Best Tennis Books by Allen Fox Review

Biography of Allen Fox

Known for his strong stoic mental approach in his game, Allen Fox is a former pro Tennis player who made waves during the 1960s to 70s. Bringing his A-game despite pressure that would’ve made other players fold, Allen Fox was ranked No. 4 in the US in 1962 during his heyday as a pro tennis player. Between the years 1961 to 1968, he was included in the top ten tennis players in the US five times.

Born in June 25, 1939, Allen Fox has not only won monumental titles from high school to college but also coached men’s team at Pepperdine University bringing the team to a top five ranking in Division 1 for an entire decade. Under his guidance, the Pepperdine University team was able to capture NCAA quarterfinals six times and two final berths.

A Mentor for High Level Competitors

He is also instrumental in bringing some of the best players who eventually became coaches including Kelly Jones, Richard Gallien, and Glen Michibata. Apart from players turned coaches, he also coached ranked players on ATP and WTA tours. Dinara Safina, Sam Querrey, and Dimitri Tursunov are among players that he worked with.

Dr. Allen Fox is a living legend in the world of tennis. A standout since his high school years, he went to UCLA during his college years. Between the years 1951 to 1961, Allen Fox was a three-time All-American. He was able to capture the NCAA doubles along with Larry Naglar in 1960. He was also a standout as a singles player winning the singles title in 1961.

A Fierce Pro Competitor During the 1960s

Between singles and playing doubles, Allen Fox was never thrilled winning the doubles in 1960. He even mentioned how winning titles in doubles never really replaced the disappointment of losing a singles competition. On the next year, he went for singles again and won the title. That year, there were only three other players that threatened Allen Fox. These players are Rafael Osuna who was the top 10 in the world, Larry Nagler who was the 1960 NCAA singles champion, and Ramsey Earnheart who is ranked 11 in the US at that time. He was able to beat everyone in what was seen as an upset.

Allen Fox learned the sport during his teenage years. He mentioned in one interview that he received training from a University of Arizona tennis member when he was only 14 years old. From then on, he discovered that he had a knack for the sport. After just three months of training, he was able to play a 15 and under tournament losing a close match against the eventual winner of the event.

When Allen Fox started, he mentioned that there weren’t many players back then in Tucson. Because of this, he was also able to get to the top easily. This inspired him to get better and practice even more. With his mother telling him to practice daily for an hour, that’s where he contributed his discipline.

Even when he transferred to Beverly Hills during the latter part of his high school years, he mentioned how simply performed for himself. This mentality helped give him a sense of control especially transferring from Tucson High as the best player in the Southwestern United States in the 18 and under division.

A mentality that he was able to bring from his early years to his later years as a pro is to perform for himself as powerfully as humanly possible. When he played in Division 1, he was easily on the top 5 players. When he played for UCLA, he played every dual match against the top 1 and top 2 positions only losing to Rafael Osuna of USC and Chuck McKinley.

During his years at UCLA, he considered it a crucial part of his development in his career as an athlete. He was able to practice hard, hone his skills while getting an education. However, he considered the junior year to be a tough year for him losing to Larry Nagler who was also his teammate and doubles partner.

Ph.D in Psychology

At UCLA, he earned a BA in physics. After this, he decided to continue his studies and completed his Ph.D. in psychology. This will play a huge role later in his career. Apart from being a fierce competitor, he will also be a notable personality in developing a winning mindset among athletes. And unlike other self-professed “mental coaches” in the field of athletics, Allen Fox is an athlete himself.

What made Allen Fox popular after his competitive years is his dedication to honing other players to reach heights that he did. But unlike the old school approach, Allen Fox has a better understanding of not only how the game is played but how other people think. He was able to write books exploring on the psychological aspect of playing tennis. His books were made not only for coaches and advanced players but even for those who are looking to start their careers.

Good Tennis Books by Allen Fox

Tennis: Winning the Mental Match

Tennis is a difficult sport as it is. Not only do you need to have the physical traits and talent to win games, but you also have to deal with other good players who might have better skills than you. With Tennis: Winning the Mental Match, this book offers a different approach to the sport.

Tennis: Winning the Mental Match can give you a different perspective when it comes to winning games. Allen Fox explains that tennis is more than just a sport that involves hitting the ball. He explains some concepts and tricks that even advanced and talented players miss out on.

Instead of focusing on strokes, this book teaches you how to play the game. It gives you an idea of when to go hard and when to relax. It also gives you awareness when it comes to your strategies. For instance, where do you hit the ball in given different situations?

