Since SPORTS ILLUSTRATED readers are avid participants as well as watchers of games, we have often called upon experts to help us reveal the tricks of their trades—Ben Hogan and Arnold Palmer among others on golf, Bill Talbert and Don Budge on tennis, Jean-Claude Killy on skiing, Charles Goren on bridge, Don Carter on bowling. We have even published lessons on the Japanese art of fish printing, on cribbage and on educating the family dog. Starting with Paul Richards' first treatise on baseball strategy in May of 1955, and not counting bridge and golf tips columns, SI has presented 145 "instructionals," 35 on golf alone.
This is an article from the April 28, 1969 issue
No. 146 in this issue (page 44) is on tennis, the unique idea of Welby Van Horn, who lives in Puerto Rico, on how to teach his favorite game to beginners. With the aid of Frank Deford and Artist Frank Mullins, Van Horn goes into what he considers the four major elements: balance, grip, stroke and strategy. Because he helped develop former National Indoor Champion Charles Pasarell and is highly respected by his fellow pros, Van Horn's advice is worth heeding, even by those who consider themselves beyond the novice class.
Now that the courts near his new home in Connecticut have thawed out, Deford intends to try out some Van Horn theories himself, and it will not be surprising if his game shows marked improvement. This happened to other staffers after they worked on instructional stories. Gwilym Brown helped Billy Casper put together a putting lesson and then started practicing the Casper method. On his next round he sank two 40-footers, three 20-footers and had 11 one-putt greens. He has not done that well since.
Mark Mulvoy, who helps Jack Nicklaus with his SI golf tips and who did instructionals with Gay Brewer and Julius Boros, has shaved four or five strokes off each round by listening to their advice. Nicklaus converted him from hooking his drives to fading them, and Boros persuaded him to change his grip for more accuracy. One of the bonuses of working with Nicklaus is the travel in Jack's private jet to places like Islamorada in the Florida Keys and Lake Geneva, Wis.
Mulvoy is currently working on an ice hockey instructional in book form, to be part of Lippincott's SPORTS ILLUSTRATED Library, which already has 21 volumes on everything from horseback riding to squash. Tex Maule has books on pro football offense and defense coming up for the same series.
One SI instructional set off an intrasport controversy. In 1963 Deford started working on ways to avoid fouling in basketball, but the editors decided it would be more interesting to demonstrate the tricky methods some pros use to draw fouls and called upon the master, Frank Ramsey of the Boston Celtics, to show us. Deford, an ex-Baltimore schoolboy basketball star, went to Madisonville, Ky. and posed with Ramsey on the latter's backyard court, playing the suckered opponent for Robert Handville's drawings.
Ramsey had one season left with the Celtics and NBA Commissioner Walter Kennedy hit the roof when he saw Ramsey and Deford revealing pro gamesmanship. He called in the Celtic guard for a chewing out and officially censured him. And nearly every time Ramsey was fouled that season fans would scream, "Fake!"
Welby Van Horn may be censured by some rival pros whose teaching techniques he scorns, but we expect this week's layout to produce a good deal of improvement in beginners' tennis.