#25 Design Your Plan & Follow Through with Mike VAN ZUTPHEN (Part 1)

#25 Design Your Plan & Follow Through with Mike VAN ZUTPHEN (Part 1)

January 28, 2015 | Expert GamePlan Session
An American (USA), University of Tulsa, USPTA Master Professional, Inductee of the Tennis Teacher Hall of Fame, 20 Years as USPTA Tester of the Year _________________________________________________

Listen NOW (00:48:43) or via iTUNES | STITCHER | TUNEIN APPS!


On today’s show we will get into specialized training and how important structure & having a relationship with your coach/player is. We will also discuss three different concepts involved with getting better through trainings: mechanical, cognitive, and emotional training. Mike dives into how important structure of not only training but your life as an athlete is to your success and how you should track progress and goals. In this first part we also talk about Functional Intelligence which Mike describes as “...the ability to function under pressure, in the defined environment, making great decisions based on a tactical way to play and the statistical percentages” and why it’s so important athletes have it!


  • Born, Mike Van Zutphen on September 17, 1953 and currently living in Huntington Beach, California USA.

  • Degree in Business from the University of Tulsa.

  • It took Mike ten years to get his classification of Master Professional after going through strenuous requirements.
    (Note: To become a "MASTER PROFESSIONAL"... "
    Members must hold USPTA's highest certification rating (Professional 1) for more than 10 years before becoming eligible for the Master Professional designation. Then, each must fulfill a broad spectrum of requirements, including making significant achievements in areas such as tennis teaching and coaching, business, education and volunteer work." - USPTA Website)

  • Has worked with all levels U.S. Players to develop their game/game plan. He helped  design the curriculum guide for all the grade schools in the U.S. Players all over the world started coming to him to be coached.

  • Played World Team Tennis With Pat Dupret, and at that time was hired as a doubles specialist. His best win was beating 11th ranked ranked in the world, Andrew Peterson from South Africa. 

  • Coached at a Junior College, had his own TV show, and was the owner of Sun Tennis Magazine (Out of Print). Was the director of Tennis Operations Arizona, and is still currently the owner of the Arizona Tennis Association.

  • Trained 2 NCAA Champions and a Wimbledon Junior champion, Wesley Whitehouse.

  • Was Inductee of the Tennis Teacher Hall of Fame. He has written 5 Books on Tennis. Has been the Head Tester of the USPTA for the last 20 years in a row.


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Listen NOW (00:48:43) or via iTUNES | STITCHER | TUNEIN APPS!


“If you live your life to a certain standard and you give everything you’ve got, you can’t feel bad about whatever happens with the outcome” - Mike Van Zutphen

“A ball of the net has a future” - Mike Van Zutphen


Key Discussion Points

  • What is the advantage of having a coach like you with your philosophy?

  • What are some examples of how an athlete could structure their daily lives better?

  • What are your thoughts on tracking and functional intelligence?


Key Lessons

  • A coach needs to have a relationship with the player

  • As a coach, find a way to learn from other coaches, as their style may be relevant to your

“..coaches in the industry that I would consider really  phenomenal teachers, and what I tried to do was gather that information from those coaches that I felt was relevant for me and I’d go back to adding those skills or those techniques to my style of teaching.” MV @ 11:58

  • Everybody is different and receives coaching/teaching differently

  • Polish the skill so that the athlete owns it

  • Athletes need to identify where they are at, to know where they are going

  • Avoid “random” training

“ Design a specific training so that it attacks the weakness that is actually occurring in the match.” MV @  19:01

  • Having structure is designing so that the athlete optimizes his/her chances

  • When watching film, don’t focus on what you think is happening, but focus on what actually IS happening

  • Build up your weakness, so they are strong when others attack them

  • Athletes have a 10 minute window after competition to refuel their system

“Whatever I put into my system, after that 10 minute window, the doors shut, its in my stomach, but its not gonna effect the cells in the body.” MV @ 29:10

  • Functional intelligence is the hardest skill to train athletes

“..its the ability to function under pressure, in the defined environment, making great decisions based on a tactical way to play and the statistical percentages.” MD @ 35:48

Listen NOW (00:48:43) or via iTUNES | STITCHER | TUNEIN APPS!


Give a tool or habit you love to use to stay healthy:
Playing Doubles

Name one learning resource you love to use:
Books, Visuals, and world class coaches

What was holding you back from becoming better?
My consistency level and lack of structure is what kept me from making it further in the professional tennis world.

Recommended Books written by Mike Van Zutphen
Player Development Book
Get a Grip
Strings, Tension and Rackets
Management book

Other Resources/Websites by Mike Van Zutphen:
One Minute Tennis Lessons


Charity/Organizations They Add Value to:
Working with Special Olympics

USPTA (United States Professional Tennis Association): Head USPTA Tester Cal Division, Director of Tennis / High Performance Coach, USPTA National Testing Committee
Arizona Tennis Association: Owner


Contact Mike

Email | LinkedIn 


Note to Athletes:

“Plan your progress, don’t randomly do it, it’s a game plan of life, its a game plan of professional standards that you have to live by to have success, you can’t randomly do it, design your plan, and follow through”
-Mike Van Zutphen