Brad Gilbert: From Player To Coach

Brad Gilbert is one of the most popular coaches on the professional tour. He was a solid professional player himself and has been quite successful coaching several high-calibre professional players!

He is at his best helping players improve their mental and tactical approach to the game!

Many people in the United States know and value him for his great insights as a tennis television commentator and for taking Andre Agassi to Number 1 in the world!

Check out Gilbert talking about coaching Andre Agassi

About Brad Gilbert

Brad was born in 1961 in Oakland, California. He started playing Tennis at the early age of 5 and has been a sports fanatic ever since. His whole family played Tennis and his sister Dana actually ended up playing professional Tennis as well.

Before playing professional Tennis, Gilbert first played College Tennis at Foothill College in California. There he won the US Amateur Hardcourt Championship. He then transferred to Pepperdine University where he played successfully, finishing runner-up in the 1982 NCAA singles championships. After his junior year he decided to turn pro.

Professional Playing Career

Gilbert had quite a successful playing career. He reached his career high ranking of number 4 in the world in 1990. He also managed to be in the Top10 for his first 9 out of 10 years as a professional which is quite an achievement!

As a player, Brad Gilbert had a very unorthodox style. He was not known for great strokes that could hurt the other players. He neither had a forehand, backhand, or a serve that was really a weapon. His weapons were his footwork and his tactics. He was known to never miss an easy shot and therefore never give opponents any free points.

Additionally, he would argue a lot on the court with the umpire over calls and other things. His whole game was built around making other players not want to play him!

Check out this video to see what he played like
(Gilbert is at the bottom)

Even though Gilbert lost this match and the rally in this video clip, it is obvious what type of player he is and how he wins points. He simply gets a lot of balls back and uses very smart shot placement.

Some players like Boris Becker openly admitted that they hated playing Gilbert. In their eyes he was not a great tennis player, yet he was always a threat to beat them on any given day!

Coaching Career

After retiring as a professional tennis player in 1994, Brad Gilbert turned to coaching immediately. Throughout his playing days he mastered how to win matches through smart tactical decisions on the court. He was a master at finding an opponent?s weakness and exploiting it. The next step for him was to pass on that knowledge to players with more natural talent.

Gilbert’s first and most famous student was someone with inredible talent: Andre Agassi!

The two seemed to be a perfect fit right from the beginning. Agassi had all the shots and possibilities but was often getting in his own way, making bad decisions on the tennis court and off the court as well.

Gilbert developed a great relationship with Agassi and the two were immensely successful together. Under Gilbert?s tutelage between 1994 and 2002, Agassi had two periods of being Number 1 in the world and also won multiple Grand Slam singles titles. Agassi has even described Gilbert as the greatest coach of all time!

Gilbert’s next famous student was Andy Roddick. With Gilbert, Roddick won his only Grand Slam singles title at the 2003 US Open and became the world number 1 player.

Since then Gilbert has worked with a few other professional players, including Andy Murray and Alex Bogdanovic from Great Britain. In 2011 he is coaching Kei Nishikori of Japan from the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy.

Winning Ugly

Brad Gilbert also has authored a best-selling book called Winning Ugly. The book is mainly about tactical and mental decisions in Tennis. Gilbert talks a lot about the best possible mental preparation, including overcoming nervousness.

His tactical advice is centred around finding a way to win with whatever options you have at the moment. He wants his players to love the conditions, no matter how difficult they might be.

If it is windy for example, the wind can be a huge advantage for you if you deal with it better than your opponent!

Additionally, he reveals a lot of stories and insights from the professional tour. I can highly recommend the book to annoy interested in Tennis!


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