Certified tennis professional Steven White’s book Bring Your Racquet: Tennis Basics for Kids is a great contribution to the larger endeavor of making tennis more accessible for young people. This is a cause that is close to my heart because I feel many kids show interest in tennis and hack around a bit without receiving proper instruction. These young people tend to give up on the sport. White’s book along with efforts such as 10 and Under Tennis can hopefully be part of a large scale attempt to encourage life-long participation in tennis.
The Format of this Book if Beautiful and Simple
White does a great job of explaining each concept in no more than two pages. This keeps a beginning player from becoming bogged down in details or suffering from paralysis by analysis. White’s book has the unique feature of including Manga illustrations that will draw the attention of younger readers. The illustrations are excellent and informative. Illustrations range from demonstrating various grips tennis players use to exhibiting the proper form for a reliable serve to promoting self-confidence in new players. These excellent illustrations alone make this affordable book one to add to your tennis library.
Beyond the illustrations, this book is formatted in such a way as to walk a player through all of the necessary skills required to get off to a promising start as a tennis player. The language of the text is clear and informative. White begins by looking at grips and footwork and progresses through strokes. Finally, he concludes by looking at the mental side of tennis. This progression will be most helpful to a new player. Intermediate and experienced players can easily refer to sections that pertain to an area where their game may be struggling. I love that White emphasizes good practice habits and self-confidence in his book. As a parent, it is easy to see how these skills learned on a tennis court will also translate into other areas of life. White’s organization and attentive use of language will help his readers acquire a desire to improve as a tennis player as well as the belief that this improvement is likely with good habits and practice (practice, practice).
The Content of this Book is Clear and Sound
White is not only a certified teaching professional but also was a player on the satellite tour. He clearly knows his subject matter. I have never played tennis at White’s level, but my day job is that of an educator and I can tell that White’s expertise is filtered through the heart of a teacher. Each section expresses pragmatic tennis wisdom as well as a passion for tennis itself. I found White’s section on mental fortitude and self-confidence to be personally beneficial. This book can be of help to not just young tennis players but to all players who need distilled tennis wisdom.
Two aspects of the content of this book stood out to me. First, White does an excellent job of explaining the pluses and minuses of hitting a two-handed backhand. His insistence that players with two-handed backhands also learn a one-handed slice backhand for situations calling for greater reach and improvisation is just darn good advice. White breaking down how a player can develop a reliable serve as well as how to be a fluent returner is also exceptionally important. Serving, returning, having versatility and self-confidence are all utterly important in developing as a tennis player.
Bring Your Racquet: Tennis Basics for Kids expresses tennis fundamentals with accuracy and precision. The illustrations are helpful and engaging. Finally, Steven White’s love of tennis and patience as a teacher both shine through to readers. For all of these reasons, I highly recommend Bring Your Racquet: Tennis Basics for Kids. I just wish I had read it when I was first learning tennis.