Blog Entries posted by James Smith
I originally met James in 2009 and have continued to become immersed in his work. Most recently, I hired James for his Psychological Consulting services. I had an idea of what COULD be but I was unsure of HOW to go about it. I have several very important events in the near future and I wanted to be as prepared as possible. Over the course of a short period, after speaking with James, it has become abundantly clear that my disposition has changed. His choice of tools / thought exercises in a context-appropriate manner has been invaluable to my development and ones that I can always use, regardless of where life takes me. However, what I have also found is that the psychological preparation has transferred into other areas of my life for the better. As he'll say, and anyone who understands the importance of psychological preparation, is that this is a must for anyone who wants to not only manage "stress" but be as efficient as possible in any endeavor they choose.
As a young adolescent, psychological counseling was encouraged- due to the traumatic upbringing I was experiencing. I denied it and refused to take part. I felt they wouldn't understand, and I would end up in some insane asylum if I opened up to them. However, I stumbled upon James due to my pursuit in coaching, but this transitioned into weekly psychological consultations, which was very impactful for me. Finally, someone who I felt safe to share my thoughts and experiences in which I felt no judgment or condemnation. He encouraged me to process my traumatic upbringing and provided me with tools to help overcome my anxiety and panic attacks that were creeping up on me without conscious awareness of what triggered them. These six months were very dark and I isolated myself to an extreme degree because I felt uneasy being around anyone, so I was very thankful for to have James to be the helping hand. After six months I still hear his voice in my head encouraging me with more than just "you can do this" type spiel to rile me up, but with words based on the reality of the situation, always taking the objective point of view to help regulate negative emotion. In one conversation in particular, when I felt I was recovering better from the tormented states I found myself in, I realized that if I just sat in this tormented state and let it run its course, it actually went away. I further realized that James was telling me this since day one, "Just let it happen." It took a good amount of time for those words James said to settle in and become embodied, but to be where I am right this moment I can honestly say is worth the time and effort. I am beyond thankful for all that James has done for me and recommend his services to anyone out there who is sincere about their psychological development. - Elizabeth Jett Halen
"Working with James over the past few years has completely changed my psychological paradigm. I have learned to look at life's obstacles from an objective standpoint; leading to an enhanced emotionally regulated state.
Our weekly discussions were always insightful.
The tactical knowledge James shared manifested in a very useful and practical way.
The best part of our sessions was the proactivity it created which allowed me to handle any future hurdles much more easily.
I have learned psychological training is a lifelong process with never-ending room for improvement. I have never been mentally stronger.
Thank you ver much James"
I appreciate James to the fullest! He helped me to understand that we are in control of every single situation that we encounter no matter than magnitude of disrespect, judging, or just in general. He helped with self observation & help me understand that you have to practice these things on a daily basis! By doing that you will find yourself more in control of turning the negative to a positive! He also helped me with self awareness, self evaluation, and the practicing of staying cool, calm, and collects when I may catch myself getting aggressive! He's is very smart and very helpful!!
Sport Preparatory Engineering Consulting
In 2018 I did a full Governing Dynamics consultation with James Smith. Spending 8 weeks diving into each area of the Governing Dynamics of Coaching. Throughout the last year I revisited each area to further my understanding. When doing this I really drew an interest to Sport Preparatory Engineering. I myself have used technologies such as GPS for 7 collegiate and NFL seasons to help in managing the loading of American Football Players. When studying the area of Sport Preparatory Engineering I was amazed by the planning and the mathematics that guided the development of the training blueprint. This gave detail to every step of the training blueprint and left little chance for unexpected result.
In April of 2019 I made a decision that this was the area I needed to understand further if I was to really make an impact in assisting coaches and teams. I chose to do a 4-week intensive consultation with James Smith on Sport Preparatory Engineering and I am very pleased with the amount of information and knowledge I was able to gain from it.
During this consultation we examined all areas of engineering the preparation of the American Football player with a particular emphasis on the NFL structure and constraints. James allowed me to guide the learning and he expanded on areas where I need to improve my knowledge. Examples areas that I was interested in included load distribution, engineering mathematics, and in-season practice design. James was able to display the ideal and then work from there in making adjustments for rule constraints we may be faced with.
My 2nd consultation with James was a tremendous experience in diving deeper into Sport Preparatory Engineering, possibly the biggest area that can be improved in American Football. Having a blueprint to work from within your team and being able to make yearly adjustments from it is a must. James Smith provided me the knowledge and troubleshooting abilities to apply this for any team I work with!
Director of Performance Monitoring
Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach
San Francisco 49ers
"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.
Passing Heading Throwing In Shooting Tackling Rugby
Passing Kicking Tackling Scrummaging Rucking Mauling American Football
Passing Catching Tackling Blocking Pulling Punting Kicking Basketball
Shooting Passing Rebounding Boxing Out Blocking Posting Cricket
Batting Bowling Fielding Catching Throwing Wrestling
Front Headlocks Whizzers Ankle Picks Double Legs Single Legs Gator Rolls Counters MMA
Punches Kicks Elbows Knees Takedowns Wrestling Grappling Submissions Escapes Scrambles Counters 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.
