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The Void of Explanatory Knowledge in Sport

Problems

As discussed in “The Governing Dynamics of Coaching”, sport is in its infancy. This is an objective fact. The overwhelming majority of sports, around the world, are less than 100 years old, and the professional sports are younger still. More consequential than the young age of sport, however, is the fact that the culture of sport is, by nature, dogmatic. This is made possible by the factor that provides all sport coaches with an extraordinary room for error that is not granted to most other professionals- the unique compensating mechanisms of athletes.

Every sport coach has a margin for error that is, by comparison, many factors greater than that shared by even the most parochial of other professionals. Consider a line cook at a fast food restaurant: this person cooking hamburgers is, whether you’ve thought about this or not, held to a phenomenally higher standard than any sport coach in the history of sport; because if that hamburger is overcooked or undercooked by the slightest margin, this error is immediately recognizable by the consumer. Alternatively, in sport, the ability for athletes to overcome being “overcooked” or “undercooked” is the factor that allows for incredible misconceptions to exist in sport that are untenable in the majority of other professions. This factor is adaptability.

Unlike a hamburger, or the building materials used by builders, or the engine components used by mechanics…the human body is an extraordinarily adaptive system. Neither cooks, builders, mechanics, or a host of other professionals can rely, consciously or not, on the adaptability of the materials of their tradecraft to save them if they demonstrate incompetence during the cooking, building, repairing… something every sport coach in the world is privy to.

Human beings, same as all other biological entities, have, quite literally, regenerative ability. Cells repair, cuts, bruises, and fractures heal, muscles recover and this combined with the multi-factorial nature of sport (i.e. multiple contributing mechanisms that can in no way be attributed to a single person) renders a unique conundrum:

·      If a team/athlete performs exceptionally well, particularly over time, it must have something to do with exceptional coaching

·      But if a team/athlete gets dominated by another team or athlete, they just got beat by a better team or athlete

Imagine if the same flawed logic granted the same leeway to cooks, builders, and car mechanics when things go wrong:

·      That was the worst meal I’ve ever had, must just be a bad batch of ingredients

·      The roof on my new condo started leaking after one month, must have something to do with the shingles

·      I was having problems with my transmission for months. I brought it to the mechanic and it ran well for two days and now it runs even worse than when I brought it into the shop. Guess it’s just the car.

Clearly, no such ignorance is offered by restaurant goers, home or car owners, yet naïve apologies exist in myriad proportions in sport. What’s more, however, this combined with sport coaching’s hierarchical nature, allows for the dogmatism to be compounded by draconian edicts that are either directly administered by the hierarchy or exist in terms of unspoken rules that all subordinates are aware of; all of which are a product of the dysfunctional culture of sport in general.  

Solutions

The solution for overcoming sport’s dogma and received wisdom, no matter how prevalent they are proffered in coaching education and coaching conferences, is the cultivation of cultures that are based upon criticisms and conjectures that are qualified by their contained explanatory depth.

For those who own “The Governing Dynamics of Coaching”, recall physicist David Deutsch’s definition of a good explanation being “one that is hard to vary while still explaining what it purports to explain”. Now square this against what you know exists within the sports world, both in terms of the quality of criticisms and reasons for winning or losing and note how familiar the following reads:

·      I’m the right coach for the job because every staff I’ve been part of has won

·      Did you see what that coach did on 3rd down, what an idiot

·      No, we’re going to do it this way because this is what we did when we won a championship

·      That’s a lousy idea

·      We won because we made less mistakes than they did

·      The reason we lost, we didn’t execute to our potential

·      I worked with her, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about

·      Credit to my opponent, he was the better man today

What all of these statements have in common is that they are bad explanations because of how shallow they are in explanatory depth (easy to vary).

Further, note how an explanation can be true, yet still bad because of how easy it is to vary:

A coin is tossed and it lands on tails:

·      It landed on tails because the ‘heads’ side is facing down

Alternatively, note how an explanation can be robust, yet bad because it fails due to its intrinsic bad logic and/or does not pertain to the subject matter:

A coin is tossed and it lands on tails:

·      Well the reason it landed on tails, and not heads, is because of Newton’s 3rd law. The coin tosser initiated the toss with the tails side facing down and because every action has an equal and opposite reaction the coin landed with the tail side facing up.

