Saturday, June 1, 2013

Oh, My Bad. Your Point. Sorry, I Wasn't Paying Attention

The following was a comment to Off-Court Technology = On-Court Distraction by Dr. John DenBoer of Mental Edge Tennis.

John, this article brings to mind so much I have experienced and observed having become involved in electronic technologies in my 20’s, particularly what I have seen take place in personal wireless communications as I was involved with this from its somewhat public beginnings in the early 90’s as a technician and salesperson. I am still involved with many technologies in many different ways today.

Volumes could be written (and have) about computer and communication technologies’ distracting (perhaps ill) effects on society (not ignoring the positive impact), particularly on our youngest generation whom I believe are moving directly from pacifier to smartphone.

I wish to address the statement: A tennis match is not mentally stimulating enough anymore…

…Understandably so considering most teens (some adults as well) are getting quick fixes - videos, pictures, games, text, etc. - the more visual the presentation, the more impacting, the more absurd or odd the text, the more attention-getting.  But, these aren’t movies or stories, not even short stories or conclusive bits of information, just splatters of paint thrown against the wall and electronic ink sprayed on a virtual post-it note.

Not only are attention spans getting leaner, the desire to go beyond and search for true content is fading. Many are becoming skimmers, simply taking in whatever reflects light and not looking beneath the surface to see what may be refracting the light.

If one is or allows oneself to be inundated with so much (so-called) information, then it is understandable for one’s desire to embrace a subject, topic or idea to wane. Focus is reduced, a deficit of true information is created and the number of discerning eyes and minds are dwindling. Only now the exposure to such is so much more prolific. Many of the recipients are too busy not truly being busy to bother evaluating what they just saw or read – gotta move on to the next piece of whatever.

There is so much taking place on both sides of the court during any tennis match, but if the brain has been trained to only receive the obvious and not seek out and uncover the finer points, perhaps cause and effect, then perhaps a player is relegated to the fact that he or she has an opponent and somehow there is a tennis ball involved – sheer boredom.

I imagine, if this trend continues with enough players, we will continue to see an increasing number of boring baseline battles on the pro courts. I doubt it. Those players want make it so far.  They will be weeded out by the ones who continually study the game, their game and that of their opponent's and make tennis exciting to watch and play.

Personally, I would prefer discovering ways to force my opponent into multitasking.

As Pete Toad use to say occasionally while giving lessons, “You can pay attention now or get schooled during your match.”

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