Sport coaches, I ask you to consider how the insight of a brilliant mathematician might inspire you to transform your perception of coaching and how to revolutionize the process of coaching your athletes for competition.
The Fields Medal is regarded as one of the highest honors a mathematician can receive, and has been described as the mathematician's "Nobel Prize" (Wikipedia)
“To me, mathematics has two stages, the first one is to learn what other people have done. That means reading books, reading articles. Reading mathematics, beautiful mathematics, is like going to a touristic, historic, beautiful town. Somewhere like maybe Cambridge. When you walk around, you see monuments, you see beautiful architecture. And that’s like the first stage, where you just see what other people have created. The second stage is like, if I suddenly have wings and I fly over a city and I can see a lot more than before. For example, I can see more monuments; I can see connections between these monuments…the kind of thing I could just not see on the ground. In many ways, solving a problem somehow, quite often has to do with understanding connections between two concepts, two notions. “ -2018 Fields Medal Winner Caucher Birkar-
Sport coaches, consider how this principle of deepening one’s perspective/raising awareness/insight/knowledge allows one not only to see and understand more individual subjects, but to see more and more connections shared between them. This insight will allow you to see the damaging effects of the independent operations of sport coaching, strength coaching, and active rehabilitation who operate independently of one another without a single unifying mechanism; tantamount to building sub-contractors working without a common blueprint, and each sub-contractor only working according to their own blueprint. While this reads ludicrous in terms of building, this is actually what is happening in your sport organization.
What’s more, this perspective will allow you to see that the subject matter that underpins these factionalized aspects of sport preparation exists in the realm of cultural understanding/evolutionary biology, psychology, epistemology, cognitive science, neurophysiology, sociology, and linguistics.
This is implicated in:
The behavior of your staff and athletes
The rate and quality at which your athletes learn tactics
The rate and quality at which your athletes develop technical/positional skill
The ability of you and your staff to communicate and teach to ensure proportional development occurs in all of your athletes who possess highly variable psycho/social/behavioral/cognitive dispositions that affect how they interpret and respond to criticism, instruction, and how they learn
Sport, particularly teams, too often operate on the basis of military style standardized methods of instruction and communication. As a result, an implicit road block is manifest that prevents the proportional advancement in all competition related preparation of your athletes.
Standardized methods of instruction inherently render disproportional advancement in each athlete; some benefiting more and others less. The result of which is a missed opportunity. Take a moment to consider the product of 5 athletes being subject to standardized instruction which results in some of them benefiting more than others.
Athlete 1 improves by a factor of 3
Athlete 2 improves by a factor of 5
Athlete 3 improves by a factor of 7
Athlete 4 improves by a factor of 4
Athlete 5 improves by a factor of 6
The average improvement is a factor of 5.
Square this against a method of instruction that takes into account the variability of each athlete’s psyche, temperament, and cognitive specifics which results in proportional improvements in each athlete:
Each athlete improves, at minimum, by the highest factor achieved by a single athlete in the standardized approach (a factor of 7 across the board)
As soon as you begin to approach the tradecraft competency of professionals outside of sport in whom interdisciplinary knowledge is a prerequisite, the sooner you will achieve a paradigm shift in the coaching process that will result not only in winning, but the moral, intellectual, and psychological development of your staff and athletes that is central to their human well-being during and long after their career in sport comes to an end.
“The Governing Dynamics of Coaching” is the book that describes how to achieve this and ‘sport preparatory engineering’ is the solution to unifying the segregation that is implicit to the independent operation of sport coach, strength coach, and active rehabilitation.
The Modern Evolutionary Synthesis of the 1930’s and 1940s…” showed that variability is conserved by the mechanisms of heredity, that selection can be extremely effective both in changing the composition of a population and maintaining variation, and that random mutations are the source of variability on which selection and other evolutionary forces act.” (Michael Bonsall and Brian Charlesworth, Genetics and the causes of evolution: 150 years of progress since Darwin)
I point the reader’s attention toward the bold text: random mutations are the source of variability on which selection and other evolutionary forces act.
This is taken from the scientific Neo-Darwinist context of the actual causes of evolution and reflects modern science’s best understanding of the evolutionary process to date. From this, I ask you to consider what features of mutation may be intentionally generated via mankind’s extraordinary capacity to generate explanatory knowledge.
This capacity allows for an accelerated rate of progress far in excess of what occurs in its absence; such as what is seen and has been researched in the context of all other life on earth and it’s extraordinary yet extremely slow process of evolution.
What has taken ‘nature’ millennia or several generations (regarding life forms with shorter and shorter life spans) to evolve various species, is something that, in the case of the intervention of beings with explanatory knowledge, takes days/weeks/month to evolve in the technological space, for example. Further, as gene editing advances, the same sort of accelerated progress will be made on the biological level in humans (controversial though this subject remains).
Essential to recognize is the role that mutation, itself, plays in the course of evolution.
In the evolutionary context, mutation is defined as “The changing of the structure of a gene, resulting in a variant form that may be transmitted to subsequent generations, caused by the alteration of single base units in DNA, or the deletion, insertion, or rearrangement of larger sections of genes or chromosomes.” (Oxford Dictionaries)
What explanatory knowledge allows for, however, is the intentionality of change at the foundational level in error detection and problem solving.
Sport, since its inception by any formal definition, exists in its first hundred years of life. And unlike the exponential advances seen in the technological domains that support sport related efforts, sport coaching and coaching education have failed to integrate the type of explanatory knowledge necessary to cause the ‘mutations’ required to evolve sport coaching and coaching education to the level explanatory knowledge allows for.