This explanation is bad, but not because it’s easy to vary. It’s bad because it makes no sense relative to Newton’s 3rd law nor to the outcome of a coin toss.

Explanatory depth is two factored:

·      It must be difficult to vary

·      It must precisely adhere to the subject matter

Once these criteria are consistently met in one’s explanations, the value of their criticisms and conjectures rises commensurately.

Now, the bad explanations previously listed:

·      I’m the right coach for the job because every staff I’ve been part of has won

·      Did you see what that coach did on 3rd down, what an idiot

·      No, we’re going to do it this way because this is what we did when we won a championship

·      That’s a lousy idea

·      We won because we made less mistakes than they did

·      The reason we lost, we didn’t execute to our potential

·      I worked with her, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about

·      Credit to my opponent, he was the better man today

…become:

·      I’m confident in my ability to lead this team because of my subject matter knowledge in all relevant domains that pertain to coaching (The Governing Dynamics of Coaching), my ability to self-regulate my emotions and operate efficiently amidst any possible set of circumstances, I interact and communicate well with people in any variety of age groups and socio-economic backgrounds, and I will foster a culture that embraces a flat hierarchy, criticism, conjecture, and rational thinking.

·      That third down call was a poor decision because, statistically, the opponent showed blitz 87% of the time on anything longer than 3rd and 5 and that 3rd and 7 play call left the extra defender unguarded so the sack may as well have been handed to them.

·      No, we’re going to do it this way because it is the most rational solution that has been presented and it has held up to every possible criticism thus far

·      That’s a lousy idea because it is much too easy to vary and it doesn’t even pertain to the problem

·      Only after a quantitative analysis of the game will I be able to tell you why we won

·      Only after a quantitative analysis of the game will I be able to tell you why we lost

·      I worked with her, she was always highly resistant to criticism and would tirelessly defend her ignorant arguments, while remaining unwilling to reason

·      Credit to my opponent, he won. As to why he won and I lost, I’ll only be able to tell you that after a quantitative analysis of the competition.

This knowledge must be assimilated into sport if:

·      owners, managers, and athletic directors are to become more competent in interviewing and selecting coaches

·      cultures are to be established that account for far more than ethical standards and begin to approach the collective of human intellectual achievement by way of embracing criticism and conjecture

·      coaches are to maximize the relevance of what occurs in and out of practice, the optimization of weeks of preparation, and the extent to which it is assimilated by athletes

·      and teams and organizations as a whole are to operate closer to the limits of the human potential of each of their employees

All of which is decided by knowledge, and one’s ability to demonstrate their understanding of any possible subject matter is decided by the nature of their explanations.

contact James@globalsportconcepts.net for consulting information

 

Entries in this blog

Negligence in Coaching

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.  The Governing Dynamics of Coaching on Vervante (suggested for international customers) The Governing Dynamics of Coaching on Amazon    

James Smith

James Smith

Coaching Philosophy

Coaches, let's say you construct and coach practices based upon an understanding of how best to improve competition results. The question, however, is what is your understanding; and more importantly, what is your epistemology?   Epistemology is the theory of knowledge and it is central towards your perception, in general, of the world and reality. It underpins what you see from your athletes and how you make sense of what you see.   No matter how talented and hard working your athletes are, It is insufficient to conceptualize coaching based solely upon a knowledge of the laws/rules of the sport, the varied tactical approaches to out execute the competition, and a surface level appreciation/understanding of culture, psychology, and technical development.   It is critical that you take seriously your epistemology and whether or not it would serve you, your organization, your athletes, your family... to modify or change it. Clearly, you must first identify what it is.   Are you an Empiricist, who equates knowledge with experience?   Are you an Idealist, who thinks knowledge is innate?   Are you a Constructivist, who thinks knowledge is a product of human constructions- distinct from unbiased discoveries of objective truth?   Are you a Pragmatist, who selects a reference for determining what is true based upon its practical applicability in the world?   Are you a Fallibilist, who refutes the idea that one can have a good reason for a belief?   Are you a Critical Rationalist, who thinks all knowledge is conjectural and can only be created through conjecture and refutation?   These are only some examples of philosophies/epistemologies and how integral their significance is with respect to how you perceive and think about the world, and more specifically, sport, your staff, your coaches, your athletes, your families...and how to improve the results of competition, cultural establishment, tactical understanding and execution, technical skill, psychological preparation, well-being, professional competency, and life outside and beyond sport.   The discussion of subject matter such as this often renders the question- can you recommend any books that address this subject matter as it regards sport and coaching?   The Governing Dynamics of Coaching  

