‘So what’s the ultimate purpose of The Tennis Book?‘
To make it EASY to teach yourself (and others) world-class tennis strokes.
‘Why would anyone listen to you?’
If you want to see the technical depth and scope, served up for a general readership, go to The Forehand section… and keep reading until you’re an expert (it won’t take long).
My situation is probably unique – I mean, how many writer/photographers do you know of, who ended up teaching tennis by chance (for almost 20 years), built up an archive of (tens of) thousands of hi-speed tournament sequence photos, wrote their own teaching manual based on (studies of) the strokes of the world’s best players, provided words/pictures/instruction for tennis magazines in Britain, the USA and Europe and developed still-image stroke animations as a teaching aid?
‘I now know of one! So what’s the format? Where do I start?’
There’s no one-route-suits-all path to technical tennis knowledge.
People come to tennis – and the tennis book – with varying degrees of skill, knowledge and opportunities to learn.
For this reason, I’ve made these pages entertaining and shaped them into a sort of technical climbing frame, intended to (super) fast-track the reader to knowledge of advanced tennis techniques, in easy-to-understand stages, and to which they can return time-and-again.
If you are new to technical tennis, I advise you start at the beginning of The Forehand (which is currently free to access) and work your way through each section one-by-one – including both backhands, because knowledge of each will inform your understanding of the other.
‘What about those who aren’t new to tennis?’
They can jump in anywhere, really. But I advise they read from start-to-finish before doing so.
Because THE TENNIS BOOK is like no other sports manual I know of, in that the writer, photographer, digital artist and technical specialist are one-and-the-same person.
You’ll be familiarising yourself with the strokes of many of the world’s greatest ever players, as well as a very personal style of communicating, born of a marriage of sports technique and communicative art, which developed in tandem with my understanding of what happens on tennis courts at the highest and lowest levels.
‘So what’s with the animations?’
I made my first tennis GIF animation in 1999 and I’ve been trying to improve the formula ever since.
I originally shot tournament sequence photos to run the width of magazine pages – frame-by-frame – to illustrate my instructional tennis writing.
But digital imaging provided the opportunity to stack them up and make educationally enhanced stroke sequences, and the slightly jerky nature is perfect for highlighting each element within the full stroke: – in-depth tennis techniques can be served out in visually stimulating portions and made sense of by surrounding sentences.
There are currently two ways of seeing strokes in motion:
1: Click-Through or Swipe
By clicking-thru the stroke frame-by-frame, you can go at your own pace and I can highlight any given element within the full movement.
2: Free running
These can be enhanced to highlight any-and-every aspect of stroke play for easy absorption – and I’m working on some super-easy to follow animated lessons (below).
‘Is The Tennis Book finished?’
Its an ongoing project, for which the potential is limitless.
‘No Search for a Champion then?’
Nah. Already been down that myopic cul de sac, and the best lesson I learned is that tennis can be enjoyed by all, whereas ‘champion’ material is rarer than jackpot lottery tickets.
‘Would now be a good time to tell readers you’ve developed a habit of talking to yourself?’
Yes. But make it clear that its just a teaching aid.
‘’Why do you write all your notes in crayon instead of pen?’
Because Nurse Ratchet won’t allow us to use sharp objects in here.