In simple terms, what is knowable in the world, in the dozens of intellectual domains that are directly implicated in sport coaching (which I referred to as The Governing Dynamics of Coaching) represents a knowledge horizon.
The questions are:
Where are coaching and coaching educational references plotted on the spectrum in relation to the horizon?
What is the differential separating what is knowable in the world, and known in coaching and coaching education?
These are the questions I address in “The Governing Dynamics of Coaching” and if you recognize the objective truth that explanatory knowledge is arguably a ‘super power’ with infinite potential, then you must also recognize that a failure to apply it, and all that is knowable, towards sport coaching and coaching education is tantamount to allowing a winning lottery ticket to sit in your drawer.
True philosophers who are burning with love for truth and learning never see themselves . . . as wise men, brim-full of knowledge . . . For most of them would admit that even the very greatest number of things of which we know is only equal to, the very smallest fraction of things of which we are ignorant. Nor are these philosophers so addicted to any kind of tradition or doctrine that they suffer themselves to become their slaves, and thus lose their liberty.
Alas, I draw the reader’s attention to the objective truth that, in respect of the philosophy of Karl Popper, as humans our room for error, and implicit fallibility, is infinite. For this reason, the notion of striving for success is, by association, infinitely enhanced by identifying and correcting errors; as opposed to engaging in, what is actually a fallacy and unattainable, the quest for perfection.
This extends beyond any abstract theory, directly to the practical; in so far as it is commonplace for organizational leadership to speak of the quest for success in terms of optimizing or maximizing some aspect of performance, void of the difference making objective truth that the way to do is by finding and correcting errors. It is in the quest for the identification and correction of errors that exists the identification of soluble problems, and, as physicist David Deutsch states, all problems are soluble…given the proper knowledge. Little by little, then, as errors/problems are detected and solved, “performance” improves. Note, not by directly attempting to improve performance, per se, but by finding and correcting errors.
What follows, then, is the compulsory, and ongoing, pursuit of knowledge creation, only possible through criticism and conjecture, and not experience, that is fundamental for identifying and solving problems; which only uncover deeper problems…
The knowledge horizon is approximate to the horizon we’ve all seen from a vantage point high enough off the ground or on the shore of any ocean, in that, no matter the effort one manifests to reach it, it’s unattainable; it always remains out of reach. In the process of attempting to reach it, however, one is constantly gaining ground, or more knowledge.
We may, as a result, consider knowledge on a spectrum in which the most knowledgeable “experts” are plotted on one end and the least knowledgeable individuals are on the other. Wherever one is plotted on the spectrum, there will always exist a differential separating him or her from the foremost experts in the related field. The process of searching for the objective truth reduces the knowledge differential, yet only momentarily due to the infinite space for knowledge creation, and reducing the differential between what’s knowable and what you know is the difference in attaining progress, or not.
As it regards sport competition and sport coaching, I wrote the “Governing Dynamics of Coaching” in order to illustrate the magnitude of soluble problems that exist in coaching, coaching education, hiring coaches, and how to solve them via reducing the differential between what has long since been knowable and what is not yet known in sport. In the book, you will find solutions for strategically preparing for sport competition that dramatically shift the paradigm of how this process has occurred to date.
1) “Working with James for a second cycle of coach education consulting has proved invaluable in advancing my understanding of the substrates of high performance sport. Completing multiple series’ of consulting allowed us to discuss each of the Governing Dynamics multiple times in successive detail; and just as with training or preparation, each time we revisit a concept we are able to develop a deeper knowledge and deeper understanding of the content to then re-integrate into the program. I would highly recommend that coaches and professionals working with James consider multiple rounds of consulting, as it will afford you the opportunity to advance yourself at an accelerated rate and create the potential for truly meaningful advancement. James’ depth of knowledge is immense and will likely not be captured in a single cycle of consulting work. Advancing yourself, your organization, and profession at a rapid rate is well worth the time and expense.”
2) “Hiring James as a consultant was the best investment of my coaching career. It has made an impact on my coach education that is unparalleled and has set me on a course to advance my knowledge and my athletes’ knowledge that will allow us to push forward in ways not yet seen, and hopefully advance the profession of sport while still in our lifetimes.”
3) “I am convinced that my coach education consulting with James’ helped propel me forward as a coach, and ultimately my team to a National Championship. Working with James through the Governing Dynamics and simultaneously implementing the concepts with my athletes yielded us increasingly positive results, culminating in the highest achievement available to us – a National Championship.”
4)“For any coach dedicated to honing their craft and pushing forward the profession of sport, it should be mandatory to work with someone like James. I have worked with James in multiple rounds of coach education consulting, and each time have been able to successfully implement additional aspects of the Governing Dynamics and achieve increasingly positive results. I am confident in saying that without my education garnered via working with James, I would not have been able to lead my team to its first National Championship title.”
- Brad Richard – Head Coach- Charlotte Rugby
The Governing Dynamics of Coaching on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/194620806X
Governing Dynamics of Coaching Consulting
Beginning in 2018 I had come to a point in my education and career where I wanted to expand my knowledge. I felt a need to be pushed in areas that may not be strengths of mine and in the past I possibly felt were not needed for me to know or be successful. I spent many years looking for something or someone to provide this education and to be pushed accordingly. I looked into online Doctoral programs and never could find something that I felt covered a global view of sports. From people I trust James Smith’s new book was highly recommended. I purchased the book “The Governing Dynamics of Coaching” immediately following its release. I had read and viewed James material in the past, but this book was something much more. As I dove through it I was very impressed by the depth and variety of knowledge it provided. It provided a very global perspective for preparing athletes. It gave me perspective of other fields and how the structure that currently exist in these other fields could exist in sports. Naturally the book left me with even more questions and left me at a standstill. I spent 2017 debating how I could implement the information.