James Smith

James Smith

Criticism to Evolve Sport Coaching

Criticism to test the open mindedness of sport professionals. Though not for an inflammatory purpose. To the contrary, to inspire evolution; as criticism lies at the bedrock of knowledge creation.   The foundations of sport coaching reside in parochialism, nepotism, gerontocracy, dogmatism, traditionalism, and received wisdom. The entire lot of which are the bulwarks of progress.   Strip away the technological advances that are ubiquitous in sport analytics, diagnostics, and measurement...focus only on coaching methods, practice, and drills, and one is hard pressed to note remarkable change in comparing what is done today, in sport practices, to what was done 50 years ago.   In order for sport coaching and practice to experience the same type of exponential advance as is seen in Silicon Valley it must assimilate comparable cultures that are rooted in criticism, best ideas win, collaboration, innovation, and perhaps above all...a self-driven initiative of all coaches, no matter your tenure, to remain students of learning throughout the entirety of your career.   Instead, however, and particularly once coaches reach the professional level, an unspoken dysfunctional culture exists in which dedicated learning nearly comes to a halt. Coaching conferences amount to the professional level coaches, if you even go, socializing in the common areas as 'one wouldn't dare admit he has much to learn by openly demonstrating his continuing education'. Lest when the time comes that the athletes/team aren't winning, and the draconian finger begins to point looking for a scapegoat, it lands on the coach whose open efforts to learn more suggest to the 'authority' that this open admission that there's more to learn is somehow related to the deficiency associated, via confirmation bias, to the lack of competitive success.   The problem must be solved by correcting for the errors that exist at the very top of an organization; at the highest executive level in which the owners, CEOs, presidents, and managers must be educated to the magnitude of knowledge that goes unknown, yet underpins the fabric of every perception, every thought, every decision, and every action of administrators, staff, coaches, and athletes down to the level of tactical execution.   At present, the perception of what is relevant in coaching is tantamount to the visible portion of an iceberg. This visible portion is only 10% of the iceberg's total mass. The remaining 90% exists unseen, beneath the surface of the water. Yet this 90% constitutes the overwhelming majority of the iceberg. Just the same, the 90% unknown in coaching represents the solutions to every problem that is not yet even recognized by coaches as existing, yet the existence of these problems explains the lack of achieving what is achievable in addition to every hope or expectation that is not realized.   The talent and abilities of professional athletes represent one of the most potent compensators for vulnerabilities at the level of coaching and management.   This dynamic allows for large scale errors to continue to go unnoticed, and even masquerade as coaching excellence, because a talented athlete that works hard can win, IN SPITE OF incompetent coaching.   I thought very hard about this for over ten years, and my solution was to write a book that would serve as the catalyst for causing the largest scale paradigm shift in the history of sport coaching.   Click to purchase:    The Governing Dynamics of Coaching  

