Great article in The Times yesterday by Matthew Syed on why English football's reluctance to embrace 'idea sex' is stopping the game from evolving.
A few excerpts:
'And this brings me to English football, where there is precious little sex - at least when it comes to ideas. The game is insufficiently promiscuous. The walls between football and the rest of the world, far from being porous, are often high and unbroachable....
This prudishness can be seen in other ways too. The same old managers, with the same ideas circulate from club to club. Conferences are too often led by the usual suspects. Virtually no women operate in coaching roles anywhere in the Premier League. With each passing World Cup, there is a rush to copy the latest success story with scant recognition that innovation is not about mimicking the status quo but transcending it. Many coaches teach in the way they they themselves were taught, as if the world could be changed by standing still.
The power of cross-pollination of ideas can even be seen with many technical innovations pioneered by elite athletes....Novak Djokovic learnt his famous 'slide' footwork by leveraging insights from his love of skiing, Indian cricketers improved the reverse sweep by integrating techniques from tennis. Other innovations, from Dick Fosbury's flop to Jan-Ove Waldner's hidden serve, follow this pattern. They reveal the power of 'idea sex.''
What can tennis learn from this? Are we (coaches & players) constantly learning from other sports and sharing our own ideas, constantly innovating, trying new things, failing fast and trying again? Can we be, dare I say it, more promiscuous?