Keeping Your Hand!
The title of this blog post is an expression I have heard time and time again used by leading trainers - at least those who work with strong talented players - but what does that mean?
I think it is simple logic is that when a someone moves from being a player to a trainer, there are three things he or she has to bring with him or her to be able to do the job:
1. Knowledge of the game (he or she must have studied the game and done it well!).
2. Interest in teaching (especially experience at the level he or she is attempting to impart the relevant knowledge together with the minimum necessary playing strength).
3. Willingness to share what he or she knows because the trainer is now working for the success of his or her student and so cannot have personal ambition or approach the training as if he or she were still playing.
Items 1. and 2. above are closely related and each trainer must ask himself or herself at which level he or she can be most effective and of course 3. is one very clear indicator if you (as a student) has a playing partner or a trainer!
So what is this "keeping your hand" about? Well, even if a trainer meets all the above attributes, it is being argued that in order to teach a top student you have to keep up your analytical ability and part of that process requires you to play!
I asked around and many trainers expressed their fear of doing so as they know their results would be poor and it would also be likely that they will be looked down and perhaps even lose their students. (This is for sure as they would no longer have time or energy to prepare for themselves and for sure their best years would have been long gone with age).
But they would have a minimum level and that would show and it is the job of the trainer to do their best for their student and if such playing from time to time is a necessary part of their maintenance and ongoing professional development, then we must!