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When we grade the magnitude of impact of a professional we must account for all factors related to the impact itself.
As this regards coaching, particularly at the youth level, we must begin by acknowledging the behavioral impact on young people who, in the pre-adolescent stage, receive, according to evolutionary psychologists and biologists, a more profound behavioral impact from peers than they do their own parents.
Now, square this against the influence from coaches who, even if they only interact with the youths twice per calendar week, are influencing them in such a way that must be recognized according to the degree in which the youths are interested in participating in the sport.
Thus, any youth athletes who are keenly interested in sport will, arguably, receive a substantial behavioral influence, by association, from their youth coach. I state this as a conjecture relative to the influence their peers have and the fact that the more peers they have who are also keenly interested in learning sport the more that social unit is focused on the direction from the coach.
Further, we have the physical impact to account for which scales all the way up to the highest level of sport.
What occurs in so many sports, around the world, without argument, is physical abuse; and the other thing that distinguishes this physical abuse from the type that occurs in domestic violence is that the bulk of what occurs in sport manifests through negligence as opposed to intent.
In my argument, the potential for psychological, emotional, cognitive, and physical abuse from sport coaches overwhelms, by many orders of magnitude, any amount of incompetence that occurs at the level of, for example, a pediatrician, or any other sort of doctor, because sport coaches are, at once, in contact with groups of youths, young adults, or adults AND because the system of error correction that exists in the enterprises of medicine, science, technology...is simply absent in sport.
It is the error correction, not found in sport, that explains the exponential growth of knowledge in STEM that has not occurred in sport.
Sport, unlike STEM, is rooted, more than anything, in dogmatism. The OPPOSITE of what allows STEM to flourish and the antithesis to progress.
When we speak of the brain, behavior, and the body, and the potential damage done to each athlete by way of sport coaches who lack :
- a critical rationalist epistemology that allows for cultures of criticism, creativity, and ongoing knowledge creation
- emotional regulation to lead by calm-focused and demonstrate the merits of rational thinking, logic, and reason; all of which set an extraordinary behavioral example
- knowledge of behavioral subtypes and the effective language skills to modulate communication across various groups
- cognitive awareness of pedagogical, heutagogical, and andragogical modes of teaching to optimize the tactical/technical development of groups of athletes who vary wildly in their cognitive disposition
- and the understanding of load engineering so as to optimize all modes of preparation for competition
Then perform the mathematical operation of accounting for all the athletes in the world, no matter the level, amateur/professional, from youth to the senior level, we can appreciate the amount of people on earth who, by way of their amateur or professional participation in sport, were/are/will be subject to varying degrees of psychological, emotional, cognitive, and physical abuse by an incompetent sport coach.
...because, sport lacks both the system of error correction, that substantiates so many STEM domains and explains their fantastic progress, and a sufficient objective criteria, such as the one I outline in "The Governing Dynamics of Coaching", for establishing baseline coaching competency.
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"How do you describe things that don't randomly happen? If they don't randomly happen, you have to have some kind of quantitative framework for explaining what happened"- Physicist Leonard Susskind
Attention: every coach, of every sport, in every country, on every level, on planet earth... As I've described, and continue to, the quantitative nature of every facet of sport extends beyond motion. Difficult though it is, so many facets of psychology, sensory processing, and cognition (the underlying frameworks of tactical execution) are routinely quantified in the laboratory. Shelving this, however, there's utterly no controversy surrounding the quantifiable modes of measuring motion.
Sport, in the language of motion, then becomes quantities of force, mass, and acceleration- the components of Sir Isaac Newton's Laws of Motion; from which, so many derivations may be made to answer questions of different quantities (i.e. momentum, power, work, velocity, impulse, impact, linear, angular...).
And no human motion that occurs in sport is random.
Every sport technical execution is the action of a decision.
- Throwing In
- Boxing Out
- Front Headlocks
- Ankle Picks
- Double Legs
- Single Legs
- Gator Rolls
Every sport technical motion, the physical actions that clearly and unmistakably distinguish Association football from American Football from Water Polo, are the actions that result from decisions. And every single human action (motion) is both a product of intention/reaction (not random) and quantifiable.
To what extent is the preparation for competition quantified?
Show me what 12 weeks of competition calendar practice looks like.
Show me the detail of your strategy and tactical preparation.
Show me the series, sets, repetitions, intensities, durations, frequencies, quantities of work and rest of every facet of tactical preparation.
What does it look like?
Do these questions look like ones you'd dish off to your fitness coach? If so, that's because quantitative knowledge in sport has mistakenly been relegated to specialists apart from sport coaches.
You think it's the language of sport science, or fitness to discuss such matters.
AND THAT IS THE PROBLEM
The most quantified nature of team/combat sport coaching isn't occurring in the most important aspects of coaching (tactical/technical preparation). It's occurring in weight rooms, sprinting , jumping...but not in tactical/technical preparation.
One hears words such as sets, repetitions, intensities, and durations and one thinks, aha, strength and conditioning (a literal conundrum)
When in fact, not only is S&C redundant (because conditioning is an action verb equal to preparation, of which strength is a component), it shouldn't even exist.
Does the cook require a food preparation specialist who gets the ingredients ready for cooking, or does the cook prepare AND cook the food?
