Originally Posted by Ash_Smith
^^^Appreciate that TCF, what I am interested in is how "scaleable" his "system" is - in other words how applicable is it at higher levels and what needs to change or have a different approach accordingly. Plus, Oscar still seems to take a more "holistic" approach than others, hence my comparison to Jez and his style of approach. The talk is often around his work for beginners ("Tennis in 2 Hours" etc), but I am interested in the work he does with, as you say, top juniors and pro's.
That's why I would be interested to hear Oscars thoughts on my points above.
Ash, your points are very well taken. They are true, and the only challenge is how do you teach them? I have been working, since I started coaching in 1968, to teach as little as possible and obtain maximum results. You can say I rely on instinct for the player, at any level (including with Borg in 1992, helping him recuperate his game), to discover which is the most effective pattern, and I just guide them so they realize this discovery. Why? Because there are, in the main, two realms that sometimes conflict with each other: instinct and thought. You could call instinct pure thought, of which we are aware of by feel, and regular thought, the processing of mental image pictures and conclusions thereof.
in the main, instinct has billions of computations per second of which we are unaware of, while mental image pictures computation of which we are aware of is much slower. Human beings tend to get partially stuck in mental image pictures, while the few that escape that trap, in tennis, for example, achieve a different plateau.
I have worked on bypassing mental image pictures of positions, or of operating, as much as possible, and observe the results of the learning experience in the student to understand what is his viewpoint and feel. Or you could say that I assume the viewpoint of the student as if I was in his point of view. From there, and this is what is interesting, without thinking in mental image pictures the solution to any outstanding problem in fluidity or efficiency or comfort or feel appears to me and that is what I transmit to the student, usually as a suggestion to try something to see if it works. Since this way of instructing is non-intrusive, the student feels free to chose for himself what works best. I tend to induce changes by drills in which I exaggerate a situation, so a middle ground is easily achieved.
It's kind of difficult to transmit this type teaching philosophy in words, or books, so I rely on video or personal coaching and always resorted to insist on playing like the pros and explained what the pros do. Of course each pro plays differently from each other, but there are principles or you could call it commonalities that tend to lead to a remarkable success. There is where my experience as a player on the tour in the 1960s and the problems to excel within it, and my 45 years of coaching have permitted to ascertain what is important and what is not. On groundstrokes, for example, tracking is a dynamic computation and the only static mental image picture I teach is the finish of the stroke. That permits the rest to be fluid, and perhaps copying your favorite pro gives you a guide as what you are doing with the ball.
That is why I teach footwork with drills, and I just explain to the student, as a guide, what the top pros do. Which leads to our present conflict, in this and other threads, as many think the pros do one thing, and others other things. In written form this is a challenge. And I think (I perceive) you explained your viewpoint very accurately and very easily, where I can assume your viewpoint.