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63 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for all competitive players
Winning at a tournament and league level is dictated by mental and physical conditioning, not shotmaking. This book tackles the mental aspect, giving tips on how to think about each point with winning (not shotmaking) in mind. It helps you deconstruct your opponents' game, as well as your own, so that you just plain win. Plus, having read this book and using it will...
Published on November 9, 1999 by G. R. Parker

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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Avid fan of Tennis
I highly suggest this book to anyone around the intermediate/recreational level. But, if you are somewhat advanced and experienced I dont suggest it. It simply didn't tell me much. I read this book expecting something that was a real winner. Instead all this book said is win on the important pts. that lead to ad pts. and analyze your opponent so that you can attack...
Published on January 26, 2000


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63 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for all competitive players, November 9, 1999
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This review is from: Winning Ugly: Mental Warfare in Tennis--Lessons from a Master (Paperback)
Winning at a tournament and league level is dictated by mental and physical conditioning, not shotmaking. This book tackles the mental aspect, giving tips on how to think about each point with winning (not shotmaking) in mind. It helps you deconstruct your opponents' game, as well as your own, so that you just plain win. Plus, having read this book and using it will give you a mental confidence.
I keep it in my tennis bag, not to read during changeovers, but to remind me that I'm there to win. It's that simple. Another reviewer noted that INNER TENNIS is the theoretic, while WINNING UGLY is the downright practical.
Or instead you can just go buy yet another book that shows you a different way to hit your forehand volley. It's your pick. Gilbert's a winner, and the book is engaging reading as well.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Analytical and Intelligent Tennis, September 7, 2002
By 
John (Bartlett, TN, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Winning Ugly: Mental Warfare in Tennis--Lessons from a Master (Paperback)
Winning Ugly is a great book on how to gain the advantage in a tennis match in ways other than perfecting your strokes or training into world-class shape. The book is divided into three sections. The first is on preparing for a match and gaining an edge before the match even begins. Gilbert goes through planning, equipment preparation, stretching, overcoming nervousness, and how to mentally prepare to win the first few games. Some things in the chapters on equipment and stretching may be a little elementary but are nonetheless good tennis knowledge. The next section is on strategizing during your match and recognizing critical points. The last section is on developing a good mental game. Throughout the book, Gilbert uses examples from his own career and analyzes other players. These illustrations are perhaps the most valuable aspects of the book. Written in the early nineties, Winning Ugly talks about the top level pros of its time. The concepts, however, will never become outdated. The book is very easy to read. The reader gets a feel for Gilbert's analytical approach to playing tennis and can use it as an example for his own game. In one chapter, Gilbert goes into how to deal with certain types of players. It would have been nice if there was more of this, but overall, Winning Ugly is a great book and will help improve anyone's game.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Use mediocre strokes and a superior brain to beat great players., March 28, 2008
By 
S. Johnson "heartsurgery" (Texarkana, TX United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Winning Ugly: Mental Warfare in Tennis--Lessons from a Master (Paperback)
I could never break past the round of 16's or quarters at any big tournament. I'll summarize how to win those matches now: get in great physical shape, apply the principles of Winning Ugly, visualization, and embracing/enjoying close matches with your best effort rather than choking.

Another title of this book might be "Helping your opponent make mistakes and lose". For the majority of us, especially at the club level, we dont have the skillset to win by hitting winners. We just need to play percentage tennis, and help our opponents lose. Its only at the very highest levels of the game that winners are sometimes greater than unforced errors. Only at the top fo the game where two guys can trade winner after winner, hit stuff around the net and between their legs. Unless one is a naturally gifted tennis player (Federer) Winning Ugly is for the rest of us. And its a lot more than just hitting to a guys bad backhand.

To Champions, a lot of this comes naturally. But it CAN be learned. Once in my life, I got in the zone. I could not miss. My dad still talks about that set! I'm so happy he was there to see it. I took a set off a guy who was ranked #3 in the US, and as I was marvelling at the crowd forming to watch me, and calculating the rise in my ranking, he mopped the floor with me 0 and 1. If I'd had Winning Ugly, I might have kept my head in the game and won that match.

