I saw in a discussion that there was a question whether instinct can be taught.

I would define instinct as the computation of the real being within the person, the soul, the spirit.

This instinct has been influenced by billions of year of evolution, and it affects the general survival efforts of the person, family, groups, humanity as a whole, living things, the physical universe, the spiritual world, and infinity or God. *

The desire of a person to excel on any action, including tennis, is based on that. So the tennis teacher is bringing awareness in this area to the student, who adds good information to his instinctual repertoire. The trouble would come if the student (and teacher) is mislead by wrong, false data. Then the student gets derailed, and instead of causing good effects to his liking, he usually fails. So not only instinct can be taught (improved, make more precise) but can also be modified.

The problem lays on so many complications that seem to be the tendency in human nature: too much data, too many misconceptions, too many unnatural and added moves.

Kids learn to walk best on their own. They don’t need to be taught. And those who are being taught how to walk and “tennis footwork” usually don’t become the best athletes. Especially in tennis, why? Because they think of their feet, when the hand is the major cause of angles, speeds, feel, and the like, and the feet move instinctively as they discovered as a one, two or three year old.

As a teacher, I would become first an observer. See what the student likes. Few directions, show him how some top pros play and see if he likes it, and accept the student’s likes and likes-not. Everyone has a different reality, sometimes slight differences, sometimes huge. Like them how they are, make them right, gently, avoid labeling the student “wrong”!

Oscar Wegner    www.tennisteacher.com

* Based on the Eight Dynamics in life, discovered by L. Ron Hubbard. Also: Freedom Magazine 

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