At the beginning of 2018 I made a decision to do a full Governing Dynamics consultation. I spent 8 weeks diving into all of the Governing Dynamics of Coaching with James. What I thought I knew and understood from reading the book was given much more context and practical application. The 8-week consultation gave me the knowledge of what could exist and the current dysfunction that exist in each area of sports. It gave me a new perspective of this information and that it was not for strength coaches, but for coaches and can be applied for any sport. I have worked in numerous sports throughout my career always looking from a Strength & Conditioning/Sports Science lens. Now I look from a coaching lens and now feel very comfortable applying it to any sport that I work within. As the book did, following the 8 weeks of consulting I still have more questions and am working on a way to layout my own education to continue to further my knowledge in each Governing Dynamic. This will be an endless process and to apply it and be successful in its application will be the biggest test! I understand that 8 weeks of consulting only will scratch the surface and further consulting will be needed. I will continue this process as there are deeper details I seek.
In the beginning I took time for me to be comfortable to let my guard down to what I do daily and offer criticism for all areas of sports and to criticize even the information James was giving me. Once I did I feel as if I am seeing much clearer and now see what could be possible in sports. As David Deutsch is quoted in the beginning of James book “The limiting factor is not resources, for they are plentiful, but knowledge, which is scarce” Every university and organization I have been a part of in my career has had plenty of resources to be successful, but what was missing was knowledge to allow for continued improvement of the athletes I worked with. James consulting has provided me a deeper knowledge of the Governing Dynamics of Coaching and now it is on me to apply it successfully.
Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach
In humans, intellect is tantamount to hardware, while knowledge is tantamount to software; and critical thinking skills are the cash value in most practical circumstances.
Intellect approximates to IQ (intelligence quotient) and is relatively fixed by early adulthood. Knowledge, on the other hand, is a mutable domain that is namely distinguished between information (data retention) and understanding. The former serving a utility during trivia games, computations, or cramming for a test, while the latter is, uncontroversially, the area of interest for most. Physicist David Deutsch has expounded upon the corollary between understanding knowledge and explanatory ability; in which one's explanatory ability is the direct line to the degree to which he or she understands something.
The mode by which one's intellect, coupled with their understanding knowledge, is put into practice (i.e. through verbal or written explanation) is manifest via critical thinking.
A couple podcasts of mine pertaining to this subject:
Critical Thinking- Why
Critical Thinking- How
Oxford Dictionary defines critical thinking as: the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgement
From this, we may further consider the definitions of the key words that compose the definition:
objective- not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts
analysis- detailed examination of the elements or structure of something
evaluation- the making of a judgement about the amount, number, or value of something; assessment
judgement- the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions
It's also worth defining 'thinking'- the process of considering or reasoning about something
At the dawn of the creation of http://globalsportconepts.net , in 2013, I was taking notes on a thermodynamics class hosted by MIT's open courseware, and the professor, whose name I apologetically have forgotten, started off by explaining how learning the definitions associated with thermodynamics gets one about halfway there regarding understanding thermodynamics as a whole. This concept resonated strongly with me and I since took seriously the process of looking up definitions of words. I should note that this pertained not only to new words that I would add to my vocabulary, but words that were/are already part of my vocabulary. This is because, upon further thinking about many of the words we use in dialogue, I realize how unconvinced I was that we fully understand their definitions. As indicated, information and understanding knowledge are to be distinguished from one another; yet they needn't be polarized from one another. As, to know well enough how to use a word in a sentence is achievable short of understanding any subtleties of its definition compared to other words with similar definitions; while the deeper the knowledge one has both in terms of information retention AND understanding, the more capable he/she is in their mode of problem solving . Alas, I digress, as the significance of learning the definitions associated with critical thinking (and engaging in the associated practices) are, in and of themselves, a viable mode of improving one's critical thinking skills.
Vital to point out is the self-discovery necessary within each individual that is required in order to determine the most effective process of developing one's own critical thinking skills.
Using myself as an example, I realized early on that I was drawn to both analytical as well as synthetic modes of thinking, who was strongly drawn to becoming a polymath:
German (used to be able to read, write, speak, however this has slipped due to nonuse)
Spanish (conversational in the conversational basics, reading, and writing)
Portuguese (conversational in the conversational basics, reading, and writing)
Russian (learned to read Cyrillic in an afternoon in 2013, continue to plug away at vocabulary)
Caricature, Figure Drawing, Gesture Drawing, Sketch
Jazz guitar (BA, Cum Laude, Berklee College of Music as a Performance Major)
some piano, some trumpet
Areas of Research/Self-Learning/Self-Study
*Due to their foundational role in critical thinking, I have personally found immense value in studying physics and mathematics
Professional Consulting Skills
The process of the research that amounted to the completion of "The Governing Dynamics of Coaching" evolved into facets of what I do as a consultant. The Governing Dynamics of Coaching, themselves, are representative of the polymaths that coaches, according to my argument, must become; in which deep knowledge must be developed as it regards:
Active Physiotherapeutic Typology/Integration
Sport Preparatory Engineering
Global Load Management
While this partly elucidates on the process of advancing my own polymath and critical thinking skills, it is essential that any reader consider, and perform any necessary/associated self-discovery, what end of the analytical-synthetic thinking spectrum you reside at and, as a result, what modes of intellectual stimulation resonate most strongly within you.
