Hello I'm Brent
Zeller, founder and developer of Effortless Tennis.
Effortless Tennis is a completely different approach to
tennis instruction, learning, and life. The difference is in
the underlying philosophy. Conventional tennis is based on a
competitive model of behavior, i.e. trying to beat the other
player. Effortless Tennis is based on a cooperative, i.e. non-competitive,
behavior model, working with the other player so that each will
benefit and attain their potential. This philosophy applies not
just to tennis but is an overall worldview. In much of life,
competition is out of control. Everybody is competing against
everybody else. The old "dog eat dog" mentality has
gone too far. It is time to raise our awareness and learn how
to help each other be our best. This belief is the core of Effortless
Comprehensive Learning System
Effortless Tennis is a comprehensive, integrated system of learning
designed to help players not only reach their physical potential,
but their mental and emotional potentials as well. The physical
aspects of the game are very important, but it is the mental
and emotional components that are the true challenge and determine
how much you will improve. The Effortless Learning System works
well for players of all levels - neophyte to world class. The
program has been developed from my 55 year involvement in
sports, 49 years of playing tennis, 42 years of teaching tennis,
and 45 years of studying history, psychology, philosophy,
human nature, and learning theory.
What I have observed while watching or playing sports was that
there was this "state of being" that sometimes occurred
where everything seemed to flow and nothing could go wrong. This
is what I have termed the "effortless" state. It is
commonly referred to as " the zone." At first, attaining
the zone is a fleeting experience. As soon as you realize it
is happening, it is gone. In time, you are able to regulate its
occurance, but it takes quite a bit of time and practice. This
phenomenon so fascinated me that I have spent the last 42 years
researching, experimenting, and understanding just what was happening.
From this work I have isolated the variables and come up with
a model for motor learning that enables everyone to experience
this elusive state, on a regular basis.
Putting The Cart Before The Horse
One of the main obstacles to attaining this "effortless
state" is conventional tennis' premature emphasis on competition
and winning. The problem comes from the introduction of competition
before a player has actually learned the fundamentals of the
game. In conventional tennis the goal, from day one, is to learn
how to beat somebody. People either take a few lessons or maybe
no lessons and then immediately start playing games (competitively.)
It is virtually impossible to learn how to play the game and
compete at the same time. Mastering the fundamentals is essential
before beginning competition. Otherwise, long-term development
is greatly inhibited. As you can see in the graph below, in conventional
tennis there is almost no time before you begin competing. Once
you begin competing you do it for the rest of the time you play
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See Brent's book
"The System's Not Just Broken—It's Fatally Flawed"
"Learning & Competition"
A few questions for
teachers, coaches & parents on the role of competition in learning.