How Timing Really Works - Mind Like Water
Doug King has described a high level tennis stroke as being like "a wave", with its own gradual and swelling force. Slow at first, gradually speeding up, and
always contained. I think this is a beautiful (and spot on) analogy. I was reminded of Doug's analogy as I was reading a fascinating book on time management by David Allen ("Getting Things Done") where he quotes
world class rower Craig Lambert's book "Mind Over Water". I want to provide the quote, and ask you to reflect on how Lambert's description (along with Doug's wave analogy) relates to the images on the right. Think, as well, how
strongly Lambert's description of rowing differs from the forced, manufactured "fast swings" we see coaches trying to teach their students:
"Rowers have a word for this frictionless state: swing...Recall the pure joy of riding on a backyard swing: an easy cycle of motion, the momentum coming for the
swing itself. This swing carries us, we do not force it. We pump our legs to drive our arc higher, but gravity does most of the work. The shell wants to move fast: Speed sings in its lines and nature. Our job is simply to work with the shell, to stop holding
it back with our thrashing struggles to go faster. Trying too hard sabatoges boat speed. Trying becomes striving and striving undoes itself."
Mind Over Water
As I read Craig Lamberts description of a frictionless, gravity aided row, I can't help but think he is describing a tennis stroke.
Do you see in the Arazi clips how gravity does most of the work? Can you see how the racket and arm are "carrying Arazi" as opposed to
Arazi forcing the racket and arm backwards? Take a look at the bowling clip on the top right. Do you see on the downswing how the ball
is "carrying the bowler" and not the other way around? In both cases, gravity is pulling the ball/racket and arm downward without any
work on the part of the player.
It takes a lot of restraint and trust to move slowly and naturally the way a top rower, or a top tennis
player, or a top bowler moves. We want to force the issue. We want to "take the racket back right away" as all the tennis instructors say.
We want to "swing the racket" or "swing the bowling ball" through our own efforts and power. But just as
"trying too hard sabatoges boat speed", it also sabotages racket head speed or bowling ball speed.
As relaxed, and natural, and effotless as Arazi's takeback is, notice as well how he establishes and maintains that beautiful double
bend hitting structure. It's this combination of relaxation and effortlessness (by tapping into gravity and not forcing the racket), with the underlying hitting structure that leads to