On identifying sporting talent: The Calthorpe Hypothesis

September 1, 2017

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In my new book, Seconds Out, I describe a fictional idea known as The Calthorpe Hypothesis. It indicates how sporting talent might be identified, and how it transfers from one sport to another. As sometimes happens, fiction can become a reality.

Seconds Out is a thriller with the usual ingredients of a super villain with a plan to dominate the world, a valient team intent on stopping him, few ghostly interventions, and a protagonist facing academic ruin if his research turns out badly. For the last point only, I was able to draw on personal experiences.

The Calthorpe Hypothesis

In the book, the research is based on The Calthorpe Hypothesis, a concept I invented as supporting a theory which might turn out to be completely wrong.

As the story developed, I became intrigued by the possibility that the fictional hypothesis could actually have more credibility in the real world than I originally intended it to have.

Chess Boxing

Sometimes an idea buzzes around in irritating fashion, giving you no peace of mind. It often helps to share your thoughts with someone else.

Chess boxing” I said to Susan one evening, as we were setting out to review progress on construction of the East Cheadle bypass relief road being conducted outside our front door.

“Sorry” she said “I thought you said Chess boxing. That sounds weird.”

“I did say Chess boxing. It’s a new sport. You have boxers who fight and then sit down to play a game of chess. It is the perfect contest requiring brain, brawn, courage and cunning.

“I suppose the chess players put gloves on after a game for fighting, and the boxers take their gloves off to move the chess pieces.”

“Whatever,” I said. “Anyway, it’s going to become big. And it is exactly where we should be looking to recruit much-needed new members for our Chess Club.

I am pinning my hopes on chess boxing as way of restoring my fading academic reputation, but I decide not to mention that to Susan for the moment.

As the story develops, I learn more about the Calthorpe Hypothesis in a conference on sporting excellence

I return to my room to dig more deeply into the implications of the Calthorpe hypothesis. With references from Greg’s paper, I quickly find what I am looking for. Professor Calthorpe is no longer with us. He was based in a department of sports science in Australia’s remote Northern Territories. His largely ignored work suggests it is possible to identify characteristics that suggest which sports are particularly complementary. He collected evidence from a range of Olympic sports such as weightlifting, swimming, gymnastics, and hurdling.

I can hardly sleep as I see the unnoticed implications of Calthorpe’s insights and consider how they will increase my academic survival prospects.

My first success came in the identification of Tim, a promising chess player who according to my ideas, could become successful at both chess and boxing. Tim agrees to become involved:

“I’ll think on it,” he said. “I’m coming over to East Cheadle soon. Got to go now. Lift’s waiting for me out there. I’ll let you know.”

Even if he can only play the last games of the season it might make all the difference. But a half-promise is not enough. My search for players must go on.

He leaves before I have time to learn his name. But before he leaves he says his meeting is to contact an agent for when he turns professional. That sounds even more promising.

A scan of the results board tells me I have been in contact with a Tim Bolton, whose grade makes him eligible to play as our new secret weapon.

The story continues with many a twist, and a final encounter with the evil Lyman Groat. After 60,000 words, I had become convinced that the Calthorpe Hypothesis is not an entirely crazy idea.

Chess Boxing

Chess Boxing is alive and well, and I am grateful to guidance I received when writing Seconds Out from the London Chess Boxing organisation.

Why not capitalize on the idea?

Putting on my Business School hat, I am now developing a research proposal around the hypothesis, and submitting it to various sporting bodies in the real world, seeking sponsorship in identifying their next top athletes from other sports.

I may still do so, but I have given too much of the game away already. Readers of Seconds Out, or even subscribers to this blog post, may beat me to it. If you do so, please buy copies of the book for all your family and friends.

You can learn more about The Calthorpe Hypothesis from clicking this link to the book

 

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Tennis Matters: The dream of a perfect forehand

August 14, 2015

 

Tennimageis Matters is an account of the author’s obsession with tennis from his schooldays through his working career as a scientist and a Business School Professor. It documents his fruitless search for a respectable tennis forehand shot

Tennis Matters was published in E book format in August 2015. It is part biography, part based on tennis stories updated from over a thousand published in Leaders We Deserve over the period 2007-2015. It lists the mostly unsuccessful attempts of the author’s coaches to help him develop a workable forehand. It also includes Tennis Teasers (‘because they were the parts of my lectures the students liked most’).