The strategic preparation for sport is an exercise in critical thinking as:
Culture is the bedrock from which all knew knowledge emerges and the set of ideas that influences all thought and behavior
Criticism and conjecture are the only possibilities for knowledge creation
Psychological Preparation includes understanding the science of the brain and the development of psychological skills necessary to achieve targeted success independent of all factors outside of one's control
Technical/Tactical/Sensorimotor Preparation are the distinguishing tradecraft elements that define the neurophysiological, bioenergetic, biodynamic, and biomotor abilities intrinsic to success in sport and military operations
Bioenergetic/Biodynamic/Biomotor Preparation constitute, broadly speaking, the development of energy systems, motions, forces, and motor skill outputs.
Physiotherapeutic Interventions are, namely, the non-surgical therapies and modalities necessary to support the accelerated regeneration and/or rehabilitative return to sport/operations
Sport Preparatory Engineering is the engineered blueprint that accounts for all neuromuscular/structural load stress incurred by athletes
Global Load Management- the future of head sport coaching/ leadership in which the head individual is truly competent in all relevant fields of influence/preparation
I have not yet provided a definition for 'critical' itself. As a sensible conclusion to this blog entry I have done so on purpose.
Oxford dictionary defines critical, in adverb form, (as the word is used in the phrase critical thinking), as:
having a decisive and crucial importance in the success, failure, or existence of something.
Allow for something to be the success or failure of your sport organization. In this way, regardless if you are an analytical or synthetic thinker, I suggest to you that it is fundamentally important that you consider advancing your own critical thinking skills, as they relate to any and all of The Governing Dynamics of Coaching
Another Example of Future of Sport Coaching from Elon Musk
At the recent SXSW (south by southwest) event, Jonathan Nolan (screen writer, television producer, director, author) conducted an excellent interview with Elon Musk (CEO Spacex, Tesla, Solar City, Boring Company).
Those familiar with my social media presence will be familiar with my references to Elon Musk as an extraordinary example of ‘global load management’. For those who do not own “The Governing Dynamics of Coaching”, global load management is a term I use to characterize the future of sport coaching competency in which every sport coach will become objectively competent in understanding and managing every operational constituent of coaching (I’ve termed the operational constituents of coaching, borrowing from the late Nobel Laureate John Nash, the Governing Dynamics of Coaching).
Important to recognize is that every subject matter domain has its own set of ‘Governing Dynamics’ with respect to my use of the term, in which every profession is characterized by its own set of parent domains of subject matter. In the book, and in my consulting, I often reference a variety of industry professionals, from a variety of professions apart from sport, in which these industry leaders ubiquitously function as fine examples of ‘global load managers’ due to their impressive knowledge and insight regarding all subject matter domains that govern their particular endeavor. Conversely, the reason it is difficult to observe a single ‘global load manager’ in sport is because of the unique compensating factor represented by athletes’ adaptive capability that renders a luxury to coaches that most other professionals are not privy to.
Here is some transcript taken from the mentioned interview between Nolan and Musk in which Nolan’s question pertains to the ‘governing dynamics’ of Musk’s/Spacex’s pre-launch environment and Musk’s response, once again, epitomizes my definition of competence in the context of ‘global load management’. The text in bold has been highlighted so as to draw your attention to the type of questions that sport coaches must be held accountable to and how sport coaching education must evolve so as to allow any coach to answer the questions satisfactorily:
Nolan- We’re sitting in launch control and looking at the sheer amount of variables that you guys are clocking in those moments before the launch. Wind speed at different altitudes, and the status of all the different 27 engines…how do you manage, how do you…you’re very hands on with the details, but you’re also looking at the bigger picture. How do you manage your time? How do you parse, how do you zoom in and zoom out and make sure that all these things are coming together?
Musk- Well at Spacex almost all my time is spent on engineering and design. It’s probably 80 or 90%. And then Gwynne Shotwell, who’s president/chief operating officer, takes care of the business operations of the company; which is what allows me to do that. I think that in order to make the right decisions you have to understand something. If you don’t understand something at a detailed level, you cannot make a decision.
I’d like to just point out that what you saw there [footage of the recent Spacex launch], is the result of an incredible team at Spacex. Super talented people who really work like crazy to make that happen. I think my role is make sure that they have an environment where they, where their talents can really come to the fore.
Sport coaches, I encourage you to assimilate this Q&A between Nolan and Musk as being inspirational for the following analog being representative of the potential impact the “Governing Dynamics of Coaching” may have on sport coaching and the world of sport in general:
Sky Sports or ESPN: coach, in spending time with you during the week prior to competition I noticed how many quantitative variables you manage so expertly. You went from analytical film review in which you tracked the motion dynamics of your athletes and spoke the language of biomechanics, to the analysis of their sensory processing and how they mapped the visual field, to the mathematical strategizing and accounting for every exertion throughout each day no matter if it was tactical/competition rehearsal or some technical derivative of it, it seemed as if every motion the athletes performed, no matter where, was the model for mechanical efficiency in that moment, then you’d integrate psychological interventions based on the cutting edge of neuropsychological/neuroscientific/and psychiatric research, to ensuring that the loading of the athletes being rehabilitated was synthesized with competition preparation and their return to preparation with the other athletes was seamless. I noticed how you always had a blueprint with you that accounted for every single exertion your athletes performed throughout the day and how you effortlessly communicated with your sport preparatory engineer. I also thought it was unique how integrated the athletes were in problem solving. At times the only way I could distinguish athletes from your assistant coaches was by what they were wearing. How did you achieve this sort of culture and how are you able to be so hands on then zoom out to manage so many different variables of coaching and preparation?
