Sunday, 19 March 2017


When you are a kid you don't think too much when you play tennis, you simply hit 'em as best you can, rely on what ability you own at the time and what your coach tells you to do. Whether or not you employ the tactics that your coach recommends to you is your choice.
I once read a transcript from a boxing coach who admitted after the fight that his pupil actually did nothing that he suggested to him before the fight ! Interesting isn't it ? Would it be that our brains are wired a certain way and we simply cannot rewire them when someone else suggests an idea that may in fact be a better idea ?
When it comes to sport, in particularly an individual sport I firmly believe that being a coach quite possibly is like being in a raffle. Your numbers may come up and if they do, well you can shout to the roof tops that you are a genius, it's a needle in a haystack as far as odds go but you may just find the gold at the end of the rainbow if all of your cards fall into place.
Magnus Norman openly lauded the former coaches of Stan Wawrinka when his 'student' won the French Open in 2015 against Novak because he knew he was not the person who taught Stan how to hit a tennis ball, he merely offered his thoughts on what Stan should do with the ball.
Let's face it, Stan knows how to hit a tennis ball 'reasonably' well, he simply required an opinion on what he should do with it.
The thought process in tennis is not one that can easily be refined, it's something that requires hours of sifting through ideas and implementing things that may help the game to be understood a little more clearly than when you first picked up a racket.
Thoughts go through the mind of a tennis player no matter what standard they are playing, if it didn't happen then I doubt they would be human. If you haven't read Andre Agassi's book then I suggest maybe you do, it places tennis at the highest standard into perspective.
Andre's thoughts during a match were refreshingly 'human' even though we all looked at him as someone who was 'out of this world' as far as tennis ability was concerned. Every tennis player has an ability to hit a ball however only a select few really know just how to play the game and it all comes down to how we think.
If there was a person out there who could teach every tennis player in the World how to think before they hit then that person would have a bank balance that would put an Arabian Oil Sheik to shame, no risk at all.
Is the thought process in tennis a gift that only a handful of players own or something that can perhaps be taught by someone who has a degree in 'genius' ?
You can quite possibly do the routine 'Ten Thousand Hours' of practice that many 'gurus' swear by and still end up a 'dummy' or you can take those hours of practice and turn them into something that gives you an edge.
Problem with tennis is simple, you are relying on an opponent to put the ball where you want it, where you have been trained to hit it but an opponent is not your ball feeder in practice, they aren't interested in your hitting zone.
A smart opponent will always take you out of your comfort zone as soon as the warm up is done and they have worked out what you like and what you dislike.
Do I have a theory on all of this ? Yeah sure I do, work on a plan B, C and D because the chances of your plan A working every time you step onto a tennis court is probably going to be as successful as your Lotto numbers coming up on a weekly basis.......
Silly game tennis........

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