Smoke and Mirrors definition; Something that seems good but is not real or effective......
I am guilty of looking back a lot, but I am sure I am not alone in that respect when it comes to sport. In life we look forward, in sport we often look back, typical of the way we think. Often we look towards things that will make our lives better in our old age yet in sport we look back and wonder about missed opportunities.
In a sport such as tennis there really is no place for delusions of grandeur yet it is becoming more and more common as the sport evolves into something that would not have been on the radar in the 70's when guys like Borg, McEnroe, Connors and Lendl were ruling the courts.
Tennis now days and in particular coaching is a circus of hype, bright clothes, fancy names and big, big dollars but it is also a fact that only the top 50 players in the World really make any money out of it. So when you look at the coaching side of the game the smoke and mirrors routine really has to come into play because what the consumer is really seeking is a miracle. Tough sport tennis.
When I say 'the consumer' I refer to the kids in particular who all seem to be able to hit a tennis ball reasonably well but the problem with this is quite simple, so can millions of others. In a nutshell you may have more chance of six numbers coming out in Lotto than your child becoming the next big thing in tennis, sorry but fact of life in the sport of tennis.
The odds are not stacked in your favour. I will however offer some thoughts ( As I do regularly on this site ).
Delusions of grandeur is a false impression of one's own importance and the problem with a sport such as tennis is that it is 'taught' by many with this affliction and it leads to rather self important price tags on lessons that really offer no more than a status symbol to the consumer.
If someone starts from scratch in tennis and really wants to learn the game then they will bypass the young 'Professors' of the sport and they will go straight to the top ( this is a necessity to learn tennis.)
Forget the 'gurus' who were once 'ranked 6 in the State for their age'. Find someone who knows the game. The sport is full of 'once ranked 6' gurus. Most times these guys or girls know nothing but they look good with bright shoes and clothes plus own a fancy racket. Usually their ability to dress brightly far outweighs their ability to explain tennis which requires the knowledge to be able to break down a shot in stages.
I don't often look on you tube in regards to tennis technique because I always believed that what I have taught has substance but just recently I thought why not ? Let's look at 'today's' techniques', glad I did.
I have always thought that the way of teaching a two handed backhand at times lacks common sense and many times it is taught by 'coaches' who only own the ability to hit a one handed backhand yet I finally saw something that made sense.
The two hander is a shot that requires a breakdown of movements, it is an impossibility to teach it in one motion yet I have seen 'coaches' do this. They try to emulate a two handed backhand complete with 'and over the shoulder we go' type of demonstration that has as much substance to it as Mickey Mouse grabbing a bite to eat at Pluto's Burger Spot.
Every tennis shot has a breakdown to it as it is not possible to simply teach a kid to hit a ball with a fluent motion without stages. So to the good old 'You Tube'. Love it.
The thing about You Tube is that in a sport such as tennis no imposters get on it, no wannabees, no 'coaches' who suffer from the 'delusions of grandeur' affliction and no 'coaches' who own a common complaint known as the 'Smoke and Mirrors' routine.
You see the You Tube tennis instruction is for real coaches who actually know how to teach tennis, it weeds out the attention seekers from the rest.
The thing that impressed me most about the right handed, two handed backhand instruction video was that it taught a left handed forehand before it taught the two handed backhand. For those of you who know anything about tennis this will make the most sense out of any other two handed backhand instruction details you have seen in the past. Yet with some gurus this type of thing is overlooked, funny that.
My Mum and Dad recently had a golf lesson each in the City. Out of curiosity I asked what any coach of a one on one racket or stick sport would ask 'How did the grip and footwork advice go' ? Funny answer, 'He didn't look at that'. !!!
So someone pays for a golf lesson and receives no information on how to actually hold the golf stick or where to place the feet before impact, interesting aint it ? The Golf 'coach' was obviously only interested in the shot, problem was this, the shot required a breakdown of many things including how to actually hold the golf stick. ( I wonder how many people have spent money 'learning' from this 'guru' ? !)
People leave legacies' in many sports, many walks of life and many everyday things that perhaps go unappreciated until those people aren't around anymore as my old tennis coach 'Holmsey' did on an everyday basis on court until it almost became a source of banter between pupils.
'Holmsey knows that type of play requires a million bucks, none of us own that, let's play it smart instead'. (We miss Holmsey.)
You know, just smart type of tennis analogies, ways of explaining the game with meaning and substance.
We all would have seen through him if he tried to do it any other way, we weren't stupid yet I question today's pupils and parents who witness things that years ago would have been laughed off as gimmicks.
Yet that's the game now days, 'taught' by 'magicians' who come up with all sorts of things that lack any type of substance and in many cases are not even part of a tennis match, it simply sounds good.
On many occasions it's simply a page in the book of one's own self importance that lacks the vital ingredient to improve a student of tennis....
Over and out.