In 1994, I had a huge row with my neighbour, because he was refusing to throw back all the balls that endlessly went into his garden from my incessant practising against an extension wall (or letting me retrieve them). That same night, I hurled the contents of several cans of spaghetti into his garden as revenge. In 2021, having read up on all the latest that scientists understand about the teenage brain, my behaviour that day was completely understandable! I never heard anything from it, at the time I thought that he must have got the message. Now I realise I probably just gave the foxes a great meal!
1994 was also the year that I got my first experience in coaching, working holidays and weekends at a local junior club in Cobham.
In 2021, I'm fortunate to be in a position where I often have to turn away business, but I'm always ready for when that next exciting challenge presents itself. I've relied on word of mouth, official results of my players and teams, and also my strong online presence, including 50+ coaching videos on YouTube (2000+ subscribers, and 450000+ views), and writer for Tennisplayer.net, a world leading coaching resource.
I'm not scared to speak my mind, as many of my YouTube videos are testament to! I'm also not scared to lose clients in the sense that if I feel I can't do my best for a player for whatever reason, then I will speak up to try and change this, rather than stay quiet to keep the status quo.
I'm a highly driven human being, with an obsession to excel, whatever it is I might be putting my mind too. That obsession with tennis coaching only fully ignited back in 2007, but has been burning brightly ever since. It's rare for a day to go by where I don't do something to further my tennis coaching knowledge. I go the extra mile to find the most effective teaching methods, and to look after the individual needs of my students. I also regularly give my free time to support our teams both at home and away. I'm young at heart, and forever looking for opportunities to have fun, raise a smile in others, and will happily act the clown when the circumstances are right (such as my recent lockdown fun video!). If you don't believe these characteristics can fit in with being an exceptional tennis coach at the same time, then probably better not to ask me to coach your kid!
I graduated in 2000, and that same year started a tipster business. In 2001 I also took a part-time coaching job at Hawker. I was a workaholic, striving to be awesome at both. The tipster business peaked in 2003, when I was rated best tennis tipster service in the World, and my reputation was so fearsome that bookmakers cut their odds within minutes of my tips being published! In 2005, I was head-hunted by Australia's leading sports analysis website OZmium, to head up their tennis section. The secret of my edge was down to lots of hard work categorising all the players individual game styles, and studying how they matched up against other styles. This has obviously been very useful for my coaching development too. Work was fun, but also stressful, and the market and opportunities were becoming ever more saturated. My passion for coaching was growing, and I decided that in 2008 I would transition towards doing the coaching full-time.
In 2007, I stepped things up at Hawker, and we soon had our first tennis squad and first Matchplay event. In late 2008, we entered our first team competition, and in 2010 we made our debut in 'Team Tennis'. In 2021, our results over the years have undoubtedly made us one of the most successful junior clubs in Surrey.
The success of my YouTube venture in 2015 lead to me writing an article series on my own 1-2 Ryhthm concept for TennisPlayer, a world leading tennis coaching resource site. It also lead to me doing video analysis for then Top 10 Brit Marcus Willis, and then in 2020 my second series on Marginal Gains was published on Tennisplayer.
Over the years, I've worked hard on being positive and happy. In 2021, I can say this work has certainly paid off! I'm an insanely positive person, and it's loads of fun being that way! In the past, I couldn't understand people like that, even finding them annoying! If you can relate to that, I'd urge you to join me on this side, life is happier! If you're overly pessimistic in life, we won't work well together.
Over the years, I've also grown to strongly believe it's a huge privilege to work with young tennis players. I cherish every day I have the opportunity to do it, and love helping them fulfil their potential and goals, whatever they may be. Tennis skills often translate into life skills, so aiding the development of kind and happy little humans goes hand in hand with developing successful tennis players.
I have never had any desire to work anywhere other than Hawker. I'm highly creative and independent, so a small venue like Hawker has been perfect for me to build something special. My views on UK tennis academies are strong, and 'Video 56' will open your eyes to the reality, find it on this page!
