Steven White is a professional tennis instructor and former satellite tour player who has been teaching tennis for almost twenty-five years. He is certified with the Professional Tennis Registry, the worlds’ largest international organization of tennis teachers and coaches. White has written four books on tennis, his latest – Bring Your Racquet: Tennis Basics for Kids for which he is both author and illustrator.
The latest work is geared towards teaching the fundamentals of the game to children, from basic strokes to tennis vocabulary.
Tennis Panorama News: What led you to write the book?
Steven White: First of all, I’d like to say that I have always been a lover of tennis books and magazines. As a teenager in the seventies, beginning with World Tennis and Tennis Magazine, I practically taught myself to play using these fine publications. In a nutshell, I used them to mold my strokes and develop a game style that suited my capabilities. I remember staring at the photos of the world’s best players of that time, Borg and Connors, and then imagining myself in those positions and hitting stances. But I was a late bloomer and had always wished I had started playing at an earlier age. So, as an author, I wanted to explain the basics of the game in terms the average young or inexperienced player can easily follow — in conjunction with fun and interesting illustrations.
TPN: What makes your book different from other instructional books?
SW: Too much written tennis instruction is overly detailed and unnecessarily complicated for young readers. “Bring Your Racquet” allows intermediate readers to learn the basics of the game from easy-to-follow instruction with simple sentences and word repetition to more sophisticated sentence structure, and new vocabulary. Simply put, it’s a fun and easy read. But what really makes this instructional guidebook fun is the blend of instruction with Manga characters. “Manga” is a Japanese art form loved by children and young adults all over the world. And truly, with the accompaniment of these fresh illustrations, each lesson piques the reader’s interest in learning not only the strokes themselves, but it also promotes their reading skills and drives them to understand what they are reading – the instruction relative to a game they wish to learn.
TPN: What advice would you give to parents trying to get their children to learn tennis?
SW: During the many months that I worked on this project, I came to the inescapable conclusion that the young readers of this book will want to make their own simplifications of the game and personalize their own approaches to improvement. In a nutshell, they will begin to take responsibility for their own games – and that’s a good thing.
And finally, as you read and apply the tips I’ve provided, I hope you realize that this book is not meant to replace the teaching of your local certified professional. It is extremely difficult for anyone to teach himself tennis. There is simply too much to learn about the game. In fact, your teaching pro may even disagree with some of the ideas presented here, but that is nothing to worry about because, literally, there is no one way to play the game. You may even experience some difficulties in executing the strokes properly at first, but that shouldn’t concern you either. Allow yourself some time to gain confidence in your new strokes. You may even drop a match or two as you learn your new techniques. But if you are not willing to accept this, you will not improve. Above all, the one thing I hope to teach you, is that improvement comes only with hard work and patience, as I know all too well.
TPN: You’ve written other books on tennis, could you tell us about them.
SW: Yes, I’m also the author of “Teaching Tennis: Protocol for Instructors”. It was released in 2008 by Equilibrium Books, a division of Wish Publishing. As we all know, tennis is a difficult sport to play, but it can be an even more difficult sport to teach. Helping other players to develop their skills can be more difficult than developing your own. Teaching Tennis is a guide for both established instructors who want to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their teaching abilities and for players who want to become teachers.
TPN: Are there any future books or projects in the works?
SW: Funny you should ask. I’m almost finished with the follow-up to Bring Your Racquet. Haven’t titled it yet and I have a few more illustrations to create, but when it’s finished, Tennis Panorama will be the one of the first to receive a review copy.
Bring Your Racquet is a good primer for children learning the basics of the game. More importantly, it’s written in a way that both parents and children will understand. It’s straightforward in its approach, yet very detailed in descriptions and instruction.
To follow Steven White on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tennisauthor