Originally Posted by sureshs
Here is something I heard from a surfing coach last week about his philosophy of teaching:
Foundation + Flexibility
Teach the sound fundamentals of surfing (or else you could be limited to 1 minute of Stand Up Paddling before toppling over, like me) and give the flexibility to each student to evolve his own style.
I can imagine a tennis coach adopting this as a mission statement and trademarking "F&F Coaching."
Interestingly, the Surfing Channel program I was watching was showing a pro surf event on the Oahu North Shore, and two ex-surfers who were commentating ended up arguing whether a certain surfer was showing off his own style, or was it just the regular orthodox teaching that he was following!
Not that I want to get involved in this discussion per se, this is my--and has been my--contention for decades. (And what led to my writing Tennis Mastery and my idea of an "Advanced Foundation"...
You can teach 1000 player exactly the same methodology and no two players will play exactly the same after a period of time.
The main issue I have with ANY philosophy is the idea of foundation. If the foundation is indeed flawed for 1000 players, they will still all play different, but most all will also fall far short of reaching their true "playing potential."
Playing potential is defined by the athleticism, desire, opportunity, and "education" that a player is offered or is blessed with. Education is this idea of foundation. I've seen thousands of players who had the other three elements but either were self taught poorly or were given a poor foundation by ignorant or ineffective pros or coaches. Thus, these otherwise potentially great players hacked, dinked, pushed, or otherwise used minimal technique which was all they knew.
I have found that nearly 100% of my players which I offer my own form of MTM or whatever iconic name you want to give it, (I call mine an "advanced foundation"), that prescribes the elements of ALL top-level strokes with the understanding that all players will indeed EVOLVE this foundation, reach extremely high levels of skilled play. With an advanced foundation, this evolotionary component is almost always complementary to the foundation because it is self-or naturally--curing. However, the foundation
elements are in many cases not a natural occuring aspect. For example,continental grips on serves and
volleys, topspin strokes, and some footwork patterns don't initially feel comfortable or competent for many.
However, these are the very elements that make up an advanced foundation for any player and must be MADE to feel comfortable and competent through training.
Some pros avoid that which is uncomfortable in fear of losing the player. But this is the worst thing that a pro can do because once a player begins to play tennis using any particular pattern, they will not want to change because now it not only feels uncomfortable, but now they feel like they will LOSE with this new technique. Thus, they revert back over and over and over.
John and Oscar both have concepts I'm fully in favor of...ideas that I've used in my own teaching to help convey my "advanced foundation". THAT is the value of both pros to me. Hopefully, both of them--and many others--have used some of my own ideas within their teaching to convey their own methods or idea. While I know John doesn't necessarily agree with all my own points of view, I think he agrees that I know what I'm talking about. Oscar too. I believe both pros know what they are talking about...however, each interpret both approaches--and subsequent ideologies--with a level of subjective--and in many cases, objective--overviews.
I personally try to avoid argumentative injunctions here, in favor of trying to gain from--or convey to--any readers here a positive or contributing comment or idea and not try to attack someone for thier position.
Believe me, I've not agreed with everyone here in some cases. But, I want to keep an open mind more, and try to gain from each person rather than simply disagree.
That said, I understand why people disagree with each other here...very easy to do. And, certainly, within such a forum, it is easy to attack or be attacked. One thing at the very least, everyone should recognize, is that John, Oscar, and myself included, we use our real names here, knowing that others can indeed attack us in the cloak of a fake user name.
Some may attack me for these sentiments. However, I hope that instead, people who may disagree with me will objectively offer ideas that support such disagreement...something that I can gain from and others too, who read these posts.
Happy New Year to all!