Secrets of a True Master:
Introduction to My System

Welby Van Horn

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World class players deviate from the beginning fundamentals on almost every ball.

At the advanced level, tennis has changed dramatically in the last 20-25 years. Semi-Western and Western forehands and two-handed backhands have become the norm. Players are also using much more body in their strokes.

On the forehand, tour players will sometimes rotate the shoulders up to 180 degrees on the forward swing. When they do this, the hitting shoulder will point to the net at the completion of the swing. The players are also "loading and exploding" as they first bend their knees and then push off the ground on the forward swing to generate additional force.

On practically every point world class players deviate from the fundamentals taught the beginner. A top player might jump off the ground to get a high ball into a better strike zone on a groundstroke. He might use an open stance to more quickly recover for the next shot (as opposed to the early-on fundamental of a "square" stance that I teach the beginner when learning the groundstrokes).

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The legendary Welby Van Horn is one of the few top players in tennis history who also went on to become a great coach. In 1939, Van Horn became the youngest player ever to reach the finals of a Grand Slam at Forrest Hills, at the age of 19. Turning pro, he competed successfully against the likes of Jack Kramer, Pancho Gonzalez, Don Budge, and Bobby Riggs. In 1951, he moved to Puerto Rico for his health and began an amazing career in which he developed over 100 nationally ranked American junior players, including Charlie Pasarell who became the top American player. Now 82, Welby lives in the Palm Springs area, where he is Tennis Pro Emeritus at Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

Over the years, Welby's students were easily recognized by the fluid classical style and all court play that were hallmark's of his teaching. He is shown here with Katarina and Marina Raiscevic, two successful Southern California junior players he developed who prove that his distinctive style is alive and well in the new millennium.