Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Wisdom of the Ancients

One of cricket - and sport's - great archetypes is the aged and taciturn coach, the kind of man who will watch silently for half an hour and then impart, often via a single and devastating sentence, a thought that changes not just how you play the game, but how you see it.

My own was the great Alf Gover, a man I wish I had appreciated more. I thought of Alf when I read this interview with John Jacobs, who has coached golf to Open champions and desperate hackers for sixty years. There is wisdom here that comes only from decades of observation. It doesn't come second-hand, from books or anywhere else.

Jacobs has distilled his philosophy down to one thought: you can learn everything you need to know about a player's swing by watching what the ball does once it's been struck. It's fantastically obvious and wonderfully true, and it applies equally well to cricket. All that matters is that moment when bat meets ball. You could discover how to coach anything by talking to John Jacobs.

NB: It's interesting to contrast the Jacobs interview with this one. It's with Tiger Woods' much-hyped new coach Sean Foley. He quotes Ghandi and Aristotle in one answer. I know who I'd rather have coaching me. Good luck, Tiger...


Abhi said...

OB, great post as usual. And reminds me of a sentence attributed to Bishen Bedi. "spin is not off the pitch, but in the air." Or something to that effect.

Cricket Ireland TV said...

Hi there,

We have recently set up Cricket Ireland TV on youtube. See here - www.youtube.com/cricketirelandtv & www.irishcricket.org . The sole aim of the project is just to raise awareness and support for the great sport of cricket here in Ireland & around the cricketing World. There is a nice mix of viral skills videos, player interviews, tour diaries & celebs backing our boys in green.

I am wondering if you may be interested in doing a piece on your blog ahead of Ireland's first game in the world cup on Friday. If you'd like to embed any of the videos onto your site that would be great as well.

If you need any further information or help with emdedding please don't hesistate to contact me.

Kind Regards

Andrew Leonard
Cricket Ireland TV

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fantasy bob said...

Very true - perhaps this is why Tiger spits so much these days. He's finding it hard to swallow such rubbish.

RS Radio said...

I'm still waiting for the coach who would give me that magic one line. The best I ever got, during a typically graceless innings, was "come on, if you are going to slash then at least slash hard."

worldcup 2011 said...

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Psmith said...

superb blog . . Im reading through all your posts . . and here is a nit I want to pick, a pet peeve if you will. Its not Ghandi, its Gandhi. surely, its not that difficult to get that right . . Everyone makes this mistake !
Imagine if the rest of the world started spelling Churchill as Cuhrcill ?

but what a blog !
please write a book. if you havent already.

The Old Batsman said...

Thanks Psmith - much appreciated. you;re quite right about the spelling of course...

Pay per head said...

Psmith is so right about this blog, I like it so much and that is why I come here and try to read all the posts I can, if I can't read more I will come tomorrow and read some more, keep it up my dear friend!