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Showing posts from August, 2015

There is a Higher Bar Than Just Winning

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Something I've always loved about Australian Football is that its most prestigious best player awards (Brownlow, Sandover and Magarey) are awarded to the 'Fairest and Most Brilliant' player of the season. They recognise something that we want to teach kids, and we want the community we live in to embrace.

To me this is great because it recognises more than just someone's ability to play the game, it recognises the 'class' that they have while doing it. And this is a much higher bar to reach.

Because of the difficulty of determining the 'fairest' there is always a push to remove it from the criteria. Rohan Connolly writes quite a reasonable article about the reason for removing the 'fairest'. But the essence of the article isn't whether fairness should be recognised alongside brilliance, but that it should be removed because it is difficult to define. Just because it is difficult doesn't mean it shouldn't be done though! There are hu…

When Do You Need to Win?

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I've been reading and thinking a lot about technique lately, and one of the things that seems to get overlooked is the relationship between technical focus and an athlete's progression along a development pathway. This in turn has got me thinking about the different imperatives along that pathway for both coaches and athletes.

The key distinguishing factor is time. High Performance coaching works backwards from the date at which everything must be achieved. Development coaching works forwards from what currently exist and towards what needs to be done in the future.

At the extremes, development coaching has an open timeline, that is, while you obviously work to build the skills of the athlete as fast as possible, in the end the end you can only progress as fast as the athlete learns and we all know some learn faster than others. Conversely, for a high performance coach there is a hard end point at which everything that can be achieved must be achieved. Then plans are made movi…

Team Sports at the Olympics

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It is a source of constant frustration to me that team sports are not recognised in the same way as individual sports at the Olympic Games. The fact that people can have discussions about 'The Greatest Ever Olympian' and base it purely on total medals one is ridiculous. For example, I would suggest that someone who never finished below first place, winning 3 Olympics Gold Medals over 4 Olympiads, should at least be in the conversation about the greatest ever. But when you stack up these achievements its easy to be distracted by the number of medals won.

The fact that to win a medal in a team sport you have to compete for two weeks, with one gold medal available at the end is the source of this discrepancy. Many countries, who look solely at the medal count to assess the value of an athlete or sport, will choose to invest in sports where one person can win multiple medals rather than team sports. The reason? Because it is cheaper to fund this so is a 'better return on inve…

Frozen, Blockbusters and Technical Excellence

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I remember reading a review of the movie Frozen which said that it was pretty good, but quite generic and had dark animation. That is the last I thought of the movie until about a year later when I discovered it was the 5th highest grossing movie of all time. (Apparently, it also has a popular song.) It turns out that while the critic didn't like it, most other people did. Critical Acclaim and box office success are often portrayed as an either/or fallacy.

Technical Excellence and successful outcomes (winning), are also often portrayed as an either/or. That is, there are only two options: are you focussing on technique, or are you focussing 'winning'? Obviously this is ridiculous, and I really wish people would stop.

Technique is a means to an end. The outcome is the end, technical excellence can help this. It is not an either/or discussion as the two aspects are intrinsically linked. The differences start when digging down into exactly what that outcome is.

If the 'en…