My Top 3 life lessons from the pandemic of 2020/21 are as follows:
No.3 - Don't wait for things to get better! It's not that they won't get better, it's that waiting is such a waste, when we can often make great things happen with the present situation. Find ways to make every day great!
No.2 - Always think positive! Thinking negatively is a form of insanity isn't it? Why would we do it? How can it help in any way? Easier said than done I know, but a whole shift to a positive frame of mind can only be a good thing for health and wellbeing.
No.1 - Problems don't exist! Only situations exist, and it's easier to deal with a situation. Problems evoke negative emotions like worry, anger, frustration. Who needs that? Situations don't need to cause stress, they just need calm action to deal with them.
Finally, I love hearing from people and interacting. Therefore, do always feel free to get in touch with me about anything at all!
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Over a twenty year career, John has been a leading force in the creation of new teaching and educational resources in tennis. His high speed filming projects for Tennisplayer have created the resources that take our understanding of the game to a new level. John has done personal video analysis for hundreds of high level competitive players, including Justine Henin-Hardenne, Taylor Dent, Gabriela Sabatini, and John McEnroe, among others. The John Yandell Tennis School is located in San Francisco, California.
Posted in TennisPlayer's Forum - reaction to Nick's Double-handed Backhand 1-2 Rhythm article:
Well I have to say this is an excellent article. I am a big advocate of much of this kind of teaching in my own work.
Like Nick I see many juniors with a holding position way too early, sometimes holding near to the very start of the backswing. I feel it's critical to address this type of thing as soon as we spot it. It's a basic.
I found Nick's article really great....made me quite proud to be British.
Posted on TennisPlayer to introduce Nick's Serve 1-2 Rhythm article:
This is one of the most important and valuable serve articles we have published (in 12 years), because it solves a basic mystery. What is the relationship between the backswing, the legs, and the explosion into the ball? Nick Wheatley has developed his rhythm concept and how it applies to all versions of the groundstrokes. But this article may be the best in the series. Multitudes of players and coaches obsess on the trophy position - and it is important. But what about the timing of reaching the trophy position in relationship to the true racket acceleration in the motion? What do players with very different trophy positions and/or different trophy position timing all have in common that allows them to explode rhythmically into the ball? You can have it just like they do.
Hi Nick, I am so fortunate to have found your videos and website. They have been very beneficial to my ever evolving game. I am 60 years old, but learning so much from you as if I were one of the kids in your program. If you were one of my teachers in school I would have scored A+ in life! Better late than never. Can't thank you enough. All the best.
Posted in TennisPlayer's Forum - reaction to Nick's Double-handed Backhand 1-2 Rhythm article:
Another great article by Nick.
I have used the 1-2 rhythm technique on the forehand expressed in last month's thread on his article. Admittedly, I have never used it on the backhand. Until now. Great article.
I first met this guy a couple of years ago when my son competed in one of his orange ball tournaments near London. He struck me then (in our very brief interaction) as not only a great coach, but a fantastic one! There is a lot of dross out there when it comes to tournament organisers and coaches. If only more were like this guy - just think of the quality of players we would have in the tennis world.
Hi. I found your youtube channel yesterday and I think I watched most of the video in two days! I just wanted to tell you that I think you are fantastic. I love the way you organize your ideas and thoughts on tennis and I love your ideas and thoughts themselves. I just wish I found your channel in 2015 when my daughter was 7 years old. Unfortunately I didn't know better and I did not find a right coach for her. But she still loves tennis. That's something. And I think I may have found someone who can give her enough attention to help her improve. (And why aren't there more female coaches in local clubs!?!?) Anyway, I hope you will make more videos so my daughter and I can learn from you on the other side of the world! (We live in New Zealand). Thanks for sharing your knowledge and keeping it lighthearted. Looking forward to seeing more!