Is Lionel Messi (football) , or Tom Brady (NFL) , or Stephen Curry (NBA), or Israel Folau (Rugby), or Kyle Snyder (Wrestling), or Khabib Nurmogomedov (UFC), or James Anderson (Cricket) superior, relative, to their national and international competitors because of their bench press, or squat, or 60m sprint, or vertical jump...?
The answer is a resounding, definitive, irrefutable NO.
The superiority of every single exceptional team and combat sport athlete lies in their tactical/technical execution which are products of psychology, sensory processing, cognition, and physical motion.
Do gross physical qualities matter? Of course.
Are the gross physical qualities, alone, the difference maker in team/combat sport competition- NO
Even regarding the physical qualities you must recognize the spectrum on which they are plotted.
Messi's remarkable control of the ball in time and space is, in part, a manifestation of physical work, however, it is the nuance/subtlety of physical action (guided by the motor cortex) that results in the fine motor coordination required to dribble and manipulate the ball so precisely. This is NOT a factor of how much he can squat, or what type of leg exercises he does in the weight room.
What about Steph Curry's extraordinary 3 point shooting skill/consistency, or Khabib Nurmogomedov's unparalleled ground control, or Tom Brady's speed of release and accuracy in throwing the American football, or Israel Folau's phase play capabilities, or the dynamics of James Anderson's bowling, or even Kyle Snyder's ability to defeat significantly larger opponents in the US collegiate system? Are these superb athlete's skills explainable solely by way of weights lifted, how much, what type, how often? The answer is unmistakably NO.
Even in the case of sport tactical/technical actions that are largely constituted by high force, such as facets of wrestling, Rugby, or American Football...it is a question of how the force is applied. This explains why Kyle Snyder, impressive though he is in the weight room, would humiliate any world class 100kg powerlifter or weightlifter in wrestling who, likewise, would humiliate Kyle in a contest of solely lifting barbells.
When we speak of quantities such as force, acceleration, velocity, angular momentum, alactic power, aerobic capacity...the thinking of sport coaches must not become cognitively closed and divert this to the talk of fitness.
When I strip away your jargon, and you can no longer refer to it as batting practice, shooting drills, wrestling drills, tackling drills, 4 v 4, or 6 v 6, you must then use the languages of motion and energy.
This is why I describe the future of sport coaching in terms of sport preparatory engineering, in which tactical/technical preparation becomes substantially more quantified in terms of series, sets, repetitions, durations, intensities, and frequencies in order to unify what has been historically, and remains, fragmented.
When dealing with things more quantitatively we then possess the ability to engineer with greater reliability and consistency of outcome.
This is explains why you, at this very moment, if you're sitting, have not once thought about the structural integrity of the chair you're sitting in or whether the ceiling might collapse on your head. The codes that had to be met in order to bring to market your furniture or private or commercial construction are such that reliability is built in to the process. Otherwise, if furniture and roofs were routinely collapsing, furniture manufactures and builders would be out of business.
What about sports?
Do Messi, Brady, Curry, Anderson, Nurmogomedov, Snyder, or Folau have the ability to still perform exceptionally in contests even if the content and structure of the preceding week of practice is remarkably non-quantitative and poorly structured and sequenced relative to the type of objective analysis I describe in "The Governing Dynamics of Coaching"...?
The reason why is because the human body is an adaptive organism. It heals, it corrects, it overcomes shoddy instruction. UNLIKE furniture, building materials, or the food you eat.
If you, or the person cooking your food, overcooks the protein only marginally, it's IMMEDIATELY recognizable. The beef, fish, chicken does not self-correct, it does not recover, it cannot overcome being overcooked. It's just irreversibly overcooked and whoever overcooked is immediately exposed.
What about if you overcook your football players, basketball players, rugby players, wrestlers, or fighters? Is it as immediately recognizable as the steak, fish, or chicken that chews like rubber? Can your team or athletes still win? Are you as quickly exposed as the person who overcooked your filet mignon?
We know the objectively truthful answer is that as a coach, you can do a poor job coaching and 'overcook' your athletes, and they can still win.
So what happens when you take the sort of approach to coaching tactical and technical preparation as the engineers took in putting the plans together to build the stadiums that your athletes compete in?
What would sport (tactical/technical) practice look like?
I wrote "The Governing Dynamics of Coaching" to answer this question.
I explain how do to it.
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Psychological Preparation Review
I originally reached out to James for physical programming however was quickly drawn into his psychological preparation training as well. The whole operator concept is often preached and the importance of training mind is significantly more important than training body. Training the mind has often been an obscure and intangible concept to me, however James has sense changed my opinion and my knowledge of the subject.
James and myself utilized weekly 30 minute phone calls for 12 weeks to increase my understanding of different psychological concepts. Essentially changing the way I thought and perceived information. I was initially very skeptical about the idea, however I can honestly say I have a much deeper understanding and respect for training my mind just as much as my body.
Though 12 weeks isn’t that long of a period of time I can already see results in the way my mind perceives and absorbs information. I foresee myself continuing to work with James well into the future, and furthering my knowledge on the concepts included in psychological preparation.
Active Duty Special Operations Soldier
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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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