Vic Braden

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Vic Braden
Full nameVictor Kenneth Braden Jr.
Country (sports) United States
Born(1929-08-02)August 2, 1929
Monroe, Michigan, US
DiedOctober 6, 2014(2014-10-06) (aged 85)
Trabuco Canyon, California, US
Height5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)
Turned pro1952
Int. Tennis HoF2017 (member page)
Coaching career (20)

Victor Kenneth Braden Jr. (August 2, 1929 – October 6, 2014) was an American tennis player, instructor and television broadcaster for the sport. He earned a PhD in psychology and was married twice. He had 2 children, 1 grandchild and 3 step-children.[1][2][3]


Introduced to tennis at age 12, he became good enough to earn three Michigan state high school championships, a scholarship to Kalamazoo College, invites to play in River Forest, Illinois and in Milwaukee. He told Sports Illustrated in a 1976 interview that he once hitchhiked to Detroit to watch Don Budge play Bobby Riggs, because he wanted to learn how Budge hit his backhand.

Braden graduated from Kalamazoo College,[4] where he was Captain of the Tennis Team, and won the MIAA Conference Singles Title. He married a model, Joan, upon graduation.[5] He was awarded an honorary doctorate degree by his alma mater in 2008.[6]

Vic Braden died of a heart attack on October 6, 2014 at the age of 85. He was married for many years to his 2nd wife, Melody.[7][8]


Braden became a tennis professional after graduating from Kalamazoo College in 1951. While serving as Assistant Basketball Coach at the University of Toledo. Harold Tenney hired him to become the Head Tennis Professional at the Toledo Tennis Club. Besides teaching, he joined the pro tour and played against Jimmy Evert (father of Chris Evert) and George Richey (father of Cliff and Nancy Richey).[9] He moved to California in 1956 and obtained a master's degree from California State University, Los Angeles[10] and an honorary PhD from Kalamazoo College.[11] Braden joined Jack Kramer's pro tour in 1959. In 1961, he and Kramer started the Jack Kramer Tennis Club in Palos Verdes, CA where Braden helped direct construction and sell memberships to the club and then served as the Head Tennis Professional. He started Tracy Austin in tennis, and developed his "Tennis College" concept.[12] In 1986, Kramer said, "One Vic Braden is worth a lot of Champions in helping promote the sport. The McEnroes, Borgs, Connors, they've been great. But I don't think any one of them has created the interest in the sport that Vic has."[13] Braden was a patient and good friend of Dr. Toby Freedman, who was prominent in Space and Sports Medicine at North American Aviation and Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic, and was an avid Tennis Player.

Professional accomplishments[14][edit]


  • Contributing Most to Tennis in America (USTA)
  • Orange County Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award (Sportswriter)[16]
  • Coach of the Year Award (USPTA).
  • ATP Children's Tennis Award.[17]
  • Faculty Emeritus Award[18]
  • USTA Midwest Tennis Hall of Fame[18]
  • International Tennis Hall of Fame Tennis Educational Merit Award (1974)
  • International Tennis Hall of Fame inductee in 2017[19]


  • Vic Braden's 70 Minutes with Big Jake Kramer and Pancho Gonzalez Video[20]
  • Vic Braden's Biomechanics of Tennis Video
  • Vic Braden's Strategy Video
  • Vic Braden's The Backhand
  • Vic Braden's The Forehand
  • Vic Braden's The Serve
  • Tennis My Way

Vocational highlights[edit]

Licensed psychologist (California), author, sports educator and researcher, cinematographer, videographer, sports, television commentator.

Books authored[edit]

He has authored five books with Bill Bruns whom he met in 1973.[21]

  • Braden, Vic; Bill Bruns (1977). Vic Braden's Tennis for the Future. ISBN 978-0-316-10511-8.
  • Braden, Vic; Bill Bruns (1982). Teaching Children Tennis the Vic Braden Way. ISBN 978-0-316-10512-5.[22]
  • Braden, Vic (1986). Sportsathon!. Co-authored with L. Phillips.
  • Braden, Vic; Bill Bruns (1990). Vic Braden's Quick Fixes: Expert Cures for Common Tennis Problems. Little Brown & Co. (P). ISBN 978-0-316-10515-6.
  • Braden, Vic; Robert Wool (1994). Vic Braden's Mental Tennis: How to Psych Yourself to a Winning Game. Little Brown & Co. ISBN 978-0-316-10517-0.
  • Braden, Vic; Bill Bruns (1996). Vic Braden's Laugh and Win at Doubles. Little Brown & Co. (T). pp. 179. ISBN 978-0-316-10519-4.
  • Braden, Vic; Bill Bruns (1998). Tennis 2000: Strokes, Strategy, and Psychology for a Lifetime. Little Brown & Co. (P). pp. 284. ISBN 978-0-316-10503-3.
  • Braden, Vic (2012). If I'm Only 22, How Come I'm 82?—Tennis Is More than Just a Sport. [23]

