Grunting in Women’s Tennis…Why it can be Music to a Coach’s ear! Yet how a ‘Silent Grunt’ is preferred and possible with the PFT System.

Dear Readers! Okay, so while watching the 2018 Wimbledon Ladies Finals broadcast yesterday, and just after returning from the NSCA National Conference [National Strength & Conditioning Specialists] I decided to re-post this blog I wrote in 2013.  Also, after extensive conversations with my fellow NSCA scientists and coaches I realized the PFT System that I created can offer something to consider when trying to understand how Physical POWER and all things related (explosive, repetitive, RFD) can be further assessed with the sound of your voice [aka GRUNTING]. Vocalizing or grunting is powered by your Breath-Core Coordination in sympathetic mode! and oh ya, did I mention, there’s a cognitive performance enhancement [i.e. reaction and response time improvement] that may come as an added benefit!


1. Watch the video below.

2. Then read the blurb below as to what I think you should assess,

3. and then observe again.

2018 Wimbledon Ladies finals! When I watch, or should I say also LISTEN to, in ladies tennis, one can’t help notice the loud vocalizing. And yes, I do hear it as vocalizing vs. grunting. From my experience and expertise with the PFT System, adding listening to one’s observing can help assess how efficient the player is with respect to their Center of Pressure (i.e. an Object’s [i.e. the Player’s] Center of Mass over Base of Support). Putting COP on the list of factors that affect athletic performance and how it asserts the scale of optimization of an athlete’s performance level, can be a game changer!

***Watch the video again****, observe by also listening to the audible output with its variances in even vocal styles between athletes. Know that, when considering the PFT System, it can tell us a lot about each player’s breath-core-joint performance and overall repetitive power performance. But also pay attention in this specific long rally, to how the characteristics of each player’s ‘grunt’ are consistent in length, the range in pitch and the ‘loudness’. Although congratulations goes to Kerber for a win this year, I will have to say that in this particular example S. Williams was the winner for sustaining a power output for longer!

Having said that, the characteristics of the sound by Kerber identified when considering the PFT System, that she was actually more efficient in her Breath-Core power activation initially, while Williams was more successful at finding a more optimized activation that could sustain longer and more powerful at the end of her exhale/grunt!

IMPORTANT – “The SILENT GRUNT”: Although the Voicing/Grunting/Vocalizing seems like a unique parameter to measure, there is an option with the PFT System to get the same results without making sound! And in my opinion, a better option, since if one day you lose your voice or it hurts to phonate (i.e. vocalize or make sound with the vocal cords or vocal mechanism), then your performance will not get affected as a player!


Please read below on an original blog I posted back in 2013 when Grunting was at the forefront of the WTA. Hope this gives all of you players, coaches and sport scientists something to think about!

maria sharapova

Although some think that “grunting” in Women’s Tennis is cheating, with my work on the voice-core connection™ through The PFT System (formerly Pilates2Voice®), I can affirm that there is a valid connection between ‘grunting’ and ‘core performance.’ 

In a statement about this topic in Wikipedia: 

Some players and commentators have noted the connection with pro tennis trainer Nick Bollettieri, who has personally trained the majority of the controversially loud “grunters” including Larcher de Brito, Seles, Sharapova, Agassi, and the Williams sisters, leading to repeated accusations that he has been deliberately teaching grunting as a novel tactic in order to give his latest generation of students an edge in competitive play.[17]  Bollettieri has denied teaching grunting as a distraction tactic, and says grunting is natural, “I prefer to use the word ‘exhaling’. I think that if you look at other sports, weightlifting or doing squats or a golfer when he executes the shot or a hockey player, the exhaling is a release of energy in a constructive way.”[15]

Although the loud vocalizations have been described as “grunts”, after reviewing several female tennis players, I would prefer to differentiate the voicings as: the GRUNT (Serena)the SHRIEK (Sharapova); and the HOWL (Azarenka). As the creator of the PFT System (formerly Pilates2Voice®), I can assess from the style of a tennis player’s vocalization during a ‘hitting of the ball’, characteristics about the performance of her core/powerhouse, and more specifically, the transversus abdominis muscle!

The voicing commits one to exhale with force, otherwise known in singing as a forced expiratory breath. Sharapova’s growls register up to a 101 decibels, giving her ‘rock star’ status in my terms!

Admittedly if the grunting and growling continue without the ideal support for vocalization due to a less than optimal respiratory control, then it could possibly lead to overuse vocal injury. So instead of criticizing the players for competitive distraction tactics, it’s best to give the player a reason to ‘change’ behavior to improve pulmonary function/control and voicing, while at the same time, not compromise ‘core’ performance! 

There are two ways to do that:

  1. CHANGE GROWL TO HOWL: change the low grunt or growl into a healthy howl, minimizing the hard vocal onset (attack). 


  1. TAKE THE SOUND OUT: learn how to perform a non-phonatory voice-core strengthening™ exhale (e.g.The PFT System’s Bubble Cheek exercise)

While watching Azarenka’s latest win against Serena Williams at the Qatar Open, it led me to support her way of HOWLING! With the long high to low voicing, her core performance is heads and shoulders above the ‘short burst grunters’. They call it a grunt, but I don’t hear it as one, as the howl is a sound we make in singing training.  She herself has both the growl and the howl, but it was the howl that peaked a musical ear, and was sampled and remixed in a song by LMFAO’s Redfoo. Read About Victoria Azarenka’s Redfoo song!

In summary, on a personal level, I too used to be a grunter when I played recreational tennis. As a professionally trained opera singer, I had to make a change because I felt my voice was getting fatigued after a game. 

Now having developed and sustained a strong PFT voice-core connection when hitting the ball, I can both save my voice, and power the ball across the net, without any distraction to my opponent. 

