Approaching 20!

John Yandell

Tennisplayer, the world's best tennis magazine - based on reality.

Hard to believe but next month in April we will be starting our 20th year of Tennisplayer. The world's best tennis magazine! I am grateful to say we have many subscribers who have been with us the whole way.

Why? Because every month we publish a new issue with the latest, cutting edge articles and video on understanding, playing and teaching. Plus a lot more.

We have long term subscribers and we have new subscribers every day. Even if you have been here for years—but especially if you are new or recent--it might be hard to keep track and appreciate how much there is on Tennisplayer on so many aspects of the game.

Our commitment to understanding this amazing game of tennis has never changed, if anything it's increased. Our unequaled resources have grown every year and that is going to continue. If I am preaching to the converted all apologies, but I thought just reminding everyone was worth it. And of course I want to recruit more true believers.

So in this article I want to talk about the Tennisplayer resources, some you might know already, some you may have forgotten, and some you might have overlooked and want to discover now.


One theme that runs through everything on Tennisplayer is reality. In this day when it seems every teaching pro with a cell phone has his own youtube channel, this is more important than ever. It's sad how much online information is misleading, inaccurate, and damaging. (Click Here for an article I wrote recently on this called The Myth of the Magic Bullet.)

What do I mean our instructional information is reality based? I mean it is based on the close study of video of technique. Video of the top players and what they do and how that does and doesn't apply across all levels. And video of the hundreds of players at all levels we have worked with and videoed on the teaching court.

It's what's called an empirically based approach. Not opinion, not speculation. Because what sounds good may not necessarily be true much less helpful.

Federer plus dozens more in the High Speed Archive.

Why video? The fact is no human being has ever seen a racket hit a tennis ball with the naked eye. Huh? What? No it's true.

The fact is the contact event happens about 10 times too fast for the human eye to register. The duration of contact is about 4 milliseconds, or 1/250 of a second. The eye can't clearly resolve events that fast.

The fastest event the eye can "see" clearly is about 1/25th of a second. So the eye is 10 times too slow. And the same goes for the critical split seconds right before and after contact. This fundamental problem of perception accounts for much or most of the misunderstandings players and coaches have about the game.

Our video is the basis for a different approach. Subscribers can actually study players for themselves frame by frame. And read my interpretations. And read articles from the best coaches on the planet based on their own study of this data. And actually put your strokes side by side by any of these players.

Stroke Archives

In our original Stroke Archive we used cameras with shutter speeds of 1/000 of a second, so that all the frames are crystal. There are over 75 players there, with all their strokes from multiple angles, including players like Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, but also Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and many, many others. (Click Here)

What really happens when the ball is on the strings?

Then as the camera technology evolved, we were the first to use new high frame rate cameras that not only had the shutters, but also filmed at 250 frames a second or even faster. Now we had the contact point in every stroke but also far more frames throughout the strokes and especially leading up and after contact. (Click Here)

In the High Speed Archives we have complete portraits of the strokes of over 50 elite pro players as well as multiple shot point sequences. Again, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic but also now the young superstars: Jannik Sinner, Capser Rune, Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, and others.

And in another monthly section called the Interactive Forum, we have still more footage of one or more strokes of newer and up and coming players—again that you can view frame by frame and also download (Click Here)

I said you can't see the contact with your eyes. But in our High Speed Archives we alos have footage of what actually happens on the strings filmed by our high speed cameras at even faster frame rates—up to 10,000 frames a second. Look at these—what you think happens in those magic miliseconds may be something entirely different.

Side by Side

You can study the videos frame by frame on the site. You can download them to show to other players and/or students. You can compare them to videos of yourself and other players.

But we also have a section on Tennisplayer where have identified dozens of the best pro models for all the strokes and grip styles. You can pick a model and upload your own video of your strokes right onto the site and do side by side frame by frame that way. It's the only place in the world where all these approaches are possible. (Click Here)

Hundreds of articles on teaching players at all levels.


So what do we do with all this footage? They form the basis for literally hundreds of articles by coaches. Famous Coaches like Rick Macci, Robert Lansdorp, Nick Bollettieri and others (Click Here). Not to mention some famous players, like Pat Cash, Tim Mayotte, and John McEnroe.

And in the Classic Lesson section great working coaches from all over the world, you may or may not of heard of: Chris Lewit, Scott Murphy, Kerry Mitchell, Kyle LaCroix, Jeff Counts and Nick Wheatley, among others, working with junior players and players at all levels. (Click Here)

Not everyone (ok virtually no one) approaches the game exactly the same way. Different players respond to different approaches and different words and demonstrations. On Tennisplayer, you can find voices that speak to you.

Advanced Tennis

My sections: all the strokes all the players.

Then there is my work. In the Advanced Tennis section here is my take on all the strokes, all the issues, all the players, all the myths that are common in our sport (Click Here) Over 75 articles so far and climbing. And, ok, this is my favorite section of the site!

In Ultimate Fundamentals I boil down all this information into compact video articles on the major strokes (Click Here) In Teaching Systems this same information is expanded in detailed analysis and developmental progressions. And there are teaching systems from others, like Dave Hagler and the late, great Welby Van Horn. (Click Here)

In Tour Strokes (Click Here) both myself and other coaches analyze the strokes of elite players—their strengths and flaws. And in Your Strokes we do the same for subscribers. (Click Here) This is one of the most popular sections. And though I don't advertise it, I have people come to my teaching court from all over the world to have me do the same for them.

And, as they say on cable TV, wait there is more!

What do the numbers say about the strokes of the top players?