Books: other[edit]

  • Wrote foreword: High Tech Tennis (1992). By Jack L. Groppel.
  • Co-editor, and credited as photographer: Championship Tennis by the Experts: How to Play Championship Tennis (1981).[24]

Featured in print media[edit]

Vic's Vacant Lot[edit]

Braden hosted a short-lived television series, Vic's Vacant Lot, which ran from 1982 to early 1984 for 26 episodes on ESPN and rerun on Nickelodeon until May 1985.[26] The premise was to send Braden out with a group of children to show them how to organize competitive sports on a vacant lot, as specified in the title.[27] Due to the show not receiving much recognition, no recordings were available online, at least until January 3, 2022 when an Internet Archive user uploaded an episode of the show in two parts.[28][29]


  1. ^ Williams, Paige (2006-10-29). "Vic Braden's Mental Mojo Experience". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-11-12.
  2. ^ "Author:Vic Braden". Archived from the original on 2013-01-27. Retrieved 2008-11-12.
  3. ^ Schudel, Matt (October 8, 2014). ""Vic Braden, innovative tennis coach and sport science pioneer, dies at 85"". The Washington Post.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ "Kalamazoo College Celebrates 175th Anniversary". Kalamazoo College. 2008-04-04. Archived from the original on 2008-07-04. Retrieved 2008-11-12.
  5. ^ "Champions List:1950". MIAA. Archived from the original on 2008-05-17. Retrieved 2008-11-13.
  6. ^ "Honorary Degree List". Kalamazoo College. Archived from the original on May 27, 2010. Retrieved 2008-11-12.
  7. ^ "Vic Braden, tennis instructor, dies at 85". The Orange County Register. 6 October 2014. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  8. ^ ABC News. "Sports News". ABC News. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  9. ^ "'Problem Solving Can Be Beautiful'" 3 July 2011
  10. ^ Perrotta, Tom (January 15, 2015). ""The Tennis Legacy of Vic Braden"".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ Tom Perrotta January 15, 2015 "The Tennis Legacy of Vic Braden"
  12. ^ "Club Profile" The Jack Kramer Club Archived 2012-02-10 at the Wayback Machine 3 July 2011
  13. ^ Los Angeles Times, August 25, 1986
  14. ^ "Products". Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  15. ^ UCLA Psychology Clinic
  16. ^ "Orange County Roundup". Los Angeles Times. September 27, 1985. Retrieved 2008-11-05.
  17. ^ "Problem Solving Can Be Beautiful". Sports Illustrated. May 10, 1976. Retrieved 2008-11-12.
  18. ^ a b USTA[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ "Clijsters, Roddick elected to International Tennis Hall of Fame". January 23, 2017. Retrieved 2017-03-24.
  20. ^ "Garrison Sports Videos". Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  21. ^ Joe Jares (March 25, 1996). "Two pros on winning at doubles". Daily News (Los Angeles, CA). Archived from the original on October 25, 2012. Retrieved 2008-11-05.
  22. ^ Arnold Schechter (1980-12-15). "Vic Braden's Way of Making Tennis a Love Game among the Younger Set". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2008-11-05.
  23. ^ "The Sports Network - Men's Tennis". Archived from the original on November 2, 2011. Retrieved January 21, 2012. The Sports Network
  24. ^ Paul Assaiante, Vic Braden: Championship Tennis by the Experts: How to Play Championship Tennis. Leisure Press, 1981, ISBN 978-0-918438-23-2
  25. ^ Jaroff, Leon (1989-10-16). "Teaching Tennis to Toads Vic Braden, Coach Extraordinaire, Uses Humor and Physics to Show Nonstars How to Improve Their Moves on the court". Time Magazine. Archived from the original on March 6, 2007. Retrieved 2008-11-05.
  26. ^ "TRAINER STEPS TO BEAT OF OWN DRUMIF YOU GO". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 2022-03-25.
  27. ^ Vic's Vacant Lot - Nick Knacks Episode #034, retrieved 2022-03-25
  28. ^ Vic's Vacant Lot 1983 pt 1, 1983, retrieved 2022-03-25
  29. ^ Vic's Vacant Lot 1983 pt 2, retrieved 2022-03-25

External links[edit]