Feel free to comment or ask questions!
Check out the website: KPERFORM and SIGN UP to get more information about the products and technology we are building to bring The PFT System to you!
With much enthusiasm and for the greater good!
‘per il bene più grande’
your Opera Singer and Strength Coach, 
Dr. Veera Khare Asher


#Unexpected & #Underestimated


📷 @acefotopro

Truth is non-negotiable. From Gandhi to @garyvee.

As @shondarhimes expresses. “If I don’t poke my head out of my shell and show people who I am, all anyone will ever think I am is my shell.”

For me, truth is necessary for freedom and progress! My father’s side of the Khare family shared with me how my grandfather, my Ba Ba, came to know Gandhi, and they told me stories about his time working with him. This led me to learning more about Gandhi through his writing. I found his explanations helped me to understand better why truth is so important to me professionally and personally.

“What is truth? A difficult question, but I have solved it for myself, by saying that it is what the voice within tells you….There is an inmost center in us all, where truth abides in fullness…The law of truth is merely understood to mean that we must speak the truth.But we understand the word in a much wider sense. There should be truth in thought, truth in speech, and truth in action.” M. K. Gandhi. 

The best truths in my opinion, come from any human who has already changed the world. My first acting job was at a historical theme park in Canada where I got to play Nellie McClung and give her famous ‘mock parliament’ speech where she was advocating for women to get the vote. Today, now in the US, I have learned a lot about the amazing work of Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsberg and how she’s made progress with a quieter approach but still keeping a strong voice. I especially like her quote that reflects the truth between her mother’s generation and hers. “What’s the difference between a bookkeeper in the garment district and a Supreme Court justice? One generation.”

As an entrepreneur, and founder of a start-up, there is a critical part of my life, like most entrepreneurs, that is so hard to describe or explain to whose who are not entrepreneurs. I discovered an article that encapsulates the overall experience of an  entrepreneur and why we choose to do it. And choose is the operative word. The author also quotes Hemingway by saying, “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” Link to Article 

So at the beginning of my journey to being amplified via online platforms, from Instagram, to twitter, Facebook and this blog, but most importantly, YouTube, I had to start brave, and I mean really brave. In order to be a YouTuber, my Gen Z junior executive Tapiwa Karen Tafa decided I needed to start with the truth as to why I had to get amplified online in the first place. So I did. It was the first time as a Gen X, I felt that immense ‘fear’ of being out there on the internet for anyone and everyone to hear my truth as to “Why am I not successful yet?”

Due to my pioneering research and invention, a disruptor to more than one industry, and admittedly doing it all (which isn’t supposed to be possible), I inevitable became unexpected and underestimated…until, of course, when I become successful anyways!

#ruthbaderginsburg@notoriousrbg #NellieMcClung#GenerationHuman#UnexpectedUnderestimated #ActivateYourBrave #entrepreneur #DoingItAll #GenHuman



     📷 @acefotopro


I wrote the poem “Wo/Man vs. Mountain” almost 2 years ago. Reading it again, it was an affirmation for me that “I am READY”

Wo/Man vs. Mountain. 
Woman standing in front of mountain, breath shallow, stomach knotted,
Woman needs to move mountain,
Woman runs up mountain, hard and steady…mountain presents obstacles and just doesn’t budge,
Woman makes it to the peak of the mountain … She is breathing heavy, but deep, every heart’s beat is like a powerful stroke that explodes aggressively throughout her body
She stands taller on the top of the mountain.

She stops- listens- looks – and prays.
She observes – up, down and all around 360 degrees – she absorbs the mountain.
She is one with the mountain. No pain.
Then the mountain speaks. “You still do not fear me even while knowing that where you are standing, if I do move- you may fall – you can die.
You are like so many who have tried to move me.
But. . . you like no other, you felt with every step, every breath, I am already always moving,

To move with me, rather than against me, you became warrior & saint, and vulnerable like a tiny bird who just learned to fly in strong winds.
When you run back down, resist the earth’s pull, and in that resistance – you will find your pace.

In every suspended moment with each stride, like the dual swing of a pendulum, you will find a peace.
When you reach the bottom – you will close your eyes- you will see
Me- the MOUNTAIN – but just how small I am, against the great SKY and vast OCEAN.”

-by Veera Khare Asher


SET. . .

“If you want to be Extraordinary, you have to be Brave”

It’s time for me to learn from my own advice. In my work as a performance coach, I see every individual as having something extraordinary! So what’s the formula to Being Brave?

Brave = Be Confident + Be Focused + Be Intuitive
(1) Confident: Say “I Believe in Myself” before you try anything. Repeat this, especially when you are doubting yourself. It’s vital that you start at a point of confidence.

(2) Focus:“Do Your Homework”. Invest time into learning, training and getting expert skills. This will allow you to give your best self to any project or team.

(3) Intuitive (something nobody ever really explained to me on how to develop): “Learn to develop and trust your ‘gut-feeling’”. It may not always be right, but it’s important to know that it sometimes manifests as ‘emotion’….”oh dear” 🙄 – However if you can do math problems while you feel and express that emotion, you know you are in a logical mind and will discover a way to make good decisions that include your intuition.


Now that you know one formula for Brave, then Extraordinary becomes very possible!
. . .

GO. . . 
Take the risk even with the possibility of failure.

After you have embraced the READY, and committed to the SET. . . then GO!
GO and practice your skill, hone your art, and start the process of ‘playing’ with trial and error, as that is when you create the most potential for incredible discoveries to happen.
Go, and keep going! Keep being Possible!

#BeBrave #KeepLearning #keepgrowing #entrepreneur 📷 @acefotopro

~Dr. Veera