Vic Braden

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Vic Braden
Full name Victor Kenneth Braden Jr.
Country (sports)  United States
Born (1929-08-02)August 2, 1929
Monroe, Michigan
Died October 6, 2014(2014-10-06) (aged 85)
Trabuco Canyon, California
Height 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)
Turned pro 1952
Retired 1955

Victor Kenneth Braden Jr. (August 2, 1929 – October 6, 2014) was an American tennis player, instructor and television broadcaster for the sport.[1][2]


Braden was one of eight children born to Victor (1904-1973) and Mildred (née Mayes) Braden (1906-1968), both natives of Claiborne County, Tennessee.[3]

Introduced to tennis at age 12, he became good enough to earn 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 attended Kalamazoo College,[4] where he was captain of the tennis team, and won the league title in singles.[5] He was awarded an honorary degree by his alma mater in 2008.[6]

Vic Braden died of a heart attack on October 6, 2014 at the age of 85.[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 tennis pro 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 and obtained a master's degree in psychology at UCLA and Cal State,[10] Braden joined Jack Kramer on Kramer's pro tour. He and Kramer later founded The Jack Kramer Club, where Braden served as the head tennis pro, started Tracy Austin in tennis, and developed the "Tennis College" concept.[11] In 1986, Kramer said, "One Vic Braden is worth a lot of champions in helping 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 Vic has."[12] Braden was a friend and patient of Dr. Toby Freedman, who was prominent in space and sports medicine, and an avid tennis player.

Professional accomplishments[13][edit]


  • Contributing Most to Tennis in America (USTA)
  • Orange County Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award (Sportswriter)[15]
  • Coach of the Year Award (USPTA).
  • ATP Children's Tennis Award.[16]
  • Faculty Emeritus Award[17]
  • USTA Midwest Tennis Hall of Fame[17]
  • International Tennis Hall of Fame Tennis Educational Merit Award (1974)
  • International Tennis Hall of Fame inductee[18]


  • Vic Braden's 70 Minutes with Big Jake and Pancho Video[19]
  • 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.[20]

  • 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. [21]
  • 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). p. 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). p. 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.  [22]

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).[23]

Featured in print media[edit]

Vic's Vacant Lot[edit]

Braden hosted the short-lived television series, Vic's Vacant Lot,[25] which ran in the early 1980s on ESPN. The premise was to send Braden out with a group of children to show them how to organize competitive sports.


  1. ^ Williams, Paige (2006-10-29). "Vic Braden's Mental Mojo Experience". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  2. ^ "Author:Vic Braden". Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  3. ^ "Victor Braden, Sr." Find a Grave 3 July 2011
  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. 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. 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. ^ Wisconsin State Journal, May 5, 1975
  11. ^ "Club Profile" The Jack Kramer Club 3 July 2011
  12. ^ Los Angeles Times, August 25, 1986
  13. ^ "Products". Retrieved 30 July 2015. 
  14. ^ UCLA Psychology Clinic
  15. ^ "Orange County Roundup". Los Angeles Times. September 27, 1985. Retrieved 2008-11-05. 
  16. ^ "Problem Solving Can Be Beautiful". Sports Illustrated. May 10, 1976. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  17. ^ a b USTA[permanent dead link]
  18. ^ "Clijsters, Roddick elected to International Tennis Hall of Fame". January 23, 2017. Retrieved 2017-03-24. 
  19. ^ "Garrison Sports Videos". Retrieved 30 July 2015. 
  20. ^ Joe Jares (March 25, 1996). "Two pros on winning at doubles". Daily News (Los Angeles, CA). Retrieved 2008-11-05. 
  21. ^ 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. 
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 2, 2011. Retrieved January 21, 2012.  The Sports Network
  23. ^ Paul Assaiante, Vic Braden: Championship Tennis by the Experts: How to Play Championship Tennis. Leisure Press, 1981, ISBN 978-0-918438-23-2
  24. ^ 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. Retrieved 2008-11-05. 
  25. ^ "Vic's Vacant Lot (1982– )". IMDB. IMDB. Retrieved 15 October 2014. 

External links[edit]