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The Mutation and the Evolution of Sport Coaching and Coaching Education

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James Smith

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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

 

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