“Hit past the baseline not into the net”

The story unfolds as the author recalls boyhood experiences: “My first coach was Tad the Geography master, a powerful bantamweight of a man, blessed with a natural tennis game, and in the classroom an unerring aim with a piece of chalk to gain the attention of an errant pupil. He did nothing to set me up with an educated forehand. But I do remember one piece of his advice. Better to hit the ball out past the baseline he insisted than into the net. I cannot say I have fully mastered the principles required for this tricky procedure”.

Tennis fashions

He watched his first films about the glamourous and exciting lives of tennis professionals: Hitchcock’s classic ‘Strangers on a Train’ and the lesser known ‘Pat and Mike’ starring Gussie Moran and Katherine Hepburn, noting the impact that Katherine Hepburn’s shorts and Moran’s frilly knickers were eventually to have on tennis fashion.

At the start of the 1960s, he recalls, the genteel ineptitude of tennis officialdom was still accepted. One match at Wimbledon ended in chaos when a line official nodded off and was unable to confirm that the match was over on a match point.

The modern era

Then came professionalization, and the modern era. The Australian Lew Hoad became to tennis what Stirling Moss was to racing, Bobby Charlton to football, and Arnold Palmer to Golf.

By the 1970s the great tennis tournaments were available to mass audiences. There were epic contests between two dominant figures of the era, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe. A similar series of breath-taking battles were to take place in the 1990s by battles between Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi.

Into the 21st century

As the 21st century approached, the young Roger Federer began to rewrite the record books. He was later to face intense competition from Novak Djokovic, and from the king of clay Rafa Nadal.

An era of America supremacy led by the iconic figures of Navratilova, King, McEnroe, Sampras and Agassi was coming to an end. Another golden age was emerging in which ‘the American (Bryan) brothers and (Williams) sisters were supreme and yet were not receiving the wider recognition they deserved’.

The author began recording his notes on every match played by Andy Murray, having watched him first as a junior playing on an outside court in a regional tournament. He discovers that changes in the game have not all been to his liking. He learns of the impact of branding as he miserably fails to trade up his 1970s racquet for a modern one. His forehand continues to frustrate the best efforts of various coaches, even one who had helped players such as Martina Navratilova.

Subsequent tales bring us to the highs and lows of today’s superstars, and the pratfalls of TV pundits.

The dream of a perfect forehand

The author remains optimistic. Drawing inspiration from the great orator Martin Luther King, he concludes that however modest the achievement, he still has a dream that one day he will play the perfect forehand.

Note to subscribers

Note the price is quoted currently at $3.99 or £1.99. It is a Kindle product, but you can download a free App via Amazon if you don’t have a Kindle.


Dissecting Creativity: Interview with Tudor Rickards

March 10, 2015

Professor Gerard Puccio interviews LWD editor Tudor Rickards for the 2014 Alex Osborn memorial event at Buffalo State University

Gerard Puccio is chair and Professor at the International Center for Studies in Creativity [ICSC] at Buffalo State University. The memorial celebrations honoured the life and work of Alex Osborn who did much of his pioneering work on stimulating creativity there, with Sid Parnes. Sid’s wife Bea also attended and give a further key-note address.

The interview [47 minutes duration] covers Tudor’s association with ICSC, his personal history, growing up in a mining community in South Wales, [in Treforest, home of Tom Jones], developmental influences and how he became involved in creativity, moving from a career as a research scientist at New York Medical College and then Unilever on Merseyside,to his academic base at Manchester Business School where he helped build a network of European practitioners and academics.


Developing global leaders

October 25, 2013

Leaders We Deserve subscribers are invited to view and use a presentation on Developing Global Leaders, which is trending at the moment on slideshare

The presentation by LWD founder and editor Tudor Rickards suggests that Global Leadership is increasingly concerned with dealing creatively with complex business dilemmas. The presentation was produced to accompany the textbook Dilemmas of Leadership.


Twitter goes public: a few tweets

September 13, 2013

When Twitter announced it was going public, Leaders we Deserve Editor in Tweet provided his own tweets to mark the news

Friday 13th September 2013

1. Tudor Rickards ‏@Tudortweet now
@smh Thanks.Your article on twitter has encouraged me to review my earlier blogs from the time I wondered what Twitter’s business model is
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2. Tudor Rickards ‏@Tudortweet now
Further thoughts on Twitter. What I like: unexpectedness of tweets from people with primary focus to communicate not capitalize
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3. Tudor Rickards ‏@Tudortweet now
Further thoughts of twitter: What I dislike, Use as crude and sometimes covert advertising [lessons to be learned from TV commercials]
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4. Tudor Rickards ‏@Tudortweet now
I tweet therefore I am. I don’t tweet because I am something else
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5. Tudor Rickards ‏@Tudortweet now
Last twitter tweet for now. Twitter will split into several services whose form and function will be shaped by us the tweeters.
Details

A more formal analysis on how Twitter makes money came from The Sydney Morning Herald. This triggered the Tweets above.