Coach: what you saw this week is simply an example of what it means to be competent to do this job. Unlike what you probably see elsewhere, in which the head coach just has some knowledge of the rules of competition and tactical rehearsal, as the head coach I am the operational leader of the organization and this mandates that I have deep insight into every major subject matter domain that underpins coaching. We know from “The Governing Dynamics of Coaching” these subject matter domains are: cultural establishment, psychological preparation, analytical/intellectual advancement, technical/tactical/sensorimotor preparation, bioenergetic/biodynamic/biomotor and active physiotherapeutic integrations.
As a result, I have to possess a detailed and applied understanding of these domains and how to synthesize them into a coherent model. As the operational leader I am fortunate to have so many sharp assistant coaches/therapists, and my sport preparatory engineer. I run a flat hierarchy and encourage creative freedom from all of my people. Most important is that our culture is based upon criticism, conjecture, and creativity. No one, myself included, is above criticism and everyone, athletes included, is given a voice to criticize anyone else.
We do not recognize, in the administrative sense, any particular groups. So while I have assistant coaches whose intellect tends towards various domains of the “Governing Dynamics”, and my theorist (sport preparatory engineer), in the practical sense we all work together in problem solving and it is this type of cohesion that allows for anyone to potentially see problems in anyone else’s operations and contribute to that element of problem solving.
The blueprint you mentioned is a product of my theorist/sport preparatory engineer. Similar to an engineer in building, she engineers the actual workload for everything that we do. Every single rep of tactical/technical practice, every supportive specialized and general motion, and every aspect of active physio/rehabilitation is accounted for on the blueprint she engineers. As a theorist, she focuses exclusively on problem solving so similar to how theorists function in physics, and other areas of science, she is a resource for our entire organization. In effect, we are all experimentalists who rely upon her guidance and theories that we, as experimentalists, test in order to confirm or disprove them. This is the vehicle for constant progress.
You probably noticed we don’t have S&C people. If you think about it, it’s unusual that that fragmented profession ever began. Can you imagine a chef who doesn’t know how to prepare his food for cooking? Like chefs, all of my assistants are fully competent which means they’re coaching or rehabbing their athletes from start to finish each day. Our athletes aren’t with one staff in the morning and another staff later on. In this way, I function similar to a general contractor who orchestrates everyone else because I have knowledge of what they do, and all my assistant coaches/therapists function as sub-contractors. We all work off the single blueprint and have the creative freedom within our domains to tailor and individualize what is done from one athlete to the next. As different as this is from any other sport organization you’ve seen, it’s actually the most practical way to do it. We haven’t invented anything new here, it’s just that we’ve assimilated how things run operationally by so many other trades that don’t have the luxury of talented athletes to compensate for a lack of knowledge and cohesion.
You’re only an email away from starting the process of bringing this hypothetical scenario into fruition and achieving sport results you hadn’t yet imagined.
Email James@globalsportconcepts.net for consulting information on The Governing Dynamics of Coaching
The Independent Cycles of State-Space in Sport
"We are collectively ignorant compared to what we could be. We are a vast population, a vast world, lots of smart people/very capable people. We have many great tools, and we just don't pull that together into a consensus that we can use very well" - Robin Hanson
The wisdom contained in the quoted text from Robin Hanson is of universal relevance. In his linked discussion with Sam Harris, among many insightful offerings, Robin notes the prudence in identifying a neglected area that few people seem to be aware of and utilizing that opportunity to make a contribution.
This is precisely what I elected to do in writing “The Governing Dynamics of Coaching”.
Though, in sport, there are isolated pockets of insightful thinking, the fact that these insights are isolated is a problem. Though, it is only half of a larger binary problem; in which the other half exists as a lack of cohesive interdisciplinary knowledge underpinning the education of any individuals working in sport. This is approximate to the independent cycles of state-space systems in classical mechanics.
In classical mechanics, a system represents a collection of particles, fields, waves…and dynamical systems represent a certain level of change and complexity. A state-space is a collection of all states occupied by a given system. In sport, historically and currently, a 3 state system exists with three independent cycles in which sport coaching, physical conditioning, and active physiotherapy/rehab each constitute a state and an independent cycle; in which the loading of each cycle is independent from the next.
The problem with independent cycles of states in sport is that each one, in which an aspect of structural/neuromuscular loading occurs, exists incoherently with the others, because there is no underlying architectural/compositional framework that both synthesizes and accounts for everything done. In classical mechanics state-space diagrams, the arrows represent the directionality of time; in which one may clearly represent motion from one state to another, or unto itself (you can see the next state from the current state). This renders the deterministic character to classical mechanics (its predictive capability based upon the detailed knowledge of initial conditions); yet the dynamical laws of classical mechanics must not only be deterministic, they must be reversible. In this way, when the arrows are reversed they must still represent a deterministic system.
The first evolutionary step in amending this problem of independent state cycles in sport is what I refer to a sport preparatory engineering; in which an individual with the requisite interdisciplinary knowledge engineers the blueprint that cohesively unifies the existing divergent modes of preparation and rehabilitation. This then approximates how engineers function in building, in which the engineering underpins what is creatively (architecturally) achievable and the resulting blueprint underpins what is executed/physically instantiated by contractors.
Sport, on the other hand, is, and has been, curiously, tantamount to building without engineering or a blueprint- only contractors working independently of each other with respect to the fact that their work is not based upon a common blueprint; but three separate/independent blueprints. This clearly paints a disastrous notion in the context of building; yet the reason it is not immediately noticeable as disastrous in sport is because unlike building materials, the human adaptive capability of athletes allows them to self-correct.
