Science based or arbitrariness

There is a very exciting discussion in the Facebook Group Tennis.Haus about the review on studies about the game-based approach (GBA). This ranges from full approval to the GBA to the defense of the technology-oriented approach. Striking are in the debate but the nuances. After that, that’s just good for the athletes, what works. Even if scientific knowledge is completely neglected.

I am very divided. It certainly seems presumptuous to question the training practice of successful coaches. On the other hand, I am aware that numerous factors are responsible for the athlets success. Methods and didactics of tennis training are only one component among many. But would’nt it be more responsible to the players, if such successful coaches would coach to their obvious strengths even more evidence-based? The following is my answer on the discussion on Tennis.Haus.

„The thing is that you can become a very good tennis player if your coaches are strictly orientated towards an ideal technique and continuous technique corrections are elementary components of their training. Just like one of the most creative players of his time, Björn Borg said:

„I’ve become a good tennis player despite my many coaches.“ And who wants to disagree with Germany’s well-known football coach Peter Hyballa, who has said that he has taken the best for himself from each method for his training. At first glance, the successful athlete is an indication of good coaches. But what should we do with all the scientific research that tells us otherwise? How do we explain to our athletes that numerous studies show that implicit and differential learning is more effective and sustainable. That the game-based approach and learning with metaphors have clear advantages over explicit technology mediation.

A look at this tricky situation provides a look at the current curricula of the German Tennis Federation. There you will find the following brain-splitting formulation: „While school sports and colleges are dominated by the more game-oriented and action-oriented reform concepts, the methodological practice of the (tennis-) associations continues to establish a focus on technology.“ the view on the courts and on many discussions in the internet shows this brainsplit as well. Should we ignore this? Or should the education and training of tennis coaches not be based on the following prescriptions from medical research: „Just because people accept something that works, it does not have to be true. Otherwise, we would no longer need scientific studies, but we could simply vote on the effectiveness of medical treatment.““

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