Other early tweeters

1. Reuters India ‏@ReutersIndia 2h
Twitter takes first step toward going public
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2. James Hirsen ‏@thejimjams 3h
Things to know before you load up on Twitter stock
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3. Los Angeles Times

Twitter files for an IPO; five things you should know
As you may have heard, Twitter has filed for a confidential initial public offering of stock, so in case you aren’t too familiar with the company, here are five quick things you should know.
[Also shows original Twitter announcement]


THE CHRONICLES OF LEADERSHIP: BOOK PREVIEW

September 9, 2013

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The unexplained death of a scientist, and a surge of drugs on campus force Vice Chancellor Wendy Lockinge to return reluctantly to her skills as a senior police officer. Her daughter Jessica who wants to become a detective thinks she can do better…

So begins the marketing blurb to The Chronicles of Leadership by Tudor Rickards. The story moves from the University to the scientist’s laboratory, and to a local zoo whose animals are under threat from a mysterious visitor. Wendy recruits a team which includes a student activist, an expert in theories of everything, and a researcher into leadership who has his own secrets to conceal, including his relationship with an ambitious local journalist. The team unearths a criminal scheme that has to be stopped before its shattering consequences are felt around the world.

The Chronicles and Leaders We Deserve

A few years ago I thought there was a book on leadership to be extracted from the six hundred posts published through the Leaders We Deserve blog. Since then, the project has changed. The Chronicles of Leadership turned into a detective story.

A few willing volunteers are following the fictional adventures of Wendy Lockinge and her daughter Jessica chapter by chapter. I will shortly face a leadership dilemma of publishing in traditional or electronic format (or both).

The author

According to the blurb, The author of Chronicles of Leadership has written or edited fifteen non-fiction business textbooks, is founder of the blog Leaders We Deserve, and appears from time to time in the media on his specialist interests of creativity and leadership.

Pythagoras the python

In the book, Pythagoras the python featured above plays a part in a demonstration of snake-whispering. This goes badly wrong when Pythagoras attacks a Professor of Management.


Why I’m not a tennis commentator: Murray v Federer

January 26, 2013

Australian Open Tennis Semi-Final 2013. After five games of the match, two commentators declared that Federer could not win unless something significant changed. What had they ‘read’ that was not obvious to a non- professional observer?

Tudor Rickards

As a tennis addict I watch a lot of matches. I even offer opinions on a game I have never played at competitive level. Why not? There are plenty examples of less gifted players who make impressive commentators. With the notable exception of John McInroe, former top players do not seem particularly insightful. [I hesitate to comment on female commentators, as I don’t watch or listen enough to have a view on them or the game.]

Australian Open Tennis Semi-Final 2013 [25th January]. Views were expressed by former grand slam winners Pat Cash and Goran Ivanisowitch, after only five games. Both though Murray was completely in charge. Why?

I roused myself from beneath the warm morning blankets [UK time] and switch on TV. The first set went as the pundits predicted. To me, Murray seemed more comfortable on serve, although scattering enough errors to need a few big winners on big points. Federer seemed a shade more nervous than usual. The pattern or strategy of Murray was clearer. Strong hitting to the Federer backhand with powerful forehands to win points. Federer more being forced to respond.

Second set

A more even set. The TV commentators are more cautious than Pat and Goran, saying that Federer is never out of a close match. Now fully floodlit on the court. Are conditions changing? Is Federer giving up on points needing a big chase? My mind thinks tiebreak with edge to Murray. Tiebreak it is. Weak start by Murray. Murray misses a chance to win, misses, loses. One set all.

Third set

Murray seems in discomfort. Notice, Federer is hard to read. Physical and emotional state concealed. Federer has a weak service game, loses it, Murray holds. Wins set. 39 to 19 points won. Federer takes comfort break.

Fourth set

Murray’s concentration lapses and he drops serve. Fights back. At 4-4 no predictions. Murray stronger and breaks again to serve for match. Federer brilliance Wins to reach another tie break. And wins tie break.

Fifth set

The commentators have to make predictions. I’m glad I’m not one of those. BBC pundit just favors Murray. Who moves to 5-2. Then 6-2 to win match.

Learning

For me, realization that commentators are forced to resolve all anxieties for the rest of us. Maybe they “read” situations through better experience and tacit knowledge. Or maybe utter confidence in a belief is one of the charcateristics of a champion?