In all the years I have been involved in tennis racquets I have worked with players of all levels, from top-ranked to no ranking at all! The one thing that remains constant is that every player received the same attention to a goal.
Typically that goal is to win!
As I reflect on the high points of this journey there are a few players that really stand out. One of those players is Brittany Tagliareni.
- Brittany is one of the best tennis players in the world.
- Brittany has won many awards and accolades from the tennis community and press.
- Brittany is Autistic.
Here is the deal. Every day I talk to players about the most minuscule of performance specifications…one (1) gram here, one gram there, one (1) pound here, and so on.
Brittany is different.
Brittany is very busy and wants to get to her next function whether it is taking care of dogs or tennis! She really doens’t want to talk to me about tennis racquets!
So, to really understand what needs to be done her mother, Catherine, communicates for Brittany.
Brittany plays with a Yonex SV100 racquet strung with Ashaway Monogut ZX at 46 pounds.
She travels with three (3) matched racquets. This is where it gets interesting and one of the reasons I wanted to write this post.
Brittany needed some extra encouragement to hold the racquet with the proper grip (she is left-handed) to generate the amount of spin her coach wanted her to have. Just telling Brittany how to hold the racquet was not consistently working so we re-shaped the grip to offer some tactile “encouragement”.
The grip has been changed to have different “feelings” for each bevel of the grip shape. So one side is exaggerated for a certain length on the grip and other sides were accentuated shape wise.
The grip re-shaping had to be done in a laminated way because it works, is expedient, and minimizes costs associated with major grip modifications.
Now when Brittany holds the racquet she can feel exactly where it needs to be.
Brittany is incredibly busy so it is difficult to keep up with all of her travels. Most recently she was in Dubai!