Showing posts from July, 2014

The Talent of Camels

There is an old idea about athletes falling into two categories: Camels and Racehorses. The premise being that it doesn't matter how much you train a camel, you need a racehorse to win. This premise is, of course, hugely simplistic. (I would also contend it is completely wrong - not due to the analogy but of the generally used definition of 'talent'). I used to coach two athletes who, even though they had a huge number of similarities, the way they needed to be coached was completely different. This difference was due to the inherent talent both had. Though, as I have already suggested, I think 'talent' is the worst defined word when talking about High Performance sport (except, perhaps, 'elite' or 'high performance'), it describes them both well. Both have talent, but it is completely different talent. At the most fundamental level, the two athletes need to be coached in different ways, specifically:    Athlete 1 - You constantly strive to

Do Regulations Make Us More Accountable?

I was watching television this morning and someone was discussing the new child support rules being suggested in Australia. The point was made that some people who have been providing childcare in the role of a nanny or au pair for 10+ years, would not qualify for subsidised payment and would lose their jobs. The women being interviewed said that those people did not have the skills and qualifications to keep their jobs. At which point I yelled at the TV (I really should stop doing that). In any industry, 10+ years of immersive experience is generally considered to be sufficient to have the skills to do the job. Not only that, the fact that someone kept the job for 10+ years supports this. Then there is the issue of qualifications, and the presumption that someone with qualifications has skill. It is a huge generalisation, but, qualifications give us the theoretical framework to do a job, experience gives us the practical framework to do a job. And in a world focussed on outcom

Is it Still Sport?

The ideals of amateurism are seen as quaint historical artefacts nowadays. Chariots of Fire is an amazing movie that’s a bit hard to understand, and the NCAA’s disgusting ‘ownership’ of athletes images has made most people think the whole concept of amateurism is a absurd (how can an organisation have complete ownership of an athlete’s imagine, forever?). The reality is that amateurism is no longer remotely relevant in today’s society. When corporations, and governments make billions of dollars from sport, they are actually making those millions from athletes. And if someone is making billions of dollars because of the performance an athlete puts on, then that athlete should be rewarded. But, of course, the converse is also reasonable. If an athlete is rewarded to put on a performance, then it is reasonable for the corporation and/or government to see a return on this investment. Nowadays, if government is sponsoring sport they are doing it for a reason and they need a retu

The Purpose of Process

Those who know me would not be surprised by the fact that I follow this blog . I found the idea of Internal Standards really interesting and related it back to the old coaching discussion about Process v Outcome. Also to an idea about how you can define your performance at a tournament or event. The way I tend to think about competitions is that there are teams that you really should beat, there are some who realistically should beat you, and there are others which are up in the air, 50/50s. If you win the ones you should and win half the 50/50s, then you have had a decent competition. But we all know, that sometimes you win more than half the 50/50s, and you also get a win against a team that you weren't expecting. These are the competitions where you feel you really achieved (or overachieved). Relating this back to the blog post, it is the same as the discussion about games you could v should win. The question is - how do you move upwards? Well, you have to win more t

Planning to be Reactive

The thing about time is that its finite. That means that there is only a certain amount of things that can be fit into a certain amount of time, no matter how efficient you are. So, as I've discussed before , it is important to work out what to do and what not to do. One of the key pressures filling time is the drive to be proactive. Its one of the (many) buzzwords used in business nowadays. 'Gotta be proactive.' 'Gotta plan ahead.' 'Can't let anything surprise you.' 'Don't wait for things to happen.' 'Gotta stay ahead of the game.' Proactive is good. And reactive is the opposite of proactive, so that makes it bad, right? Actually no, not really. I would argue that being good at 'reactive' is at least as important as being good at 'proactive'. You have to be reactive at times, because there will always be things that unexpectedly occur and need to be managed. Being reactive is sometimes assessed as having