Sport coaches, physical conditioning coaches, and physios may think of yourselves as contractors and while each contractor executes your own creative freedom in practice, the historical and existing problem in sport is described by the independent nature of your operations and the resulting cumulative load incurred by athletes. For this reason, the introduction of sport preparatory engineering will immediately resolve the existing dysfunction by connecting your independent state cycles with a common blueprint.
This is only the first step, however. As the ultimate state of evolution for sport is to advance to a two-state system in which sport coaching subsumes what has mistakenly diverged into sport coaching + physical conditioning. While this is the current dynamical state of nearly every sport program in the world, it is no less dysfunctional as this is not only tantamount to chefs who only know how to cook food, yet cannot prepare it to be cooked; it's worse because of the cumulative load impact resultant of different authors working independently of each other.
The future lies in unification to a two state system, in which sport coaches expand their interdisciplinary knowledge to account for all modes of preparation (which I've termed the Governing Dynamics of Coaching) and existing physical conditioning coaches either become sport coaches or sport preparatory engineers (which also mandates the expansion of interdisciplinary knowledge of The Governing Dynamics).
As much of a radical change is this symbolizes in sport, this merely approximates what has long since existed in many domains apart from sport in which the medium of tradecraft is far less forgiving than the adaptive capabilities of athletes, and has thusly required the systemic cohesion of all participants.
Sport preparatory engineering is the first step.
email James@globalsportconcepts.net for consulting information
A deepened understanding of mathematics provides anyone with an added dimensional perspective on the universe as whole. Such is the sentiment that was shared by the famed Charles Darwin who stated "I have deeply regretted that I did not proceed far enough at least to understand something of the great leading principles of mathematics; for men thus endowed seem to have an extra sense".
As this regards sport, and preparation as whole well beyond sport, I have found extraordinary utility in not only the analogs to be found from derivatives and integrals, but also a near literal translation of their mathematical roles to an applied setting in, for example, sport coaching.
In the mathematical sense, understand that derivatives are slopes of functions (rates of change) and with each subsequent derivative that is calculated another rate of change is found (and then it becomes a matter of how many dimensions one is working in as this determines the nature of the derivative). Alternatively, integrals are anti-derivatives in that they are sums/areas under curves in addition to three dimensional, and beyond, sums that account for volumes of solids and more.
What's to be understood here is that both derivatives and integrals are relative to functions from the standpoint that the first derivative taken, of a given function, is one step removed and an integral of that derivative brings you back to the original function. In this way, I draw your attention to any conceivable sport, or military tactical, motion and recognize this motion as a function. Preparatory motions may then arise as both derivatives taken from the sport motion in question as well as integrals that work their way towards the same sport motion. The significance is that the derivatives and integrals, in this example, are contextualized by the sport motion (function).
Sport jargon, while clearly helpful is no where near as universal as mathematical language, has brought us Dynamic Correspondence, Transfer of Training, and Special Strength Training; however, what each describes are processes predicated upon what they all share in common; which is their mathematical common ground. The closer the derivative or integral (preparatory motion) is to the original function (sport motion), in terms of a new set of criteria to be explained forthcoming, the greater the impact on improving the intended result on the respective sport motion.
The work of the esteemed Anatoly Bondarchuk and late Yuri Verkhoshansky gave us Training Transfer and Dynamic Correspondence, respectively; and to this I will ad criteria that are of apex significance in contexts in which they are intrinsic to the execution of the sport motion. The work of Bondarchuk and Verkhoshansky gave as all physical motion substrates to consider in terms of kinematics and kinetics. That stated, however, does not account for the psychomotor and sensorimotor aspects of motion execution that are often definitive in their realization. As a result, I propose that the criteria expand from biodynamic, bioenergetic, and biomotor considerations to:
psychomotor- the implications of conscious mental activity on motion
sensorimotor- the implications of sensory processing on motion
biomotor- output/kinesthetic (which relates to sensorimotor)
Of paramount importance is that the psychomotor and sensorimotor aspects of preparation be elaborated upon, and instructed, based upon the subtleties of each that underpin the motion in question.
The result of applying this expanded criteria, mathematically influenced from my perspective, to sport/military preparation is one that will ensure an even higher assurance that what's done in preparation will most significantly impact the preparatory objective.
You have my theoretical offering, experimentalists...the floor is yours.
Email James@globalsportconcepts.net for consulting information
The Static Institution of Sport
“Infinite ignorance is a necessary condition for there to be infinite potential for knowledge. Rejecting the idea that we are ‘nearly there’ is a necessary condition for the avoidance of dogmatism, stagnation, and tyranny.”
Yet sport remains entrenched in these progress halting factors and the solution to amending this requires a perceptual change.
In “The Beginning of Infinity” physicist David Deutsch provides one of the more information dense (i.e. knowledge per sentence) books that one might come across; apart from his first book “The Fabric of Reality”.
Of particular note, due to one of the book’s many principles of universal relevance, is the description of static and dynamic societies, that will heretofore be referenced in terms of the institution of sport. In short, static societies are ultimately authoritarian and tyrannical due to their resistance to
and supression of criticism and creativity. As a result, these societies are built upon dogma, as opposed to reason, that is forced upon its population and the lack of a tradition of criticism prevents progress. Dynamic societies, on the other hand, are built upon traditions of criticism that support creativity and, as a result, ongoing progress.