3D Biomechanics

Video isn't the only empirical approach to studying and teaching tennis. In the Biomechanics section (Click Here) Dr. Brian Gordon the tennis world's leading biomechanist shares his quantitative approach using advanced 3D measurement technology. What do biomechanically optimal strokes look like?

Brian puts numbers to our video, and vice versa. The biomechanics section also contains contributions from other acclaimed researchers like Bruce Eliot and Dr. Ben Kibler.

High Performance

In this section, Click Here, some of the leading junior development coaches like Rick Macci, Nick Saviano, Jay Berger and Elliot Telscher share their approaches to developing and coaching elite junior players.


You get to the ball. You position yourself at a certain width and depth. You hit the ball. But where? And how do you put winning shot combinations together? This section has incredible articles on patterns of play from Craig O'Shannesy, Brad Gilbert, Allen Fox and Craig Cignarelli. (Click Here)

Also an amazing demonstration of different shot combinations in different circumstances from friend and elite coach George Zink whose son Tyler is an elite college player and did many of the demonstrations. There is a complete guide to serve and volley from Kyle LaCroix.

And some of my own favorite articles are also here that players at lower levels can relate to about how I won matches playing in Norcal class tournaments, and also some articles about a few matches I lost and why.

There is also a great original series on doubles strategy from Bill Previdi, and a summary of the Bryan's doubles strategy from Mark Hodgkinson.

Heavy Ball

What is the heavy ball? A debated mystery! But in this groundbreaking section, Tennisplayer was the first in the world to put numbers to some of the components.

It's common now to see shot speed and spin numbers in broadcasts. But when we did these pioneering studies starting in 1996, the only thing that was really known was radar gun speeds on the serve.

Our work put the first numbers to the other shots as well: forehands, backhand in pioneering studies of Pete Sampras. Plus one thing you rarely if ever see on television, the radical decreases in speed over the course of the flight of the various shots.

At that time, nothing was known about the levels of spin in pro tennis. Our work virtually created this field, with our numbers first published by USTA Sports Science.

The Golden Moves are the gold standard.

Read how we accomplished this and what the results were before anyone had even heard of shot spot. And later we did a study comparing speed and spin in the serves of two of the greatest servers in history. What made Pete Sampras's ball heavier than Greg Rusedski's despite virtually identical initial speeds and total spin off the racket? (Click Here)


Obviously you need to move to the ball and be in position to hit all the strokes with technical precision. David Bailey has spent his life studying the footwork patterns of the top players and helping players at all levels implement them. I have known David for over 20 years and his 12 Golden Moves have become a gold standard. But we also have additional perspectives on footwork from other renowned coaches like Pat Dougherty and Michael Friedman. (Click Here)

Tour Portraits

Tennisplayer may be the world's premier place to find video of top players. But it's also the premier place for still photography. Got to be the largest repository anywhere. In Tour Portraits there are almost 100 sets of still photos of elite players and other pro players from Jim Fawcette that reveal emotions, personality, and key positions in strokes. And dozens of other portraits from other great still photographers. (Click Here)

Just one shot among thousands!

The Mental Game

How big a part is the mental game in playing and enjoying tennis? Uh, big. In our mental game section, we have the original voice, the great Jim Loehr, the man who coined the term mental toughness training. His pioneering work still stands. (Click Here)

But we have many other powerful voices. Allen Fox, Sean Brawley, and national seniors champion and psychologist, Jeff Greenwald, among others, including a series I wrote on what I learned from the Inner Game of Tennis.

A Tennisplayer footwork training drill.

Physical Training

Another important factor; physical training—for performance and injury prevention. We have the legendary voices. Paul Roetert who practically invented the term periodization training. Pat Etcheberry who put it into practice with Slam champions like Courier, Pete Sampras, and Justine Henin. Plus injury prevention with Scott Riewald and more training drills from Dr. Mark Kovacs. (Click Here)

Technology in Teaching

Another favorite section of mine is Technology in Teaching. For years I have been using ball machines and radar guns on the court. If a coach says he can add 5 or 10mph to a stroke, ask him to prove it with a radar gun. These articles show how I do that. (Click Here)

There is also an article on measuring your own spin. Everyone talks about pro spin. Some players brag they can hit pro levels. Do they? Measure yours.


And still more. We have an amazing section on the history of tennis—the game, the famous players, and the fascinating less famous. (Click Here) Plus feature writing you won't find anywhere else from the top tennis writers on the planet, Joel Drucker, Mark Winters, Matt Cronin, Barry Buss and others. (Click Here) We also have original tennis cartoons (Click Here), and inspirational aphorisms. (Click Here) Did I mention our music videos? (Click Here)

Finally our Forum. Besides fresh video, thousands of posts from players and coaches and a place where you ask me questions directly. (Click Here)

No Ads!

And if you notice no ads or popups—ever. That's a big one for me. You can't go anywhere on the internet without accidentally clicking on something you didn't want to see. I hate that--and despite an unending flow of advertising offers over the years I never accept them and won't--ever!

20 years of trying to learn everything I can about tennis and share it here. I know a successful teaching pro who says he has read every article—twice. And I believe him.

The ultimate tennis compendium. And it keeps coming with a new issue every month! Compare that with the value of the last course you bought (And that was for how much??).

John Yandell is widely acknowledged as one of the leading videographers and students of the modern game of professional tennis. His high speed filming for Advanced Tennis and Tennisplayer have provided new visual resources that have changed the way the game is studied and understood by both players and coaches. He has done personal video analysis for hundreds of high level competitive players, including Justine Henin-Hardenne, Taylor Dent and John McEnroe, among others.

In addition to his role as Editor of Tennisplayer he is the author of the critically acclaimed book Visual Tennis. The John Yandell Tennis School is located in San Francisco, California.

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