The cultural lag in the implementation of scientific knowledge in sports game teaching in particular in tennis
In the past few years a lot has happened in the methodology and didactics of tennis coaching. The „methodical traditionalism“, oriented exclusively to the teaching of a textbook technique has been pushed back and the setting of many coaches has changed as a result of „play and stay“ and playful learning. Following and respecting the learning age and the state of development of the player, using customized materials (different balls, rackets, playing fields and competition forms) and mainly letting the learners play.
Nevertheless there we can observe certain phenomena, which I would describe as „appendix“ from the textbook-oriented coaching of tennis and of methodical traditionalism.
- Many coaches continue to overestimate technical corrections. No training session without adjustments to the skills. Even studies, that show that more than one information in such a time frame is not retained, are ignored or not known.
- Players expect the coach, that he tells them what they „do wrong“ and „how to do it correctly“, even if scientific studies on motor learning show the downsides of this type of sports game coaching.
- Players lined up, standing in a row in a coaching situation, still has in coaching a large room. Coaches argue, that in this form of organization technique corrections are easier to carry and control. But calculations show that in the line-up-coaching only a third of the balls is played like in a playful and action-approach.
- The action- and goal-approach in a playful setting is perceived as „ineffective „.
Whence comes this „cultural lag „, this delay to deny the implementation of scientific knowledge in the teaching of sports game?
- Action- and game-based learning is often rated as „ineffective“, because „playing games“ is seen as a waste of time. Playful learning has still a low priority in our culture.
- Success comes not directly, but while sleeping. The neurological processing of new situations and experiences leads to adaptation and change processes. This is done just in the sleep. This requires patience with coaches and players 😉 .
- There are no guarantees!
- Coaches, especially working with action- and game-based-approach, don*t need the „status of being an expert“. Learning outcomes and developments take place in the dialogue with the learner. They arrange changing conditions in the coaching frames together.
- The new ways of motor learning goal is to expand the scope in the technology development and promote (tactical and motor) creativity of players. This is a constantly extended process, which is taking place in jumps and is non-linear (non-linear pedagogy)
- Players and coaches think that the coach is the „expert“. He alone knows how it works. The absence of this status is difficult to endure for many (full-time) coaches.
- The confidence in the self-organizational capacity of the learner and the change and adaptability of biological systems such as the human body is low.
- Technical corrections can be followed by short-term positive changes, which are however not sustainable and durable, because they are depending on the presence of the coach and work, on the other hand, usually only in the special training situation. Often, such technique corrections are (unconscious or conscious) accompanied on a customized training situation.
- Terms as „action approach“, systemic thinking and implicit learning are unknown as terms from sports science. Many Coaches use implicit coaching, but don’t know! They focus on what they know from their own learning biography.
1 Play and stay. www.tennisplayandstay.com
2 Jia Yi Chow, Keith Davids, Chris Buttons, Ian Renshaw: Nonlinear Pedagogy in Skill Acquisition, 2015