James Smith

James Smith

The Knowledge Horizon in Sport

Sport coaches, in principle, all horizons function the same. Meaning, they represent the boundary separating the seen and unseen; and the closer one attempts to get to them, the farther they move away. What is critical to recognize, however, is that amidst one's attempt to approach them, no matter never reaching them, one continues to cover more ground. This is progress. Now, consider the knowledge horizon of sport. How would you characterize it? What does it mean to be as knowledgeable as possible as a sport coach along with possessing the ability to practically apply the knowledge in any set of conditions? How many subject matter domains do you think constitute this set of knowledge for optimizing sport coaching? What do you think you, your athletes, your team, your staff, your organization... would be able to achieve if every member of your organization was unified in their objective to work towards this horizon and educated on the process? I thought very carefully about this for well over a decade and concluded that objective sport coaching knowledge is governed by what I refer to as "The Governing Dynamics of Coaching": - Culture
- Psychology
- Analysis
- Intellect
- Tactics
- Technique
- Sensorimotor 
- Bioenergetics
- Biodynamics
- Biomotor
- Physiotherapy The key, however, is that these mustn't be segregated in their understanding and application- which is exactly what does occur, and has occurred, in sport. In my argument, what everyone must understand, at the level of a successful thesis argument defense, is that the unified understanding of these subject matter domains is what constitutes an acceptable baseline competency for coaching in general- and scales up from there. "The Governing Dynamics of Coaching" represents an encyclopedic reference with the potential to redefine global coaching education and qualification. email james@globalsportconcepts.net for consulting information The Governing Dynamics of Coaching    

James Smith

James Smith

Criticize the Canons of Sport

Coaches of sport, you undoubtedly seek to win and presumably were indoctrinated into traditions of coaching based upon methods of coaching that are/were associated with winning. What's also likely true, however, is that you were NOT indoctrinated into a culture of criticizing those traditions- no matter the success of the athletes or teams associated with the coaching methods that have become canonical in your sport. The reason for this statement is because unlike the fields of engineering, medicine, aviation, aerospace, science, technology... as whole, in which the difference between what was done 10, 20, 30, 40...years ago and what is currently being done is DRAMATIC, many sport coaching methods, across professional and Olympic sport, have remain UNCHANGED for over half a century or more. In many ways, the most marked changes in sport lie more so in terms of the apparel, equipment, and analytical methods and technologies, but not in coaching itself. This is because the culture of global sport coaching is largely dogmatic and resistant to change- no matter how much supportive aspects of its periphery change (i.e. nutrition, physiotherapy, weight rooms...) The future of coaching necessitates that it embrace and be built upon cultures of criticism that create the opportunities for coaching methods to evolve commensurate with so many professional domains that have evolved by orders of magnitude beyond sport. Innovation is the key and cultures of criticism are its bedrock. The "Governing Dynamics of Coaching" could very well be the book that changes and evolves what you thought would stand the test of time. And the result may be results you've never imagined. The Governing Dynamics of Coaching    

James Smith

James Smith

Evolve Sport Coaching by Ending Strength Coaching

Sport coaches, task yourself with assuming an objective (non-emotional, and purely factual) reference frame such that your perspective for considering this write up is not influenced by any possible bias or preconception. Now, ask yourself if your “strength coach”, if you have one, is a positive or negative component of your organization. The key, is to ask yourself this question based upon the objective knowledge of what is required to optimize your athlete’s competition results. Your athlete’s competition outcome is a product of their competition performance. Their performance is a function of the aggregate of what substantiates their skill and competitiveness. This aggregate is predominantly a composite of psychological state and tactical execution. The tactical execution is a function of sensory processing, access to working memory, and technical execution. Their technical execution, over the course of competition, is supported by physiological, biomechanical, and output related factors. The ‘strength’ coach’s education is ill-conceived. It is NOT a product of “this is the sport, this is the sport structure, and these are modes of enhancing the skill of improving competition outcomes”. It’s a function of “this is a weight room, this a tool, this method of using the tool causes this adaptation in the body” Thus, analogous to Elon Musk’s criticism of education in which he chastises convention for teaching about tools as opposed to the engine, how to disassemble it, and then elucidating the tools purpose, you must question whether what your strength coach is prioritizing, in fact, has anything to do with improving sport skill. This, then, mandates, that YOU, sport coaches, have a quantitative understanding of sport skill. Which is to state, that you must have an objective mode of measuring skill improvement such that the most important indicator exists to determine if all supportive modes of sport preparation are, in fact, supporting improvements in sport skill. Understand, that the prevention of injuries is a substrate of competition outcome because the injuries that occur in preparation and contests are detractors to competition outcome.  Thus, if no quantitative improvement in sport skill is measured, and injuries are not reduced, then the additional psychological, physiological, and structural cost of “doing what the strength coach says” is not a positive attribute- it is a negative one. The extra 10kgs on this or that exercise, the extra cm’s distance on this jump, are meaningless, if no quantitative improvement occurs in sport skill. Consider a simplified example: a female 100m sprinter has a personal best of 11.0sec. She increases her squat 5RM by 15kg, her power clean 1RM by 10kg, and her standing broad jump by 10cm and for the remainder of her season she fails to run faster than 11.0. What use was the improvements in the squat, power clean and broad jump? No competition improvement occurred, however, the psychological, physiological, and structural cost of all the work that went into increasing the squat, power clean, and jump were a profound competing stress against THE MOST IMPORTANT part of sport preparation- SPRINTING. So, consider, what is the nature of these competing demands being placed on your athletes who compete on, or in, tracks, pitches, ice rinks, courts, courses, mats, cages or pools? Do you have the diagnostic means in place to determine causal links? Or do you exist under the misconception that when your “strength” coach reports the improvements in non-specific aspects of preparation, you consider it a job well done- while not actually knowing whether the “strength” work positively improved sport skill or reduced injury. If this has piqued your interest, consider having a look at the book that was written to evolve and revolutionize sport coaching itself: The Governing Dynamics of Coaching

