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The Connection

11/03 /19

Tennis

The connection with what you perceive is happening and what is actually happening is through neurons and energy feedback and sometimes the real facts surprise us.

Perception is through your “mind’s eye” in your head. This is your perspective so nobody is wrong within their perspective just inaccurate sometimes in how it relates to the situation at hand. When the perspective doesn’t match the outcome we tend to lose confidence in our views but that’s another story we will visit at a later time with regards to the connection.

How we see the lines

For example on the weekend we had a young country Riverview border from one of our teams play a bigger opposition from the city that hit the ball much faster, particularly on serve and was much more invested in his game. There were 4 perceptions of the match, particularly the serve and where the balls were landing.

  1. The server, a coached tennis ball hitter, that was improving fast and starting to get more match experience, wanting to get results from his improvement. Wanting to perform for his parents (mother watching for the first time), coach and his team.
  2. The returner, who had not seen serves so fast before and was having enough trouble keeping his technique and managing the match and wanted to do his best for himself, his parents that would see the results on Causleyview, the Riverview staff member and his team mates.
  3. The servers father who was explaining the game to his wife. The mother who had not seen a Tennis match before and had brought this child up and protected him from conception and could not understand how points could be taken from her son.
  4. The Riverview staff member in charge of the team, who was looking after the students, especially in this case with the absence of attending boarding parents, and trying to get the best result for her team and putting her heart and soul into her team and her sport.

Everyone had their perspective and felt invested wanting to be involved. Only two views counted though, yet inappropriate involvement could change these views inadvertently.

Now when a ball bounces there are many perspectives that can produce a different view of whether it is in or out.

Position in relation to the ball.

Winning or losing the match.

Playing or spectating,

Your player, their player.

Running or stationary.

On court or off court.

connected to the player or team in some way (like any one eyed team supporter),

above or below the court,

focused on the bounce of the ball or the outcome or enjoyment of the rally itself.

Looking along the line, behind the line, in front of the line.

Whether the outcome of the call determines the match and what seems to be deserved or not.

All give a perspective that are fine unless you are recording each thought and picture that pops up in your head or blurting them out.  That’s when there are a multitude of different views that surprise everyone. Many of which I have encountered in conversations from the sidelines as well as oncourt playing over my 40 years plus of being around Tennis. When emotional investment takes over, sometimes the filter that saves us from these sometimes embarrassing perspectives gets removed.

Let’s just look at the first variable, the position which the view was taken from.

We all saw Hawk-Eye’s electronic line calling at the Australian Open and guessed the outcome.  You suggest the way the call would go when a player asked for a review and are shocked about how far we were wrong. Also sometimes how far the linesman, chair umpire and players have been out. This system uses over 6 cameras to get the right perspective and some would say this isn’t even totally accurate but the players accept the call from such technology.

There would easily be 6 different positions to for us to view just the bounce of the ball in relation to the line. The goal being to determine whether there is a gap between the ball and the line.

Behind the ball especially at the baseline or service line. Players often cannot see the gap between ball and line so they play on when the ball is out. Or even the reverse happens as the ball may be moving through fast on a player so they lift their heads up and feel the ball has gone deep and are rushed during the shot so call it out and in their mind sees it out as that is all of the feedback that is available to the mind the inexperienced player can be certain they saw the ball.

In front of the ball can be the second best position as the gap between ball and line can be seen easily. AS the ball has passed the player in this situation the feel will lean towards it going long on a close touch of the line.

From above the shape of the ball does not allow you to see the minimal contact with the surface so close calls from directly above are also hard to accurate. Also the compression against the surface of the court is impossible for the human eye to see as in the next shot.

Here the ball is hit with great force where it is squashed into the court, remember this slow motion capture of a heavily pounded ball from a high speed camera that captures many more frames than the could ever possibly.

From side on it is best looking along the line to make a judgment. The most common use of this call is by the doubles partner on the service line while their partner is returning. With the speed of serves it is easier for them to concentrate on bounce of the balls which also acts as a cue for this player to decide whether they more into an attacking position or defensive net position depending on the bounce and position of the ball.

The side behind the ball is tougher than directly to the side looking along the line as in the directly behind the ball call is, but you can get enough reference to make relatively accurate calls as the ball bounces along the line.

Lastly the ball mark, or from below. This shows the footprint of the ball bounce and could be the most accurate but is rare on a hard court. Sometimes on a synthetic grass court with sand, but most commonly used on a clay court. See the picture below and comment on whether this is in or out on our Facebook page for clay court for your chance to win a racquet bag from the pro-shop at Riverview.

You may also want to comment on the hardcourt picture posted. https://www.facebook.com/sccoaching.tennis/

The perspective of the visiting parent in this case was trying to explain to his wife why such a beautiful serve pounded down at great speed was continually being called out. Most of the time the skid of the ball across the surface would have been out. Some of the time the ball would have been to fast for the Riverview border to see it as in. Some of the time the Staff member may have been focusing on 4 matches at a time. Many of the time the player needed the point to complete a game or vice versa for the returner.

The fact is none of the calls were intentionally wrong or even affected the final outcome of the match. The emotion from on court and off court was the biggest factor affecting the match. After the match I spoke to emotional spectators and explained the protocols of supporters at school sporting events, especially Tennis.

Support encourage but keep the buffer or filter away from personal interaction with the players. This is only done by the referee at a match.

A good rule of thumb is for supporters to keep their focus across the whole team competing on the day giving shared messages of support to all team members. This take pressure of one individual players and helps the team atmosphere we like to cultivate here at Riverview.

On the day all spectators were eventually happy understanding the importance of letting the players have their perspective and what outside influence would do to the connection players would have with themselves and their game on court.

Next week we talk about staying connected to your game as a player and the things that short circuit these connections.  

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