Tennis: Winning the Mental Match is a great book not only for professional tennis players but even for those who are looking to start their competitive tennis career whether you are in high school or college. Allen Fox discusses the strategies, tactics, and other intricacies of the sport that he was able to use during his active years playing tennis.

What makes the Tennis: Winning the Mental Match unique compared to other books about sports psychology is the fact that Allen Fox was able to do well both as a coach and as a competitive tennis athlete. This gives him first-hand experience on how to handle difficulties. He was able to compete in tennis from high school to professional level. He is also someone who made it at one point to become one of the best in the world.

Allen Fox not only finished his career as an elite tennis player, but he also finished a Ph.D. in psychology at UCLA. It means that he knows exactly how people tend to think especially athletes who are also trying to play the game. Allen Fox breaks down the scenarios giving you tips on how you can take advantage of opportunities by knowing how players typically think.

Why pick this book anyways? There are a lot of reasons why you want to read Tennis: Winning the Mental Match. It is a good book that you want to pick if you are losing games. You will know exactly how aggressive and gritty players think. You’ll know more about what goes on inside their minds. This can be used to give you a better winning strategy especially when it comes to dealing with close games. And more importantly, you’ll know the reasons why you keep on losing games.

Another reason to pick up this book is to improve your learning curve. Students of the game will feel as if they are on a plateau. If you feel that you are not seeing the progress that you expect from practicing the game regularly, this book can give you a competitive edge when you play.

One of the best lessons that you can get from this book is that you’ll be able to play the percentage game when it comes to playing tennis. What are the odds of encountering someone who is using his or her right hand as the dominant hand? The book teaches you to do the math and understand how you can develop a game plan that can improve your win-loss ratio.

It is also a good way to teach coaches how they can improve their instructions, especially when dealing with younger players. Younger players focus so much on their basics, conditioning, and the rules of the game forgetting how psychology can also bring both good and bad in a player’s game.

The book is a good pick whether you play singles or doubles. Most of the tips will give you practical advice backed by years of coaching and competitive experience.

The book is also easy to digest. It is a page-turner giving you an easy explanation of why you should play the game according to his suggestion. As a psychologist and an ex-professional tennis player, he can give you a new insight when it comes to winning tennis games.

Tennis: Winning the Mental Match is a good resource for those who also don’t have access to a professional coach. If you are someone who happens to be playing casually with friends but doesn’t want to always experience losses, this book can help give you an upper hand. Allen Fox allows readers to get useful tips as if you hired your own professional coach, which is something that not everyone gets to enjoy.

But is it all good? Though it is something concise and informative, one common opinion about the book is that it fails to discuss several primitive behavior and regression that can affect your overall game and state of mind when playing. And also, if you’ve read books like The Inner Game of Tennis, then you might find this book to be a bit more general in its approach.


  • Good for coaches and athletes
  • Designed to improve your win-loss ratio
  • Teaches you how to play smart


  • Lacks specificity in its approach

Think to Win: Strategic Dimension of Tennis, The

Strategies take a lot of time to learn. You’ll need to win and lose a lot of games before you can formulate a winning strategy against different players. At times, it can be frustrating to learn on your own. In addition to this, before you even worry about strategies, you also need to have a grasp of your basics which can be tricky for a lot of novice players.

After writing the Inner Game of Tennis, Allen Fox was at it again and wrote Think to Win: The Strategic Dimension of Tennis. This book brings all the practical tips that can come in handy especially for someone who is a beginner. It’s a good book for those mid-level and novice players who tend to lose from more experienced players.

You’ll be able to bring your game to the next level with precious tips that have been tested in the actual court. Unlike other authors that haven’t established themselves in the world of Tennis, it’s different from Allen Fox.

There’s no denying that Allen Fox was able to accomplish what professional players wanted. Winning titles in both singles and doubles competition and becoming a famous coach for high-level tennis athletes, his name alone brings attention to the book.

Allen Fox is in a position to write a valuable book to help those who don’t have any coach. In any sport, understanding the basics plays a vital role even for advanced players. Allen Fox does a good job of providing “how-to” steps to those who plan on improving their game.

Among practical advice that you can get from this book include grips and strokes that can make a huge difference in how you take control of the ball game. This can give you a strategy on how to approach the game. Other than players, this can also come in handy as a teaching tool for coaches. Allen Fox explains each strategy in an easy-to-understand manner wherein coaches can simply teach the contents of the book to their students and see them improve their game.