I remember this guy in my Sectionals, who was the dorkiest guy on the junior tour, but always in the top 5 seeds. He wasnt in great shape. He actually had a tether! built into his grip for his unorthodox two handed forehand, and thick coke bottle glasses. In the semi's, he met this new kid recently from California, a snobby Bjorn Italian FILA wearing Brad Pitt looking guy with the most beautiful strokes, and boundless confidence, who was just deystroying excellent players and getting all the girls attention. Imagine that blonde dude Johnny from Karate Kid I. Yeah, ok, I was jealous.

Well, expecting Brad Pitt to claim his next victim, I marvelled as this dorky nerdy chump wouldnt get intimidated, and wouldnt allow this guy to play his game. Instead of trading strokes in jousting fashion, he applied his strengths to Cobra Kai's weakness. I was witness to the total dismantling of a superior opponent's game. By the end of the match, Brad Pitt was smashing his rackets and scratching his head, trying to figure out how a guy with coke bottle glasses and a home-made TETHER on his raquet's butt beat him! The dork went to the finals and I was smiling inside at "Brads" misfortune. Twenty-five odd years later, there's a name for this: Winning Ugly. For most people, the match is lost before you go out. Well, that's the negative thinking that costs one matches. That's why the same people advance through the draw at almost every tournament.

Winning ugly isnt about trading fire at Gettysburg, until somebody drops, thats how I used to play. I didnt just have to win, it had to be with panache. How stupid. It was somehow unsportsmanly to hit "junk" or "push" the ball to take off pace, or hit "moonballs". I wish I had this book when I was a junior player, I bet I would have won half the matches I lost from bad strategy.

Winning Ugly is about applying the best of your game, to the worst of your opponent's. Its about using anything to win. One application of this strategy I use is the super lob when I'm out of position. I hit it as hard as I can so it goes 100 feet and can back up a guy to the baseline. It drives some guys crazy. They're like "play tennis" you ---hole. But I WIN! Yeah, its not pretty, but it feels better driving home. When I read that you should analyze your opponents strokes in the warmup to see what he's missing or practicing more, it hit my like a lightning bolt. I had never ever done this, and it was SO obvious. I was too focused on getting warmed up and MY strokes. The hundreds of matches I had played, and never considered this. This book is a must for competetive players.

As a final note:I wouldnt say Winning Ugly is about the mental game. I think its more a book about tactics. The mental game is best explained by Inner Tennis.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is great!, September 11, 2004
This review is from: Winning Ugly: Mental Warfare in Tennis--Lessons from a Master (Paperback)
While I have enjoyed reading many books in the past, the book I am currently reading, Winning Ugly, has been especially enjoyable for me. It has been good not only because of the fact that it is on the subject of improvement on my favorite sport, tennis, but also because it has many lessons that apply to life off the court. It is very amusing because of the examples he uses, that often have John McEnroe at the butt of a joke.

The author of Winning Ugly, Brad Gilbert, has a great writing style. I think part of the reason that I enjoy this book so much is because of how he makes points by explaining how he has actually used what he talks about against players like Jimmy Conners, Boris Becker, John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, and Andre Agassi. It's not a book about the basics of tennis, or how to hit the ball and such, it's a book about the mental aspect of the game, or as he describes it, playing smart. One of the first points he makes is how important it is to stay focused. He talks about how throughout his whole professional career he was playing and beating many players, who, on paper, should have won. The main reason he was able to beat so many players who had a "better game" (i.e. more powerful, cleaner shots) was because of simply making observations, and changing his plans accordingly. A great example of this would be many of his matches against Becker. He realized that in a contest of who could hit the ball harder Becker would win, hands down. So he changed his strategy, instead of hitting the ball as hard as he could, like most players would, he went for shots that didn't generate much power, making Becker hit a shot he isn't comfortable with, and giving him an edge.