Perhaps to the surprise of many, is that sport is very much a static institution. The proof of this is relatively straight forward: Consider the accolades awarded to coaches based upon their athlete’s/team’s achievements and how these achievements are equated with said coaches method of coaching. In the context of logical argument this is known as affirming the consequent and is regarded as invalid and a fallacy. Simply put, one cannot utilize a ‘result’ as an opportunity to rationalize what led to the result. The reason- because of how many other possible causes there are for the same result to happen. Yet in sport, this logical truth is, and has been, violated since the dawn of sport. Further, this self-deception by which many individuals operate contributes to the authoritarian nature of how the majority of sport organizations are led in which culture’s are highly resistant to criticism and creativity is constrained to highly finite infrastructural boundaries. In order for sport teams/organizations to achieve objective progress, relative to the set of achievable possibilities, this fact must be recognized and steps must be taken to recitfy it. The size of the differential separating what is done in sport and what is actually doable, must not be underestimated.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for consulting information
Contrary to the perceptions of ESPN senior writers, the NFL Combine measures everything that doesn’t matter and nothing that does.
Remember, if everyone knows better, than they'd have done something about it by now See refutations of the article below and if you're interested in reading about the future of sport coaching, coaching education, and hiring coaches: https://www.amazon.com/dp/194620806X
Why is Doesn’t Matter Too Much: while the concept of starting and accelerating explosively is a premium commodity for the majority of field sport athletes, the 40 itself only has marginal relevance for the American football players whose positional requirements approximate unobstructed linear acceleration over that distance. This brings us to wide outs and corners, punt and kick returners and gunners, and, to a lesser extent, running backs. Most important to understand, however, is that a review of the top 10 wide outs and running backs of all time, demonstrates how few of them earned, or were capable of, “outstanding” performances in the 40
Why it is Mostly Irrelevant: typically associated with explosive power/ lower body power, those who offer these false claims lack an understanding of Newtonian Mechanics- which is to state the laws that govern macroscopic motion. Knowledge of this utterly fundamental field of subject matter demonstrates that power is a function of time as its component parts (force and velocity) are both functions of time. The result is that any measurement that does not account for the rate of motion per unit time cannot be associated with power. What the vertical jump tests is vertical displacement, regardless of time. In this way, the vertical jump tells most people something different than they think it does and only correlates to competitive situations in which the player’s vertical displacement, irrespective of time, is the determining factor.
Why it’s relatively Meaningless: the 20yd shuttle quantifies a motion that, for all intents and purposes, is unobservable in competition. Do you require more argument?
Why it is Mostly Irrelevant: see the explanation for the vertical jump’s relative lack of meaning and replace vertical displacement with horizontal displacement.
Why it’s relatively Meaningless: see the explanation for the 20yd shuttle’s relative lack of meaning.
225lb Bench Press for Reps
Why it is absolutely Meaningless: the one test whose lack of meaning is recognized by most evaluators. What’s more, however, the endeavor to do a thing as many times as possible, irrespective of time, mandates even more of a re-think.
The argument of primary significance is that the entirety of motions that are quantified at the NFL combine are ones that any athlete could perform exceptionally well in, whilst, not only never having competed in American football, not even knowing how. From this, every year the NFL combine remains as is, is another year in which all associated legislative personnel demonstrate their lack of understanding of what to measure.
Moral of the story: The NFL Combine measures everything that doesn’t matter and nothing that does.
Email James@globalsportconcepts.net for consulting information
Ask any executive chef, trained in the French discipline, any question regarding the operational specifics of Sous Chef, Chef de Commis, Chef de Partie, Saucier, Poissonnier, Rotisseur…and the executive will provide you with a tutorial on the intricacies of each responsibility and, most importantly, how they are synthesized into the composite of each meal item as a result of either a governing recipe (i.e. blueprint) or what has evolved from what began as a recipe into a broad and deep understanding of ingredient combinations that allow for creativity/improvisation to work because of the pre-existing governing understanding of the fundamentals.
Ask a general contractor a series of operational questions regarding roofing, electrical, plumbing, heating, cooling, framing, flooring, foundation…and the contractor will provide you with a tutorial on the various subcontractor specialties, why and how he sequences and coordinates their interplay the way he/she does, and, again most importantly, the explanation of how the sub-contractor work is synthesized into the composite of the building result of the blueprint(s) engineered by the engineers who possess an understanding of the fundamentals that contribute to the structural integrity of the building. The engineering is what ensures coherency between any number of sub-contractor achievements.
Head sport coaches…what are your answers to comparable operational questions regarding psychological preparation, technical skill development, sensorimotor training, the mechanisms of tactical understanding, derivative/supportive modes of preparation that underpin technical and tactical execution, and physiotherapeutic integrations…and how do you think your understanding of these domains that you govern compare to the Chef’s or General Contractor’s? Most importantly, how do you justify the absence of an engineered blueprint that underpins, accounts for, and cohesively binds all work required of your athletes either with you, assistant coaches of some type (sport, speed, weights…), and active regenerative and rehabilitative protocols?
Head Coaches, it is within your ability to demand that this type of knowledge, which is so ordinary in other industry leadership, is no longer so hard to find in sport. The result of you rivaling the knowledge and abilities of Executive Chefs, General Contractors, and many other industry leaders, and operating off of engineered “blueprints” that account for all ‘work’, will amount to paradigm shifting progress in your athletes/teams/organizations development and competitive results. The process begins with you recognizing that the problem exists, and your willingness to solve it.
The Governing Dynamics of Coaching is the book that explains the ‘what’, ‘why’, and ‘how’
Email James@globalsportconcepts.net for consulting information
Culture begins with genetically transferred information at the level of our genes and traces back throughout our genetic ancestry.
§ Once born, it becomes a set of ideas that influence all thought and behavior.
§ Throughout life, it manifests as the collective of human intellectual achievement.
§ It is the bedrock from which every conceivable action emerges and must not be thought of merely as a set of ethical values that resides in posters on the walls of your building.
