History of the EASI Academy
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A friend once asked "How did EASI Tennis evolve from a concept that formed while beating a ball around at Olney Park with friends to a program that has received world wide recognition?"

In November of 2002, an article appeared in Tennis ONE that presented a new view of tennis training. The response to this article indicated that the general public was eager to explore new approaches to tennis instruction. Based on the response to this article, Dr. Brown put up a modest web site called EASI Tennis that contained a few articles on his new approach. Within a few months the web site had over 300 members and visitors from countries around the world.

What was novel about the EASI approach was its basis in neuroscience. This fresh approach resonated with tennis players everywhere, especially with coaches in the eastern block countries. Today, the EASI system is recognized around the world by all major organizations and is consulted frequently by over a thousand hosts in 42 countries.

How EASI evolved from a friendly level of play to a program with world wide recognition starts with Brown's early experiences.

After leaving U. C. Berkeley, Ray played recreational tennis for several years. During this time, he accepted a position with Dick Gould's ( the most successful Division I NCAA tennis coach in history) tennis company, Recreational Tennis, It was there he began to teach tennis to the general public. Eventually his work in the defense intelligence community took over and more than ten years lapsed before he would resume his interest in playing tennis. In 1995, Becky, his wife at the time contracted viral encephalitis and lost significant motor skills. In order to help her regain her motor control, Ray returned to his interest in tennis. Ray and Becky began the long hard process of reestablishing her motor skills by going to Bluemont Park in Arlington, Virginia and trying to play tennis. It was a slow and frustrating process during which Ray took Becky to every coach he could find to help her redevelop her motor skills by learning how to hit a tennis ball. The decision to use tennis as a rehabilitation venue was not automatic. Numerous sports were reviewed and tennis was chosen because of the demands it made on every part of the body and brain.

Success was not automatic. As Ray went from pro to pro seeking help it became apparent that tennis instruction was very informal and metaphorical. By doing some research into tennis instruction, he discovered that tennis training had not changed much in over 50 years. In particular, most instruction in some measure was still based on the classic text Tom Stow Tennis Teaching System and Stroke Developer. As a scientist, Brown had seen this situation many times before in areas of science and knew that when concepts have not evolved significantly for over 50 years, significant improvements are likely to be possible. It was at this point that Ray began to study all the major coaching names and players for insights into the current state of the art in technique. What became apparent from these studies was that the science of learning and motor development in the brain had never been applied to improve tennis training.

After several years of research, Ray published his first article explaining why the science of learning and the dynamics of the brain were relevant to tennis training. The article was entitled, "What we must do to revitalize tennis" and was published in Mid-Atlantic Match point and at TennisONE.com. This marked the begriming of EASI Tennis.

By introducing neuroscience into tennis, the EASI System established an approach to rapid development of stroke technique. To support the science, Brown used video to break down each stroke into simple components that made sense from the point-of-view of the human learning process since this was missing in the classical approach. The classical approach was based on dividing the stroke into three parts: the take back, the swing, and the follow through. This level of analysis had two problems. First, it ignored the most important event in every stroke: the contact between racquet and ball. Second, it placed major emphasis on the start and finish without regard to objectives, positioning, spin, ball speed or player movement. None of this made good scientific sense. Video analysis of top players confirmed that the classical approach was inefficient, which explained why it took so long for players to develop using this approach.

The introduction of the EASI system was met with skepticism by some, but younger pros seeking a competitive edge began adopting it immediately, especially outside the US in the former soviet block countries.

For several years the EASI system remained unchanged and its popularity increased. Since it was distinctly different from the classical systems, it became necessary to provide a certification standard for pros seeking formal knowledge of EASI.

Over the years it became apparent that teaching power stroke technique was not enough to ensure that players could use their skills in a match. Hence, further analysis was needed. Through the study of video it became apparent that top players could hit with power on the run and from complex and awkward positions and during long matches. The conclusion was obvious. One must teach not only power technique, but also develop anaerobic fitness, footwork, and precision control of the body. This led to the expansion of the EASI System to include the integration of technique, choreography, anaerobic fitness and precision control of the body.

While most players advanced at a dizzying pace in this expanded approach, a few still lagged behind in hitting their strokes under the stress of match conditions. Once again, EASI went back to the drawing board to analyze the problems of human performance under stress. This led to the development of another dimension of the EASI program: Mental toughness. While a few psychologist had contributed to this area over the years, no definitive system was evolved to deal with the total range of performance problems under match conditions.

Today, the EASI system is the only system in the world that provides an integrated program to develop modern technique, fitness, footwork, precision movement, strategy and mental conditioning.

Various levels of this program have been developed to provide training for beginners to professionals so that EASI is a full service tennis academy providing training and coaching for every level of tennis and every age.

A Word About the Professional program: Because of its difficulty, the EASI Professional Program is not for everyone. They generally only take players who have a high level of motivation and dedication to being the best that they can be. Most students arrive at the EASI Academy by referrals from other pros who need to have their players in better condition. We also handle special problems such as players with anger problems and gifted and talented children.