This book doesn't just help my game, or prove that Brad Gilbert is a great coach and player; he doesn't need to write a book to prove that. He's been number five internationally for long periods at a time, and coached both Andre Agassi and Andy Rodick. What the book proves is that there is a connection between the mind and body that can help improve performance in sports, and elsewhere. It also exposes many important aspects of planning and being able to change plans, without loosing focus and getting distracted by the fact that things may not go your way. I still haven't finished the whole book, but I can honestly say that I get excited every time I read it. That's why this book is, even though I still have more to read, among my top favorite books.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A win is a win, November 18, 2000
This review is from: Winning Ugly: Mental Warfare in Tennis--Lessons from a Master (Paperback)
This book helped me win a lot of matches, beating the guys that I wasn't supposed to beat! The underlying principle is that it doesn't matter how you HIT the ball, but how you PLAY the ball. This book won't tell you anything about how to improve your technique, but it'll sure help you understand what tennis is all about. I heard players saying that the book doesn't teach anything they didn't know before. This might be true, but it is amazing how many of those players simply fail to APPLY Gilbert's ideas. Hitting a soft return to a serve & volleyer is probably something "we already know", but Brad emphasizes that many players are brain-dead when it comes to the match. They don't think how to win points, they just try to smack the ball. Brad's main idea is exactly that: to think when you're on the court. In other words: analyze, recognize and capitalize. Some people might win by putting in use Brad's ideas and still think that it wasn't REAL tennis, or that it's not the way tennis is supposed to be played. Well, all I can do is ask: WHAT DO YOU CARE ABOUT? PLAYING BEAUTIFULLY OR WINNING A TENNIS MATCH? I'd rather win a tennis match.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most useful "how-to" books I've ever read, May 15, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Winning Ugly: Mental Warfare in Tennis--Lessons from a Master (Paperback)
This book is just amaizing: I was only half through it when I started using its recommendations and I started to win games with players who used to beat me routinely. If you feel that you need a boost in your tennis results, get this book. If you are satisfied with your results, get it anyway -- you will be surprised ... and it is a very entertaining reading too.
I'm a recreational player of 3.0 - 3.5 level. My tennis lesson were always about strokes, tosses, serves, etc. This book opened for me the world of the game tactics, strategy and psychology ... and have I mentioned that it is a very entertaining reading too?
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Learn how to win from an overachieving master, June 1, 2000
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This review is from: Winning Ugly: Mental Warfare in Tennis--Lessons from a Master (Paperback)
I played tennis for a long time without the results I really wanted. This book helped to fill in some of the holes to help my game. It is a very easy, quick read. I didn't like that it went so much into minor details like what is in the tennis bag. What I really liked was the blow by blow description of how he won some big matches against Becker and McEnroe. Also, his explanation of basic strategy types was very good. I've watched Brad play many matches live and he is a master at mentally undressing his opponent. He is a perfect guy to write this book. I do agree with the reviewer who said it will be better for the intermediate player than the expert but still would recommend it for any player.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Winnin Ugly: Mental Warfare in Tennis -- Lessions from a Master, January 21, 2007
By 
Anton Antonovich (Anchorage, AK United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Winning Ugly: Mental Warfare in Tennis--Lessons from a Master (Paperback)
The best tennis book I've ever read. Brad gilbert is a tennis genius and a very good writer. He has a keen sense of humor which is just in his personality - he writes the same way as he speaks (you can see him on TV a lot during the tennis tournaments). In this book he describes what is going on in player's head and what should be going on up there. He teaches how to be mentally strong during the matches. He also gives some very good practical advice on how to improve your strokes and how to play different style players. Very useful book for a tennis player. I'm going to re-read it again - every single page has wealth of valuable info.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best investment, July 10, 2003
By 
Actionwatcher "academgorodok" (Roseville, MN United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Winning Ugly: Mental Warfare in Tennis--Lessons from a Master (Paperback)
Great book! I was and am 3.5 ... technically. However, once playing competitive games (leagues and tournaments) I was 3.0. I was loosing to all 3.5 player and half of 3.0. I looked as a lion on warm up and played as a chicken during matches. The book give me back my 0.5. It took me about 3 month to embed the wisdom of the book into my play but improvement (in score) was amazing. Its price is about 15 minutes with a pro. Is there a pro who could give you a push of 0.5 in you rating just for about $10?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book for those who want to quick choking., March 5, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Winning Ugly: Mental Warfare in Tennis--Lessons from a Master (Paperback)
Why when you are practing do all your shots seem to be great, but during a tournament you fall under the pressure? Brad talks about how not to choke under pressure. How to play your game and not your opponents. How to get your opponent to play the way you want them to. Most tennis matches are lost not won as a recreational player. Brad shows how to capitalize on your opponents weakness and to minimize your own. This is a great book for those who know that their strokes are much better then they bring to big matches, and shows you how to mentally control a match.
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Winning Ugly: Mental Warfare in Tennis--Lessons from a Master
Winning Ugly: Mental Warfare in Tennis--Lessons from a Master by Brad Gilbert (Paperback - May 31, 1994)
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