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Showing posts from December, 2016

What About Competition?

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It seems that 'Elite' competition is becoming 'important' at younger and younger ages in an attempt to make athletes more 'ready' for competition when they are older. Entires national competitions are now devoted to athletes who are still 10 years away from reaching senior ranks. And when there is a competition, well, you may as well try to win it, right?

Actually wrong. And that's the problem. While athletes enjoy winning, coaches enjoy winning, parents enjoy winning and sponsors enjoy winning, trying to win everything along the way limits the development of athletes. Winning is a limitation. Its also great fun and satisfying and rewarding. It can be all these things.

That is not to say competition is not important, but you need to consider the purpose.
Not all opportunities are equal (or good). As athletes develop and become more and more successful they will have more and more opportunities, usually competitions in representative teams. When this first …

The Agony of Expertise

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After having been involved in volleyball all my life, I've been working in gymnastics for the past 3 years. Of course I've seen artistic, trampoline and rhythmic gymnastics on tv, but the only thing I've seen is the Olympics. I'd only ever seen things being done at an elite level. Then I started watching developing gymnasts and it became clear very quickly just how difficult elite routines are to developed. After a couple of years I now have a clearer idea of what a routine is 'supposed' to look. Now my eye is drawn to the things that are done well, and I don't really notice the things done badly.

After 25+ years coaching volleyball I have a much deeper understanding of the sport than I do of gymnastics. I have a clarity of what is supposed to be happening and how it is supposed to happen. So when I'm watching, my eye is drawn to things that are done badly, and I don't really notice the things done well.

In some ways, due to my 'expertise' …

Structure or People

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As Christmas approaches at the end of an Olympic year, you know its time to be reviewing and restructuring.

I remember talking to a consultant a while ago who had a contract  to go into an underperforming sporting organisation and conduct a thorough review. The review took everything into account, from governance to organisational structure. And the result? It was as close to an ideal organisation as possible. But it was underperforming. So the next stage of the review was to look at the personnel, which is where they discovered the problem lay.

The point? In the end, structure is important but people matter.