Portrait of a Genius as a Young Girl


It’s not often that we get to witness the first swings of someone who goes on to be the best tennis player in the world. Today’s our lucky day: here is Dinara Safina, current world number one player, taking her first swings at Spartak. We all know how great she became. The question is, did she have some special gift that separated her from other kids her age?

  • Does she an unusual level of natural coordination? (Uh, no–check out the pratfall at the 17-second mark.)
  • Does she exhibit unusually sharp hand-eye ability (Not really.)
  • Does she have a naturally efficient swing? (Not unless underhand is efficient.)

Yet I think we can see the real gift here: She’s falling in love with this game. Her coach (her mother) has wisely cut down her racquet and given her a soft, bouncy ball to play with. Dinara is having a complete blast out there. When she misses, she chases it down and does it again. This is how it begins.

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2 Responses to “Portrait of a Genius as a Young Girl”

  1. Dez Fragge says:

    Hi Daniel,

    This video is amazing. Reminds me of a simple lesson from John Holt’s works that most of the children never discover their full potential because their mothers or guardians don’t believe the kids are capable enough. This video is such a relief to watch!!

  2. Bill says:

    Slowing down seems to be a key to deep practice. Has the replacement of Clay courts with Hard Courts in the USA resulted in the US producing fewer great Tennis players.
    Most children get very frustrated playing on Hard Courts and Clay Courts were once the standard. Is it possible that the loss of clay courts has created another barrier to mastering Tennis for players in the US.

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