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Visual Tennis-2nd Paperback – December 24, 1998

4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This first volume of Doubleday's projected "Visual Sports" series offers all levels of tennis devotees a portable version of a companion video available through Atlas Video. Yandell, a young pro who trained under the legendary Stanford coach Dick Gould, uses a modified version of Gould's teaching system--as well as ideas acquired from working with John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl--to present a coherent visual method of learning. It rests on the principle that players can imitate the good techniques they see. More traditional is the verbal procedure, which often consists of a collection of isolated tips. Yandell breaks down techniques into replicable component parts ("stroke keys"), then reconnects the motions into a fluid whole. With practice, players can reproduce stroke keys even during matches. These procedures expand upon those propounded by Harold A. Stein in Hitting Blind: The New Visual Approach . . . (Beaufort Bks., 1981). A proven technique.
- Frederick J. Augustyn Jr., Library of Congress
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


""""Occasionally, a book comes along that has something genuinely new and exciting to say about the game of tennis. "Visual Tennis" is one of these exceptional books.""" Dick GouldMen's Tennis CoachStanford University """This book teaches the way players actually learn.""" John McEnroe "

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Human Kinetics; 2 edition (December 24, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0880118032
  • ISBN-13: 978-0880118033
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.4 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #484,015 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
John Yandell has pioneered a new, and shockingly simple, way of first understanding how tennis shots are actually hit, and second how to teach this complex information in the most effective way possible to students.
To answer the first question, I will quote John:
"Of the thousands of words coaches and teaching pros have used to describe tennis strokes in lessons, articles, videos, etc., no single element is more neglected and misunderstood than the role and position of the hitting arm. In fact, even the term 'hitting arm' is largely unfamiliar in the vast lexicon of tennis tips."
What John says is hard to believe, but as a life-long student and as a teacher for many years, I know what John says is right on the money. In tennis, no one has been able to identify, with certainty, the position and path of the wrist and forearm through the shot. It has all been guess work and impression. And this information, of course, is the key to hitting good shots! The reason John has been able to answer this question is through cutting-edge, high-speed photography, which shows us exactly how professional tennis shots are hit. The naked eye (and the reports and tips of pro players) are surprisingly incorrect and misguided perceptions of what really happens during a stroke. The strokes are just too fast to capture.
To answer the second question about teaching, John has discovered something that I have long suspected. People learn physical movements and skills by watching and observing real-life examples, and then repeating these examples. We do not learn physical movements by words and instructions. We learn these things visually. Furthermore, we do not break down the strokes into minute, piece by piece progressions.
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Format: Paperback
Having played competitive tennis for many years, having taught tennis, and having competed for many years in sanctioned USTA Open level events, this book is worth every penny. For many years my achilles heel was my forehand volley. No matter how many times I saw myself on video, how many volley lessons (at an average of $45 a lesson) I took, how much I competed in singles and doubles, how much tennis I saw, I could never hit a forehand volley with consistency, acuracy, and confidence. After visually seeing how to hit the volley and then practicing in front of a mirror as suggested in the book, I was able to hit a forehand volley RIGHT AWAY! With detailed visual cues to fall back on, I finally have a volley I can count on and keep. Amazing! This book is well worth having. Having taught tennis, I truly believe in the book's premise that we learn physical activities visually and not cognitively: our minds which can constantly criticize and judge our strokes can be our worst enemies on court (imagine trying to walk while TELLING yourself how to walk!); visual images are the best aids and this books provides great visuals.
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Format: Paperback
This book is correct about learning by using visual images. For the last 8 years, I've been playing tennis using Yandell's images. But the only problem with this style is that it's not very good for competitive tennis. The forehand stroke that resulted from this book are more flat than topspin. The backhand stroke are also relatively flat. In competitive play, especially against modern players, these strokes are not suitable because of the tremendous topspin that they put on the ball. The strokes

photographed are not suitable to handle topspin shots.

The reason the top pros are not seen in the book is because they don't hit this way. This book is a good start for any beginner. After a few years of

playing using Yandell's photos, a beginner should have enough confidence to switch to modern tennis which is nothing but topspins.

I no longer hit the way this book suggests. But I still utilized the visual learning technique from the book. So get this book if you are a beginner. It will increase your tennis enjoyment.
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Format: Paperback
I think putting emphasis on the visual basis of learning is a valuable instructional technique. As the author notes, watching good tennis players raises the level of our own game automatically. However, still photos can benefit from moving pictures. What we can take away from a visual approach to learning is not only a visual picture but a kinesthetic one--how it "feels." In this regard, I think that moving pictures would be an excellent addition to this book and, hopefully, a future edition will incorporate them.

As to the issue of "classical" Eastern forehand styles vs. the pro tour-dominated "Western" styles, with their heavy topspins, I can't fault this book like one of the other reviewers did for excluding the latter. Employing a heavy topspin style is an advanced technique and is beyond the focus of this book, which is obviously instructions for beginners. At the recreational and club level, I would hazard a guess that the majority of players do not use heavy topspin. Likewise, one of the best web-based instructional series--Brent Abel's WebTennis--is based on the "classical" style exclusively.
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