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About the book

In the words of Paul Annacone:

Coaching for Life is not about the sport of tennis as much as it is about a process-oriented journey based on the sport of tennis. It is the professional life I have lived, and the front row seat from which I have watched some of the world’s greatest players compete on the most pressure-filled courts in the world. But it is also something that can be applied to our own day-to-day life.”

Looking beyond their unmatched talent and skill-sets, many would be surprised by the habits and traits that transform good athletes into great ones. Those qualities—from problem-solving through adversity to having confidence when doubt dominates—and the approach taken to utilize these concepts in our own lives, are what Paul Annacone reveals in Coaching for Life. In this book, tennis becomes the perfect metaphor for life. 

Aristotle once said it this way---“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.”

From the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, to Centre Court at Wimbledon, with dozens of practices and high-pressure periods in between, Paul ushers us through pivotal moments in the careers of Roger Federer, Pete Sampras, Tim Henman and his own playing days, to explain a clear and positive paradigm for living and being the best you can be. Once you learn the champion's way, you'll be able to go the distance and reap the rewards. 

Advance praise for Coaching for Life

“Paul knows how to bring out excellence in you and your game, by keeping things simple rather than ramping up an occasion. His strategies worked time and time again.”


"... when you achieve your goals, it makes all the hard work pay off. Paul was a master at constructing, managing and executing the process"


Paul Annacone has been blessed with talent and surrounded by it his entire life. He's learned superlative lessons from terrific coaches and competitors, and in this book he passes on to you all that he's admired and absorbed–as a student, a player, and a world class coach.


What a terrific book! Paul hits on the key aspects to help anyone set up a plan to reach their potential. A fun read with great application.


If I could sum up my time working with Paul in three words it would be: process not outcome. He was brilliant at ingraining good habits on the practice court, emphasizing the need to trust your game and then executing that plan on the match court–this book goes through the steps to help you reach your potential & trust your process.


...It’s great that Paul is sharing the experiences from his playing days as well as the philosophies he used while coaching some of the all-time greats. This book is wonderful resource for anyone who wants to reach their potential, both on and off the tennis court. A must read.


Any kid who takes his/her tennis seriously should read this. Same goes for parents too...something for everyone.


This book was hard to put down! Paul's philosophies, anecdotes, and wisdom are unparalleled... If you want a recipe to bring out the best in yourself, this book is for you!


Finally a book that is easy to understand from a former top tennis player and a successful coach whose incredible knowledge is now out for all to read.


“You may come for the stories of Sampras, Federer and more but you'll also take away the valuable life lessons Paul shares from his wealth of tennis experience.



Quotes from the book

"In each of us there is a secret reservoir of dreams fed by what we see and what we do, and also by observing others. Some of us have had such dreams and ambitions since childhood. Many of us have not acted upon them, and so they linger just out of reach in our unconscious mind. How can we find and recapture, our deepest ambitions? Moreover, how can we shape them so they can become a reality?" 

Page 3

"The world of tennis is a world of strategy structured by concerted planning which serves as the road map for achieving goals. Having a long-term objective, as well as a series of short-term plans, is vital."

Page 15

"The process must be visualized, acted upon, but most of all, have buy- in from the player. It must enter the mind and heart and bloodstream of the one who has adopted it." 

"It is just shy of being a kind of religion—if one defines this as devotion to an incontrovertible belief in a certain universal power, and that this power is within as well as outside oneself, then the idea of belief in something, virtually anything, is all-important to successful living, working, and being. It is much more than confidence." 

Page 16

"Once again, the same consistent prerequisites for success. Tim knew exactly who he was, and where he was going. He set appropriate goals, and followed them. His plan was always intact, he persevered as well as any​ ​player I’ve ever worked with, and he never lost his absolute belief in himself.  (Or his sense of humor, I might add )."

Page 18

"I learned a crucial lesson about change during my time with Roger Federer​...​This is the thinking man’s champion, I thought, and I liked that very much​." ​
 "It is so logical—in order to believe in a plan, you must understand the plan, and why​ ​you are executing it​."​

Page 23

"All the help in the world cannot change you unless you want to change yourself. This is something we can all learn from in whatever endeavor we are involved in—in the end it comes down to what we do ourselves with what we have been given​. ​Our personal toolbox, so to speak​."

"In looking at the careers of Sampras, Henman, and Federer—not to mention a great many others—the will to succeed must coincide with the will to improve​. ​And as the athlete gets older, this becomes even more important​. ​It seems to me the power of belief in oneself is forged by many things, including the ability to listen and the desire to learn as we go, and keep going, and keep going​."

Page 27

"What you need to do is get the best people to help you meet your goal​. ​Your team, by the way, may consist of your husband or wife, or best friend, or another person​. ​Team is used generically here for any number beyond one​."​

Page 32

"Does the team, the people you trust, believe in the inevitable success of your process? It’s not enough—at this point—to imagine that they do; they need to say they do, and mean it​. ​Absolute commitment​."

Page 34

"One win or even several wins will not make success inevitable​.​ Only work, talent and repeated e​ff​ort will​ ​do this​."​​ 

Page 35

"A strong and positive sense of inevitability is what champions have in abundance​. ​It’s what drives them to achieve what seems to be unattainable​."​ 

Page 37

"In the game of tennis, as it is with all sports and in fact most things in life, we begin with fundamentals and then, later on, move on to the more complex issues of the game. Training is a matter of repetition until we’ve acquired conditioned responses that become almost like re​fl​exes.​"​

​"​When​ ​good habits are ingrained they become second nature. Even the best players have gone through this same process. They make it look easy. But they too made early sacri​fi​ces, learned the basic mechanics, and pro ted from them. Natural talent takes you only so far. After that, it’s up to you. How far are you able to go?​"

Page 41

"Federer knew, and knows, that his opponents aren’t overjoyed to see him line up to​ ​rip a huge forehand​."​

​"​Both Pete and Roger have used their technique to produce​ ​desirable and almost inevitable strategies, particularly in what I would call the big moments of a match​."​  

Page 43

 "When we can learn from our mistakes, triumph over them, and produce winning results, we are on the path of excellence​."​

"When we feel in “the groove” are we not experiencing the repetition of body moves, mind moves and memory synchronicity that places us in perfect harmony with the game of life?​"​

Page 44