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The Independent Cycles of State Space in Sport

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James Smith

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The Independent Cycles of State-Space in Sport

"We are collectively ignorant compared to what we could be. We are a vast population, a vast world, lots of smart people/very capable people. We have many great tools, and we just don't pull that together into a consensus that we can use very well" -    Robin Hanson

https://samharris.org/podcasts/119-hidden-motives/

The wisdom contained in the quoted text from Robin Hanson is of universal relevance. In his linked discussion with Sam Harris, among many insightful offerings, Robin notes the prudence in identifying a neglected area that few people seem to be aware of and utilizing that opportunity to make a contribution.

This is precisely what I elected to do in writing “The Governing Dynamics of Coaching”.

Though, in sport, there are isolated pockets of insightful thinking, the fact that these insights are isolated is a problem. Though, it is only half of a larger binary problem; in which the other half exists as a lack of cohesive interdisciplinary knowledge underpinning the education of any individuals working in sport. This is approximate to the independent cycles of state-space systems in classical mechanics.     

In classical mechanics, a system represents a collection of particles, fields, waves…and dynamical systems represent a certain level of change and complexity. A state-space is a collection of all states occupied by a given system. In sport, historically and currently, a 3 state system exists with three independent cycles in which sport coaching, physical conditioning, and active physiotherapy/rehab each constitute a state and an independent cycle; in which the loading of each cycle is independent from the next.   Screen Shot 2018-03-14 at 7.58.01 PM.png  

 

The problem with independent cycles of states in sport is that each one, in which an aspect of structural/neuromuscular loading occurs, exists incoherently with the others, because there is no underlying architectural/compositional framework that both synthesizes and accounts for everything done. In classical mechanics state-space diagrams, the arrows represent the directionality of time; in which one may clearly represent motion from one state to another, or unto itself (you can see the next state from the current state). This renders the deterministic character to classical mechanics (its predictive capability based upon the detailed knowledge of initial conditions); yet the dynamical laws of classical mechanics must not only be deterministic, they must be reversible. In this way, when the arrows are reversed they must still represent a deterministic system.     

The first evolutionary step in amending this problem of independent state cycles in sport is what I refer to a sport preparatory engineering; in which an individual with the requisite interdisciplinary knowledge engineers the blueprint that cohesively unifies the existing divergent modes of preparation and rehabilitation. This then approximates how engineers function in building, in which the engineering underpins what is creatively (architecturally) achievable and the resulting blueprint underpins what is executed/physically instantiated by contractors.     

Sport, on the other hand, is, and has been, curiously, tantamount to building without engineering or a blueprint- only contractors working independently of each other with respect to the fact that their work is not based upon a common blueprint; but three separate/independent blueprints. This clearly paints a disastrous notion in the context of building; yet the reason it is not immediately noticeable as disastrous in sport is because unlike building materials, the human adaptive capability of athletes allows them to self-correct.     

Sport coaches, physical conditioning coaches, and physios may think of yourselves as contractors and while each contractor executes your own creative freedom in practice, the historical and existing problem in sport is described by the independent nature of your operations and the resulting cumulative load incurred by athletes.   For this reason, the introduction of sport preparatory engineering will immediately resolve the existing dysfunction by connecting your independent state cycles with a common blueprint. 

Screen Shot 2018-03-14 at 7.58.16 PM.png

This is only the first step, however. As the ultimate state of evolution for sport is to advance to a two-state system in which sport coaching subsumes what has mistakenly diverged into sport coaching + physical conditioning. While this is the current dynamical state of nearly every sport program in the world, it is no less dysfunctional as this is not only tantamount to chefs who only know how to cook food, yet cannot prepare it to be cooked; it's worse because of the cumulative load impact resultant of different authors working independently of each other. 

The future lies in unification to a two state system, in which sport coaches expand their interdisciplinary knowledge to account for all modes of preparation (which I've termed the Governing Dynamics of Coaching and existing physical conditioning coaches either become sport coaches or sport preparatory engineers (which also mandates the expansion of interdisciplinary knowledge of The Governing Dynamics). 

 

Screen Shot 2018-03-14 at 7.48.23 PM.png

As much of a radical change is this symbolizes in sport, this merely approximates what has long since existed in many domains apart from sport in which the medium of tradecraft is far less forgiving than the adaptive capabilities of athletes, and has thusly required the systemic cohesion of all participants.

Sport preparatory engineering is the first step. 

email James@globalsportconcepts.net for consulting information

 

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