James Smith

James Smith

LTAD Out... LTSD In

Coaches, consider what it takes for an athlete to reach national or international level success. what might you suggest to a young athlete who aspires one day to represent their nation or compete on a professional level? The models on offer regard long-term athlete development (LTAD) which espouse a multi-lateral engagement in sport and the establishment of a broad set of skills and abilities that focus over time. What if this standardized model, no matter how well intentioned, is dramatically flawed and quite different than what is actually optimal? It's entirely uncontroversial to state that individualized teaching corresponds to optimal learning. Yet we see something much different happening in sport, at all levels. Standardized modes of coaching/education invariably cater to mediocrity; as the high achievers are not challenged enough and those with different developmental needs lag behind. Further, the notion of all young athletes participating in a variety of sports, no matter their psychological or biomechanical variability, is tantamount to encouraging a child with a speech pathology to just engage in as many social situations as they can to sort it out. LTAD is, in my argument, a non-starter. Failed from the outset and what must supplant it is Long-Term Sport Development (LTSD) in which, from the earliest stages, competent coaching characterizes the optimal dosing of 'The Governing Dynamics of Coaching' in which every subject matter domain that governs sport coaching is addressed in the coaching. According to my argument, the overriding, and objective, mandate for coaching competency is that any competent coach have an applied understanding of ‘The Governing Dynamics of Coaching’. Further, the criteria for understanding should be thought of as the successful defense of a thesis in which the coach is defending a thesis argument on each one of the ‘Governing Dynamics of Coaching’. In this way, the explanatory knowledge must serve to demonstrate a thesis defense level understanding of these knowledge domains that unequivocally govern the coaching of sport. Working in derivative fashion from sports themselves as opposed to building up towards them on the basis of general qualities that are something much different than the qualities that actually underpin sport skills. This is the "The Governing Dynamics of Coaching":
https://www.amazon.com/dp/194620806X Listen to this podcast to hear Long-Term Sports Development being discussed:
https://robbiebourke.podbean.com/e/episode-178-james-smith…/

