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When are you at your best as a coach?

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  There are many examples in popular culture of the 'excitable young pup' and the 'wise old dog'. There is a Warner Brothers cartoon I remember with the pup constantly jumping up and down with energy. There is another example in a Sean Penn movie where he plays a young policeman and his old, craggy partner, tells a story about how best to go downhill to the pasture. As someone getting towards the wizened old end of the scale I recognise the value of the enthusiasm of youth. Sometimes not seeing or knowing why something shouldn't work has a real value. Same with not remembering all the times something was tried and it didn't work and so it is not worth bothering to try again.** This idea got me thinking of coaching in relation to the Dunning-Kruger effect . What part of the chart do you think makes the best coach?  What part makes the best junior coach? What part makes the best pro-level coach? Do you think the curve is the same for male coaches and female? **On

What is Competitiveness?

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There was an interesting video posted recently where a coach makes the point that hard work is not the same as competitiveness, which is a really good point. Here is the video: I previously wrote a post discussing 'Hard Work'.  On THIS post I want to discuss 'Competitiveness'. Firstly, let's quickly note some misconceptions: You are not either Competitive or Not Competitive Competitiveness is a spectrum, unsurprisingly, because pretty much everything related to human beings is a spectrum. Different people have different levels of competitiveness. Some levels are occasionally useful in sport, but often negative in sport and life. You are not Necessarily the same level of competitive in different situations Competitiveness is situational, like ' Grit '. You can be competitive when there is nothing on the line, but not be competitive when there is. An obvious (and admittedly clumsy) example is that you can be competitive in sport but not care where you place

Competiveness v Hard Work

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I recently saw a video of a coach discussing that working hard and competing are not the same. Which is a really interesting idea to me. The point was that anyone can work hard. And that a coach can make anyone work hard. Which I don't really agree with but I understand the point, I think. Then afterwards I realised there were a few things missing. But first I want to note, I really liked the clip. It really resonated with me and made me think. Maybe too much!   Ok, I'll assume you have watched the video now, or have seen it before. If not, stop and watch it. Don't be that person who forms an opinion on something just by reading the headline and the comments! Now........... (Arguably) the two biggest myths in sport are all athletes are competitive 1 and all athletes can work hard all the time if they want to Neither are true at all Having said that, both are really important ideas for getting the most out of athletes. So, a few of questions came to mind: Are they related o

What is the difference between reading and reacting?

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I recently asked a friend of mine who is an expert in Skill Acquisition about reading and reacting. My exact question was: "What is the difference between reading and reacting? Is reacting even a thing?" As usual his reply was excellent, illuminating, and managed to avoid scientific terminology so it was easy to understand. The response in full is: In the literature it is called the perception-action coupling, and refers to how your brain (using mainly your eyes) takes in information and then uses that to make decisions. It is important to note that this process is continuous, and not as ‘isolated’ as we might conceptualize in sport. This read and react continues multiple times per second as we perform the task, continuing to use information to shape our movement. So in a soccer example, you have the ball and ‘read’ the options, you make your decision, but are continually perceiving information to make sure that it is the right decision, and continually using that inf

What Coaches Want to Learn, and When

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There is a parable (urban legend?) about rocks, pebbles and sand. I'm sure the one I heard also included water at the end, but I can't find a reference to that at the moment. The story is that, you fill the bottle with rocks, and it seems full. But then you can add a heap of pebbles, full again. But you can still add sand to fill the jar. And then you can add water to fill it up. The essential points are what might seem full is not necessarily the order you do things is important I do a lot of work in coach development at the moment, which I love. The thing I love most about coaching is the idea of how to coach better. How to be better at changing the behaviour of the children (or adults) in front of you. When working with beginner and intermediate coaches I often get disappointed that they don't seem as interested as I am with how to coach. What they want is technical knowledge. Which got me thinking..... Rocks Rocks are technical knowledge. What are the skills of the spor

Keith Lyons - Thank You

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I met Keith at a coaching conference in Melbourne in the mid 90s. I don’t remember the content of the presentation but I remember I loved it. Afterwards, I thought, ‘I have to meet this guy.’ So, I went to the front and waited ‘in line’ to introduce myself. I NEVER do this. I’d never done it before and I’ve never done it since. There was just something about him that I felt like I understood. This was the start of a connection. More than half my life ago. The next time we met was when he invited me to visit UWIC in about 1998. I had built a performance analysis system and he seemed interested, which was incredibly flattering to me. He had a way of having you feel important. While in Cardiff I showed him and his staff the system I was building and they were all very supportive. It made me think that I wasn’t alone in thinking about things the way I did. Fast forward to AIS. I asked him to be a referee for me when they started the Performance Analysis Unit. He told me he was applying so

There Has to be a Line

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It is easy to come up with a situation in sport where the rules, maybe, shouldn't apply. Where maybe the lines are wrong. I find this puzzling sometimes because the actual definition of sport is to have boundaries (rules) that everyone understands and agrees to, but ok, I'll move on. A common one nowadays (especially in sports which are as much a business as a sport), is to make the case that players who are injured should be allowed to use performance enhancing drugs to speed up their recovery. That way the fans will pay to watch them play again, the business will make more money, and everyone will be happy. No down side. Right? Another example is something that came up in a Facebook Group I belong to recently. It was related to whether or not to allow boys to play with girls in junior sport. Some were for 'inclusion', some where against it. Some came up with examples of where it was allowed and had a negative impact, others contrary examples. Why not just