Braden was already 85, yet he would need years, maybe decades, to sort his collection of tennis films, slides, negatives, photos, and data. He had dim hopes of reviving his defunct tennis college, whose campus sat unused just down the road from his home.
Braden had congestive heart failure and had suffered dizzy spells on and off for two years. He lacked energy. He could no longer walk long distances or give a full lesson.
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His doctors had told him he could live for another year or two, but Braden sensed the end coming sooner. I flew to California the following Sunday afternoon and drove to the Braden home in Orange County early Monday morning. She began to cry.
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He put on a few clinics and often attended the pro tournament in Indian Wells, California, where he filmed players for future studies that he never finished. People forgot that Vic Braden did more than anyone to make tennis big in America. He taught countless players, from world no. He trained armies of teaching pros who went on to inspire others. He applied science to the sport and taught the world what actually happens when a racket meets a ball.
He helped Jack Kramer, the American tennis star and entrepreneur, promote the fledgling professional tour, which eventually forced the Grand Slam tournaments to open their draws to both amateurs and pros. But it was Braden who taught those new tennis lovers to play. It was Braden who made them addicts. He wrote books, starred in instructional videos, and became so popular that he had his own PBS series, called Tennis for the Future.
Pudgy, tireless, and always grinning, he built an avid audience of students, readers, and television viewers. Braden, their commander-in-chief, ordered them to loosen up and enjoy the game. V ictor Kenneth Braden Jr. His father grew up in Tennessee and spent most of his adult life working for the Consolidated Paper Company, where he became a factory foreman.
Sports came easily to Braden. He was quarterback of his high school football team, cocaptain of the basketball team, and a three-time state singles champion in tennis. He dated the most attractive girl in school, Marjorie Bowling, later known as Marge Brinkley, mother of model and actress Christie Brinkley.
Braden never needed ultimatums or encouragement. He was incurably curious. The Braden family had no car, so Braden and his brothers hitchhiked all over Michigan to observe better players and enter tournaments. For two summers, Braden slept in a ball shed at Kalamazoo College, where he taught tennis. His sixth-grade students loved him so much that nearly of them attended a reunion to honor his life 52 years after he taught his last class. Braden soon had an offer to move his college to Orange County, where the Penn Central Transportation Company hoped to build an exclusive gated community, now known as Coto de Caza.
Penn Central wanted to sell luxury homes, and Braden was the bait. He was plainspoken. Everyone who met Braden became a disciple. He dressed like a kooky uncle: white Lacoste shirt with the collar up and floppy at the corners and blue Adidas warm-up pants. The actual tennis lasts half an hour. Take a lesson and the clock ticks as you clear balls, pick them up, and talk. In the s, Braden dreamed up a faster, more productive way to teach tennis: hitting lanes where ball machines would fire away so students could hone their strokes.
The desire to win was so strong that the mind would force the body into old habits, rather than trust new swings that were technically better but unfamiliar. To learn, students needed to remove themselves from competition and rewire their minds. He wanted students to hit as many as balls in an hour. The 17 pie-slice lanes were arranged in a three-quarter circle, each one walled off from the next by a hanging canvas and overhead netting.
In the center, a pit with 17 baseball pitching machines shot tennis balls into each lane at up to mph.
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Students would aim for colored targets that told them where their hits would land on a regular court. Once struck, the balls would roll into a pit, where conveyor belts and chains would feed the ammunition back to the machines. Braden obtained patents on the lanes and the ball-machine feeding apparatus. On other courts, Braden painted lines and footprints to demonstrate angles for passing shots and proper footwork.
In the middle of the college stood a tall watchtower, originally built for overhead filming, but used mostly for observing.
For tennis students, it was paradise — secluded and serene with comfortable condo accommodations and a restaurant with a five-star chef. There was often a waiting list to get in. Braden found the perfect partner: Gideon Ariel, a former Israeli Olympian in discus and shot put who had a PhD in exercise and computer science.
They studied athletes with motion-capture technology and installed wires and sensors beneath an outdoor tennis court and running track to collect performance data — the sort of technology that coaches and trainers would still salivate over today. Force plates measured how much pressure athletes exerted on the ground when they ran.
Braden and Ariel tested football quarterbacks, fencers, archers, boxers, polo riders, sprinters, shot putters, tennis umpires, and volleyball players, and helped them understand and refine their techniques. They even helped the United States win an Olympic medal. Before winning a silver medal at the Olympics, the U. The captain tripped, broke his leg, and had to be stuffed into an ambulance with his head sticking out the back until a seat was removed. Each title has a number that corresponds to a film reel 35mm, 16mm, or 8mm, all stored in tins , a Betamax tape, a VHS tape, or a mini cassette.
The reels and tapes are not stacked or shelved in order, and their condition is unknown. Though Braden kept an air conditioner running in the garage, at times it failed and the dry heat took hold; some of his oldest films may have melted or been damaged. Tennis Channel hopes to take a look at the collection. Kris might ship the entire library to her ceramics studio in Portland, Oregon, to examine, archive, and curate it together with her mother.
Ordinary players dominate the lessons, while Ashe, Roscoe Tanner, and a motion-capture animation of Andre Agassi make cameos. Braden tenderly identifies weaknesses and pays compliments when his students improve. Only when she is there. All her children can see it from our home on our ipads. I had a nanny cam to observe my sick dog who although was near end of life was pain free and what I saw was multiple orbs increasing daily over a week.
My beautiful dog was a bit freaked out at first cocking her head to stare at them and then came to accept them.
Now 4 weeks later there are no shooting orbs or brilliant white leaping flames at all except very occasionally a very faint orb travelling through walls much slower than the former orbs. I am sure they had come for her to help her on her way. Must say it gives me comfort to think my beautiful dog was watched over and was happy to the end. I was with my mother when she died and I say what looked like little white stars come from her mouth. A few years later I was with my father when he passed away and I saw a whitish smokey spirit leave his body through his mouth both of these incidents happened in a second or two and then completely gone.
I tried to justify them but after the recent events with my dog I truly believe in spirits now. I have seen several of my dogs and cats, and a person or two. In orb form, sparkles, and apparitions. It is very comforting. My surveillance cameras goes crazy at night with orbs big n small, all moving at different speeds and directions!! I just thought that my vision was going because I was seeing a multi colored ball in my vision anywhere i looked. Hi Blair, Thank you for the article, very interesting. I have a question. This was on my back deck and not in a picture.
Her physical reaction and just her character tell me that she absolutely saw this. I hope this finds you well. What your friend had was a spiritual connection—which is the whole point of my message. In the end, as I wrote, it matters little if people choose to believe that orbs in pics are loved ones.
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This also happened to me my Mom and sister seen a white orb above my head following me it blew there mind……I am not a psychic although I have had lots of paranormal activity around me all positive….. You are experiencing a deeper level of awareness. I experienced the same thing when I was meditating daily, once I stopped it went way.
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I kinda lost it. Request protection and guidance from the spiritual world, its always available to you. You are using more of your brain and senses than anyone else out there. You are experiencing something special that most people will never get to live. After my experience, I am never the same, it changed my life forever and for better. There are more to life than what we think we know. God bless.
I enjoyed that. I think your right. Almost… I believe that manifestation can and have been caught but in the infer-red…they show purpose. Dust and water are random. I have super simplified my thoughts here but ya get it.
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