Tennis With An Accent: Jim Fannin

Tennis with an accentDo you remember television “crossover” episodes when two shows would merge into one during the same week? This week’s Tennis With An Accent Podcast is very much about tennis, but it is also a crossover episode with another Radio Influence podcast.

Jim Fannin is a longtime tennis coach who currently works as a consultant to athletes across numerous sports. He is also the host of his own Radio Influence podcast, The Jim Fannin Show. He has a website of accumulated books and instructional CDs at This week, Jim is the featured guest at Tennis With An Accent.

Jim talks to Matt Zemek in a conversation with two basic parts: first, Jim’s history in and around tennis; second, a series of tennis tips every player can use to improve one’s performance, whether a club player or a Grand Slam title contender.

Jim’s presence in tennis is considerable, and it is worth sharing with generations of younger fans who might not be aware of his imprint on the sport. Jim coached Italy’s Adriano Panatta, who won the 1976 French Open. He coached the 1979 Italian Davis Cup team to the Davis Cup Final. He coached Roland Garros finalist Victor Pecci. He coached Peter Fleming, who teamed with John McEnroe to win seven major-tournament doubles championships and — in singles — reached the top 10 of the ATP rankings. Jim Fannin also coached Phil Dent, Kim Warwick, and multiple other players who reached the ATP top 10. Much like modern-day tennis coach Wim Fissette on the WTA Tour, Fannin consistently elevated the performance of the ATP players he coached.

Jim shares his most embarrassing moments as a tennis coach in three hilarious anecdotes. He also explains how his players broke down Jimmy Connors’ weaknesses and fearlessly attacked Ivan Lendl’s forehand. Jim describes the delicate balance of the coaching process. He goes into great detail when articulating the need to emphasize his players’ own strengths yet also exploit the vulnerabilities of his opponents.

In the second half of this conversation, Jim provides something new to the Tennis With An Accent Podcast: tennis instruction. TWAA podcasts normally focus on an analysis of the professional game and the important stories of each tournament during the season. Some podcasts focus on news items such as the end of Davis Cup. The show hasn’t generally set aside time for tennis tips, so that’s what Jim brings to the table in this week’s broadcast.

Jim explains what it means to be “In the Zone,” the concept at the heart of his coaching and training philosophy. This is more than just a mental construct. Jim walks you through what it means to be fully focused and in position to compete with maximum effectiveness.

Jim makes numerous points about how any tennis player — at any level of competition or competence — can flush out negative energy and bring newly positive energy to the court. From self-evaluation to court vision to the transfer of power through a shot, Jim offers more than just a primer on technique or tactics. He provides a way for players to process information without overthinking, and to make necessary adjustments without being overly critical of one’s flaws. Jim provides a holistic coaching approach which can put players “In the Zone,” where they welcome success instead of fearing it.

You can learn more about Jim’s teaching methods on The Jim Fannin Show at Radio Influence and at Jim would welcome feedback on this show at Tennis With An Accent. He will be happy to answer questions about how you can improve your tennis game.

Thanks for listening!

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Music provided by Teknoaxe and used under the terms of CC (Creative Commons) 4.0 license.

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