Psychology is the apex of performance constituents and either amplifies or restricts every thought, skill, and ability of management, coaches, and athletes.
§ Psychological stress is one of the most misunderstand facets of public consciousness.
§ It is not an unavoidable factor, it is, in fact, highly preventable; given the appropriate preparation.
§ Passion is the last quality you want in any coach or athlete as it represents volatility and unreliability in decision making and action
Knowledge does not derive from any set of experiences and thus renders time in the profession and any successes null and void.
§ It is not the experience itself, but the criticism, conjecture, testing, error correction, and creativity applied to that which is sensed that results in knowledge gained or created.
Technique is to tactics as grammar is to dialogue
§ Tactics are an aggregate of sensory processing, decision making, and action and same as dialogue, tactical execution is only as optimized as the mechanics of motion (technique) that substantiate it
§ The global conception of ‘sport practice’ is a misconstrued tip of an iceberg in that not only is it incorrect, it also represents a minute fraction of what is achievable (the ~90% of the iceberg’s mass under the water)
Sport Preparatory Engineering is the missing link in sport preparation
§ Coaching is currently an analog of:
o Building contractors working without a common blueprint; in which each sub-contractor is performing their work based upon their own blueprint
o An orchestra in which each section (strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion…) is performing a different composition
o A Hollywood movie in which each actor is renders lines from a different script
o Because sport coaches write their own ‘blueprint’, strength coaches write theirs, and rehabilitation specialists write theirs, each faction operating independent of the other. In musical terms this is referred to as cacophony (google it) and the only reason athlete/team results aren’t entirely disastrous, and sometimes even quite good, is because of the human adaptability that allows athletes to survive this glaring mismanagement of workload
§ Sport Preparatory Engineering represents the ‘engineer’ that you’re operating without, who has an exceptional understanding of rehabilitation, recovery/regeneration, technical/tactical and all derivative forms of preparations and is thusly qualified to engineer the single blueprint from which all contractors (coaches/specialists) operate.
Global Load Management is the future tradecraft skill of head sport coaching
§ This skill renders head coaches as qualified as general contractors, orchestral conductors, movie directors…who have an exceptional grasp of all of the domains in which they govern
§ What you have read here is an insight to “The Governing Dynamics of Coaching”
Email James@globalsportconcepts.net for consulting information and join the international and professional sport teams, business leadership, and military special operations personnel who already have
The following reality exists amidst universal considerations: any physical transformation is achievable so long as it does not violate a known law of physics; and the only reasons a physical transformation is unachievable, if it does not violate a known law of physics, is that there isn't enough knowledge to solve it yet, or it violates a law of physics that has yet to be discovered. The analog to this, regarding the single fixed constraint governing sport/military tactical possibilities, are the rules/laws or rules of engagement, respectively.
It is a foregone conclusion that the laws of physics exist and ultimately constrain physical transformations, however, the physical transformations constrained by the laws of physics exist well beyond the scope of most human powered motion objectives; and therefore, pose no practical constraint against an athletic or military tactical possibility- specifically regarding a non-technological/mechanical human capability.
The rules/laws of sport and military, however, are fixed constraints (lest they be amended) and these constraints are simultaneously liberating mechanisms in that any tactical approach is possible, provided ...
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Contrary to public misconception, we do not gain understanding knowledge by imitation.
The reality is that “All knowledge is conjectural, and comes from within at first”- David Deutsch
What this signifies, though non-intuitively at first and in refutation of the fallacy of Empiricist claims, is that we do not gain or create knowledge by way of observing, bearing witness, watching, listening, being mentored, or in any other way explicit derivation. Imitation, sure, but not explanatory knowledge.
In order to gain or create knowledge, we, often unconsciously and especially in the case of ‘relative’ knowledge gain (some knowledge that is already known elsewhere), always, and without exception, criticize, conjecture, and test/experiment in order to arrive at our own understanding. If not, we do not know, and merely repeat/mimic- which, is a sort of knowledge (how to copy), however, not the level of understanding type that is assumed.
In sport, and elsewhere, however, a propensity to seek ‘recipes’ instead of methodological understanding is the driving mechanism behind the relatively static environment of sport culture. The explanatory reason for the ‘stasis’ is rooted in the suppression of critical faculties/reasoning and creativity that is overshadowed by dogma and received wisdom.
According to the rules of sentential/propositional logic (the logic of implication) it is invalid, and a fallacy, to affirm the consequence of the antecedent.
If antecedent, then consequent, or in logic, If A, then B
If A, then B
This logical fallacy is what coaching thrives upon and is, in fact, a violation of correct reasoning (affirming the consequent). In words this reads:
If I use this coaching method, then we will win the game.
We won the game
Therefore, it’s because of the coaching method
This is, and has been, in effect, the bedrock of sport coaching and it violates the rules of correct reasoning. The ends cannot justify the means. The most that can be done is the exact opposite (affirm the antecedent):
If A, then B
This presupposes the theory, that was criticized and attempts were made to refute it, is what is represented by A, and thus, it is rational to suggest that if this is done, the result will follow.
The amount of champions, or championship wins, a coach has associated with his/her name means ZERO with respect to their coaching knowledge. It is only a coach’s knowledge that has the possibility of developing championship level performances; yet the sport results can never explain the coach’s knowledge. The coach’s knowledge is only demonstrable via his/her explanations, and knowledge of logic in general, specifically the rules of propositional logic and correct reasoning, provide a criterion for analyzing such explanations.
Email James@globalsportconcepts.net for consulting information on coach hiring, interview preparation, and education