James Smith

James Smith

A Building Analogy as the Future of Sport Coaching

Sport coaches, take a few minutes to consider an analogy... You function as a type of building contractor, and if you have assistant coaches and you coach a sport with different athletes playing different positions, each position coach is a different type of sub-contractor; in addition to the coaches who specialize in the weight room, and the specialists who conduct active rehabilitation. A staff of different types of contractors and sub-contractors. Much different from actual building sub-contractors, however, the aggregate of you, your assistant coaches, weight room coaches, and rehabilitation coaches are operating void of a unified blueprint. Instead, each group of contractors and sub-contractors are operating on the basis of their own blueprint. Imagine if this were true regarding the contractors who built the stadiums, arenas, rinks, pools... your teams compete in, or even the house, condo, or apartment you live in? What if....the workers who poured the foundation had their own agenda, the framers/dry wallers had their own agenda, the electricians, the plumbers, the roofers, every carpenter....had their own agenda- their own blueprint as opposed to a master blueprint that accounted for the entire structure? Would you even consider bringing your team/athletes into such an unstable environment, let alone ask your family to sleep in such a place? Yet, this is exactly how your coaching staff has been operating. Sport/position coaches create your own blueprints (plans for sport practice), the weight room coaches create their own blueprints, and the people who take charge of rehabilitation protocols create their own blueprints. Yet, each type of 'work' renders a structural cost to the body. The athlete's bodies pay a price every time they practice sport, and every time they lift weights, run, and jump, and every time they do scaled versions of these as they rehabilitate from injury. Each type of 'work' has a price to pay, a set of consequences. The body pay's a price every time it does these sorts of 'work' and the fact that you have different sport 'contractors' creating their own independent blueprints that require each athlete pay a price, should, after having considered the analogy on offer, give you cause for concern and have you wondering why this lack of convergence, why this lack of cohesive organization, has existed for so long. You may even be wondering how your athletes or teams could have been successful in spite of this glaring contradiction, or, alternatively you may have the light bulb moment that clarifies why your athletes or teams have not been performing to the level you'd hoped for. In either case, you owe it to your own careers, to the careers of your staff and athletes, and to your athletes well-being to develop the knowledge that will raise your level of professional trade-craft to the level of the builders who built the structure that you and your families live and sleep in. The unified blueprint that will take sport to the next level, that will redefine your conception of 'sport practice', is a result of what I describe as 'sport preparatory engineering'. It is a process I describe in detail in the book "The Governing Dynamics of Coaching" and it is, according to my argument, simply a matter of when, not if, this mode of coaching knowledge becomes the difference maker in every sport, at every level, on earth. https://www.amazon.com/dp/194620806X   

James Smith

James Smith

Sport Coaching Has Much to Learn from A Brilliant Mathematician

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. James Smith   https://www.amazon.com/dp/194620806X    

James Smith

James Smith

The Mutation and the Evolution of Sport Coaching and Coaching Education

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. James Smith  

James Smith

James Smith

Error Correction in Sport is the Key to its Progress

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. William Harvey 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. James Smith  

James Smith

James Smith

Critical Thinking and the Success or Failure of Sport

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: Languages: 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) Arts/Aesthetics Drawing/sketching Caricature, Figure Drawing, Gesture Drawing, Sketch Music Jazz guitar (BA, Cum Laude, Berklee College of Music as a Performance Major) some piano, some trumpet Areas of Research/Self-Learning/Self-Study Physics Mathematics NeuroPsychology/Neuropsychiatry/Neuroscience Dynamics/Biomechanics/Neuromechanics Physiology Epistemology/Cognitive Science *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: Cultural Establishment Analytical/Intellectual Advancement Psychological Preparation Technical/Tactical/Sensorimotor Development Bioenergetic/Biodynamic/Biomotor  Foundations 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      

Elon Musk as an Example for the Future of Sport 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). Full interview             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    

James Smith

James Smith

The Static Institution of Sport

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.”
-David Deutsch Yet sport remains entrenched in these progress halting factors and the solution to amending this requires a perceptual change. https://www.amazon.com/dp/194620806X 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 james@globalsportconcepts.net for consulting information     

The Fallacy of the NFL Scouting Combine

Contrary to the perceptions of ESPN senior writers, the NFL Combine measures everything that doesn’t matter and nothing that does. http://www.espn.com/…/guide-nfl-draft-combine-drills-todd-m… 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 40yd Dash 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 Vertical Jump 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. 20yd Shuttle 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? Broad Jump Why it is Mostly Irrelevant: see the explanation for the vertical jump’s relative lack of meaning and replace vertical displacement with horizontal displacement. Three Cone 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  

What Sport has to Gain from Gastronomy and Building

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    

Invalid Logic in Sport Coaching

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 B Therefore, A 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 A Therefore, 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    

James Smith

James Smith

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