life. Mary Pat Faley discusses foods that will fight cancer, the importance of sleep, activities to reduce stress, and techniques for focusing the mind so you can become happier, healthier, and more successful in tennis or any other goal you set for yourself.

At the heart of the book are Mary Pat’s lessons for improving your tennis game. Chapter 4 provides instruction for every tennis move imaginable, complete with diagrams to explain where to stand on the court when serving or hitting the ball. Mary Pat breaks down her “Tennis is as Easy as 1,2,3” teaching method into various instructions for:

I. Grip. II. Forehand and Backhand Vollies. III. Forehand and Backhand Groundstrokes. IV. Stances With Your Feet. V. Left-Hand Non-Dominant Hand. VI. Contact Point. VII. Finish or Follow-Through. VIII. Forehand and Backhand Approach Shots. IX. Overheads. X. Serves. XI. Return of Serve. XII. Split-Step

At the end of the book, Mary Pat also provides helpful Cheat Sheets to tear out and put in your racquet bag for easy reference when practicing. I recommend you photocopy these because you will refer to them often. In fact, I have no doubt tennis players will soon own very worn copies of Winning in Tennis and Life because they will use and revere the book so much.

Tennis players will love this book! I do not usually read testimonials in books because I prefer to make my own judgments about a book rather than listen to what everyone else has to say about it, but Winning in Tennis and Life has so many testimonials in it I felt I had to read them. Most of them were from Mary Pat Faley’s students, praising her teaching methods, kindness, advice, and ability to keep up with them—she keeps up with them so well on the tennis court that she doesn’t even tie her shoe laces! These testimonials convince me thoroughly that Mary Pat’s students love her and benefit from her instruction and enthusiasm. In fact, many of her students have gone on to be professional tennis players.

Mary Pat is the center of this book. She intended to write a book about tennis. She has done so beautifully, but in reading this book, you come away loving Mary Pat. As one of her student’s testimonials says, “After the book, it has to be Mary Pat in person.” This woman knows no fear because of her positive attitude, an attitude she quickly inspires in her readers. I cheered all the way for her as I read about her participation in a bicycle marathon from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise money to fight AIDS; not only did she ride her bike, she went up and down the “Evil Twins” hills SEVEN amazing times, encouraging the other marathon participants to persevere along with her. I was impressed by her caring and wisdom when, as a college student, she went to visit a juvenile prison; not only did she befriend the inmates, but she revolutionized their lives, helping them create an outdoor fitness program to raise their self-confidence. When faced with teaching a blind child to play tennis, Mary Pat took on the task whole-heartedly until the boy had succeeded, and her practical techniques and quick thinking made that goal attainable in an amazingly short time. Readers will come away envious of anyone who has been taught tennis by Mary Pat, and soon, her readers will be knocking down her door for personal instruction.

Many authors have tried to explain how the lessons learned in a sport can be applied to achieve success in life. Winning in Tennis and Life is the rare book that successfully makes the connection. It succeeds because its author has already won in tennis and life, and even more because her book makes it apparent that with every cell of her being she wants her students and readers to do the same. Double Score for Mary Pat Faley!

— Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D., author of The Marquette Trilogy


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