March 13, 2023 - Study the Player, Not the Ball
I've always wanted to implant a camera in the eyes of up-and-coming players to record what they see when they watch top players play. They should see all sorts of great technique and tactics, right? But I'm afraid what I'd actually see is this. Yes, all they're really watching is the ball going back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. You don't learn much from that, do you?
Instead, to learn from top players when you watch them, focus on the player and what he's doing. See how he prepares for each shot (positioning and ready stance), how he executes the shot (backswing, forward swing, contact, follow through), and how he repositions himself for the next shot. THIS is how you learn, not from watching a small sphere shoot back and forth!
And now we're going to do a little exercise. Go to this Selective Attention Test (81 sec), and follow instructions. Notice how easy it is to see what you are looking for, while completely missing other things? Make sure when you watch a top player to focus on each aspect of what he does, and try to get a complete picture. Otherwise you might miss the obvious dancing gorilla of his technique!