Posts Tagged auto piloting

How Learning Tennis Will Improve My Photography

The Rescue Team © Knut Skjærven

The Educator © Knut Skjærven

You should try it.

First I will let you in on a little secret.  I have started learning tennis.

I say started learning tennis and not started playing tennis. The last would  be too pretentious.

The reason why I want to learn tennis is that I have no less than 8 people in my close family who play or are learning to play tennis. I thought I would join them. I have my first lesson this Wednesday after having practised on a wall for two weeks and seeing that I lose fewer and fewer balls by hitting them into the small stream behind the training wall.

No, I have not been on the court yet, since that would be waste of somebody else’s time. But I will get there. Of that I am very sure. Maybe even this year.

What strikes me is how similar this tennis training is to learning street photography: You start by searching on the internet, you view the free videos, you get the fundamentals of rackets and grips and positions by training them in the dining room. When you are ready you practice on an outdoor wall when no one is seeing you. You try to keep expenses down by collection the balls that go sky high.

I am trying to be realistic about it and realise that with my experience of years I will never be really good, but I will be as good as I possible can.  That’s the decision. I am very optimistic about it since I progress a little every time. Playing sons and daughters and even grandkids is no small deal. That will be next year.

So I practice.

Why do I say this?

Many years ago I read something that I have never forgotten.  I don’t remember who said it but it relates to what I would describe as cross over training. You benefit greatly it you manage to use experience in one area  to other areas. Like tennis to photography. Like photography to tennis.

Or any other cross over.

If you are a good doctor use your medical skills in street photography. If you are a good lawyer use your lawyer’s skill in street photography. If you are a good blacksmith, carpenter, IT professional, web designer, dentist, innovator, businessman,  banker, student, or whatever you can think of, use the experience you have already or are in the process of acquiring. You will progress much faster.

In tennis there is an expression that I like. You need to acquire  Muscle Memory. You have to train till your muscles remembers for you.  When that happens you can run on autopilot and forget what the instructor said about handling forehand and backhand.  Knowledge and experience sits in your muscles. The faster you get there the faster you can move ahead.

When you are out there you have no time to think and you will miss the shot if you are not in the right position and know what to do from there. The ball comes fast and so does the balls of street photography. You have to observe it when it comes, get in position and then hit it.

Top spin is another matter that I will rather not talk about at this stage. It is difficult. That is among the itching images in tennis. The cool shooting that makes the difference.  One day I will get there.

Good luck with it. Whatever it is that you want to cross over. I will go for the wall.

Terms to memorize: cross over learning, auto piloting, muscle memory, cross over.

August 18, 2013

© Knut Skjærven. All rights reserved.

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