September 4, 2018 9:35 pm

New Episode: Wednesday, Get Inside the Tennis Brain with Chuck Nice, Gary O’Reilly and Top Tennis Experts

“If you don’t train your brain, you ain’t got no game.” Boy, sometimes Chuck has a way with words, doesn’t he? On this episode of Playing with Science, hosts Chuck Nice and Gary O’Reilly explore the tennis brain and the big data, neuroscience, and coaching that go into the mental preparation of smashing a ball down the line.

Ben Ratner's photo of Chuck Nice and Gary O'Reilly, hosts of Playing with Science.

We’re back! Hosts Chuck Nice and Gary O’Reilly explore “The Tennis Brain.” Credit: Ben Ratner.

We’re back from our summer hiatus! To start the ball bouncing, Gary and Chuck are joined by Craig O’Shannessy, one of the top tennis strategy analysts in the world, as he helps us understand the impact of big data and analytics on the game of tennis. It was not too long ago that tennis had no analytics resource. As Craig tells us, before 1991 if you wanted to look up analytics for a match, find the tape and do the work yourself. However, starting in 2015 the “Moneyball” era of tennis began and Craig has been at the forefront ever since.

You’ll hear how Craig got involved in tennis strategy analysis and how he develops game strategies with some of the best players in the world. Go behind-the-scenes as Craig tells us how he developed strategy with Dustin Brown – who then famously beat Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon in a stunning upset. Also, Craig tells us how Novak Djokovic changed his game to beat Nadal as well. You’ll also learn who Craig thinks are some of the greatest tennis thinkers of the modern age.

Next, we dive into the neuroscience behind the tennis brain as Chuck and Gary welcome Leslie Sherlin, sport psychologist and mental performance consultant, as he helps us explore how he helps players train their brains to produce the highest level of performance at the right times. Leslie tells us how he can study the brain waves of an athlete and use that data to help the athletes recreate their desired mental state on the court. Discover more on how the advancements of technology are enabling us to get into the moment of sport rather than studying sport from a lab. You’ll also learn how he trains athletes by having them use their brain to power a computer-generated car.

Last, but certainly not least, Gary and Chuck sit down with tennis coach Sarah Stone. Sarah currently coaches Aleksandra Krunić, the number one ranked Serbian women’s tennis player in the world. You’ll find out what it’s like to coach younger players and why the most important thing for junior players is to have fun. We also hear who she thinks might be the next superstar on the WTA and how the WTA is helping coaches expand their knowledge, which in turn helps players take their games to the next level.

Please join us tomorrow night for Tennis Brain: Analytics, Strategy, Mental Game right here on our website, as well as on our Playing with Science channels on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and TuneIn. If you’re an All-Access subscriber, you can watch or listen to this episode ad-free.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
–Ian Mullen