I’m a Kevin Smith fan. This of course has nothing specifically to do with volleyball, or even sport, other than in the Terry Pettit sense that everything you read or experience informs your life as a coach. To be brief, Kevin Smith makes (mostly independent) movies, records podcasts and does a bunch of other amusing (depending on your sense of humour) things. He has just made a new movie, which has created a huge amount of controversy. Not the movie itself, but the fact that he has decided not to sell the movie to a distributor, and instead to distribute and promote the movie himself. Specifically he wants to prevent a large sum of money being spent on marketing the movie. His reasoning is that his audience is well defined, relatively fixed, already know he has a movie coming out and are are already planning to go to see it. On the other hand experience shows that his movies typically don’t play well to people outside this core audience and no amount of advertising seems to be able to attract them. Therefore money spent promoting the movie by a distributor would be wasted money that would eventually come out of his pocket. This seems like a sound business decision with no possible losers except for Smith himself. If he is right he makes a big(ger) profit from his movie. If he is wrong he and his investors (and noone else) lose money. But somehow this has caused a huge ruckus in movie business (critic) circles and has generating quite a bit of (mostly negative) discussion. Of course part of this is driven by Smith himself, he does after all have a movie to promote and all publicity is good publicity, but the negative reactions seem to be massively out of proportion with what he is actually doing.
The point of the story is the ‘dangers’ of attempting to shift a paradigm. Coincidentally I just read a passage talking about American Football that goes through a list of innovations which were ridiculed at the original moment but which have in a relatively short time became standard practices in the sport. That is always the way. Every standard practice was once new and strange and ‘wrong’ because (and only because) it was different to the then standard practice. I can’t imagine what other international coaches thought of the US 2-man reception system when they first saw it. And I often wonder how international volleyball would look if the USSR hadn’t boycotted the LA Olympics and the USA hadn’t won the men’s volleyball gold medal. Would the 2-man reception system taken off if it hadn’t been so (recognisably) successful? And how many great ideas have never seen the light of day because the originator didn’t have the strength to cope with the ridicule inherent in trying to shift a (any) paradigm?
As John Wooden said “Not all change is progress, but all progress is change.”
A pretty good (i.e. short) review of the Kevin Smith controversy is here.