If you enjoyed Brad Gilbert’s book, a student of Allen Fox, you will enjoy this book as well. Think of it as learning straight from the source. Apart from having strong basics and strategies on how to win the game, another thing that makes this book stand out is the mental tips that Allen Fox is known for.

However, if you are someone doing well in your games even as an intermediate player, this book may not have a practical use on your part. If you are an intermediate player looking to break away from the rest of the average players, this isn’t a book that we can recommend. The good news though is that it offers strong fundamentals.

Another thing that makes the book a bit unappealing among readers is the fact that it doesn’t have any grasp of current players. Instead, you will be given examples of old players who lived during the same era as Allen Fox. If you’re someone who loves to watch old games, and if you are familiar with these old names, then this book can be considered a gem. Unfortunately, for a casual player who just picked up his or her racket. This might not be the case.

However, if you want to re-learn the basics or if you want to improve your overall strategies, this book can come in handy. The section where the book teaches court positioning and angles can already be considered as a game-changer, especially for intermediate players.

You might consider references in the book to be a bit old but if you are after information and learning the game, this is still something worth reading.


  • Focus on fundamentals
  • Good tips from angles to proper grips
  • Written by a successful competitor and coach


  • References are old
  • Similar to other how-to Tennis books

The Winner’s Mind: A Competitor’s Guide to Sports and Business Success

Not everyone becomes a champion. This is a fact of life everyone has to deal with. But sometimes, especially for highly competitive individuals, this reality is quite painful to just accept. At times, it can be frustrating. Imagine doing the sacrifices and being diligent with your training only to end up losing in the end.

These days, it is quite common to see books tell you that it’s not always about winning. These books provide readers with a bunch of reasons why you failed and why it is a good way to build character and your overall personality. Most of the time, it creates a loser’s attitude. It fosters mediocrity.

Allen Fox who happened to be a former American top 10 and Davis Cup winner knows a thing or two about winning. Unlike other self-proclaimed mental coaches who preach about a winning attitude, Allen Fox knows what it’s like to be on top of his game and he also knows what it feels to lose. He has the credibility to bring reality to his readers based on his experience as a competitive athlete.

Apart from being an athlete, he also uses his Ph.D. in psychology to bring concepts that can be used not only in winning games but also in business. He discusses how successful competitors and businessmen think and what they have to do to be able to have that type of mindset.

The book gives you a chance to rethink your current behaviors especially when facing difficult times and challenges. Do you just succumb to challenges and come up with an excuse? Or are you the type who endures against the odds?

Unlike his other books that were made specifically for athletes, The Winner’s Mind: A Competitor’s Guide to Sports and Business Success has valuable lessons even for those who are not athletes themselves. It is an ideal book for those who run their own business and for those who want to progress in their career.

It is an easy-to-understand book. Unlike other books that tend to get boring with psychology jargon and complex terms, Allen Fox uses a take-no-prisoner tone that can get you motivated to change your current mindset and attitude.

You also get concrete examples of what a winner’s mindset should be. What are their common characteristics and how can you develop these characteristics to be able to be just like them? After finishing the book, you will learn how to conquer your fear of losing, use intellect over emotion, and how to concretize your ambition by stepping out of your comfort zone.

Is this a good book? What makes it different from the rest of the other business/motivational books published in the market? The Winner’s Mind: A Competitor’s Guide to Sports and Business Success has a few tennis references here and there. However, apart from that, it gives the same advice from other popular books.

Given the amount of content written by other authors in this field, Allen Fox fails this time to be different. It is meant mostly for mid-level card players. It doesn’t offer anything new that can be considered game-changing especially for someone who has a good amount of experience in business or in participating in athletic competitions.

If it’s your first time to read a motivational book and if you consider Allen Fox as your Tennis hero, then this book might be a good option for you. Another issue that you might find confusing is the fact that Allen Fox used references that are meant for the older crowd.

Instead of using popular tennis players today such as Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, he opted to use players from forty years ago. A lot of things have changed in tennis over the last four decades. You get names like Pancho Gonsales and names that were big during the 70s. It also lacks research, illustrations, model structures, and graphics.

Did the book validate his claims? Allen Fox fails miserably to solidify his claims. Does it mean that it’s false? Not really. However, he could’ve done so much better if he crunched the numbers or he noted other research to back his claims. Considering that it is targeted towards non-athletes even more for businessmen, the more that it needs concrete examples rather than just claims that hope to trigger emotions.


  • An inspirational voice used throughout the book
  • Meant for both athletes and businessmen
  • Easy-to-understand


  • Doesn’t include graphics and other supporting data
  • Uses old players as reference


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