James Smith Consultation Review
I have read James’ book The Governing Dynamics of Coaching multiple times. I’ve dissected many sections throughout the book to further my understanding of certain topics. Not until I began consulting with James did I obtain complete clarity and understanding of the Governing Dynamics, both as general principles along with specific application to the sport of American football. He has opened my eyes to depth of knowledge necessary to competently engineer a holistic sport preparation system. Utilizing James as a consultant is one of the best professional investments I could recommend.
Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach
San Francisco 49ers
It is critical to discuss the mistake of expanding upon the volume of specialists in an organization if there is no unification between them. In the absence of an individual who, like a general contractor, possesses the applied understanding of all specialty domains and is, thus, qualified to orchestrate them, no amount of specialists is likely to make the organization any better.
We may discuss the supposed understanding that the Manager, Head Coach, Assistant Coaches, Physiotherapists, Player Development, Psychiatrist, Psychologist…are supposed to have. This is only in theory, however.
If…we grant that each one of them is actually operating at the forefront of their respective specialties, and that is a massive assumption, we must still determine how well each one integrates with the other, such that the whole of the organization is, in fact, greater than the sum of its parts.
As it regards the any efforts to expand upon the organization’s performance through the lens of psychology, as soon as we distinguish between what the organization requires from the standpoint of brain and behavior, we must then recognize that no amount of psychological understanding directed towards sport is better than the degree to which this individual, or individuals, work seamlessly in the organization, and NOT only amongst themselves, but with the rest of the organization’s staff, coaches, and players.
The psychologist who possesses a PhD or PsyD, is a Doctor of Philosophy (in Psychology) or Doctor of Psychology, respectively. PhD curricula in psychology are more research and experimental based; whereas the training of PsyD’s are more based in clinical/professional practice. Psychologists are NOT medical doctors and, unlike Psychiatrists, focus on the psychological, vs the biological, reference frames related to cognitive, emotional, social, behavioral research and/or clinical psychotherapeutic interventions to assist in the mental well-being of someone in terms of reconciling past traumas and diagnosing and resolving any number of psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression. Unlike Psychiatrists, however, psychologists are not licensed to prescribe medication.
The sport psychologist, who also possesses a PhD or PsyD is a psychologist who directs their study and practice towards dealing with the brain and behavior in the context of sport preparation and competition. Not all sport psychologists possess a PhD or PsyD (which is an important distinction because anyone with an undergraduate degree can go through a 12month on-line course and get a masters in sport psychology. Meanwhile, any psychologist has gone through an undergrad then a doctoral program to earn a PhD or PsyD. To conflate a sport psychology credential with a PhD or PsyD, who focuses on the sport application, is to conflate a CPR certification with a MD).
What is critical to understand for the organization is how the sophisticated understanding of psychological preparation interfaces with tactical execution and this is something that psychologists, and even sport psychologists, are not necessarily trained for.
What the organization requires is that every coach integrate the requisite knowledge of psychology into tactical/technical preparation, because any psychological limitations from the players or coaches will never be as adequately addressed in the office of the psychologist as it will when its addressed during coaching and practice.
While there is no such thing as toughness or mental toughness, there is:
• Initiative and self-sufficiency
• Anxiety control
• Positive thinking
• Team cohesion
• Thought control
Each of which mandates, not only the explanatory knowledge of its significance but, how to integrate its development into coaching and player tactical execution.
Particularly as it regards players, the psychological preparation must be synthesized into off-season sport practices, training camps, and seasonal practices.
After consulting with each coach and player and identifying the specific type of psychological skills each individual is lacking, there will be specific practice drill variations suggested that will distinguish both the tactical/technical AND specific psychological skill from another psychological skill.
We cannot use ‘tough’ in thinking or speaking because it’s as ambiguous as scrapping all tactical schemes/concepts, and all their complexity, and replacing all of them with the single word- tactical.
Imagine replacing all American Football, Rugby League, Basketball, Football, Ice Hockey, Wrestling, MMA…tactical terminologies, and all derivations, with the single word “tactical”.
To reduce tactical complexity, which varies between team and combat sports, with one single instruction “tactical” would be laughable to any modern-day tactical coach. In this same way, mental toughness must be as laughable to any person because of how differentiated the previously mentioned components of psychological skills are from one another.
As laughable and nondescript as it would be for the American Football or Rugby or Basketball Coach to blame themselves or their athletes for not being tactical enough, somehow, these same coaches operate under the misconception that their teams or athletes aren’t tough enough…
Too often, teams and athletes undergo physically grueling training, sometimes with military units, in an effort to become more ‘tough’. Little do the coaches of these athletes realize is the nuance and distinction of the many psychological skills they misconceive as toughness.
Some athletes are strong with resolve, perseverance, and aggression yet lack self-regulation; while others are strong in self-regulation yet lack in resolve, perseverance, and aggression. Due to the lack of sufficient psychological knowledge in coaching we then see, year after year, entire teams being subjected to the same grueling activity in pre-season training that, say, demands perseverance. The coaches and athletes think that toughness is being developed, meanwhile this is the functional equivalent of suggesting chemotherapy for anyone who doesn’t feel well. Meanwhile medical doctors are up in arms trying to explain the myriad of conditions that result in a person not feeling well and how chemotherapy is only appropriate for one of them, and if you use chemotherapy for any other reason you are subjecting the person to a remarkable level of misery and physiological trauma that is utterly misdirected and unnecessary.
Coaches with sufficient psychological knowledge recognize the subtleties surrounding psychological skill development and how this process must be highly individualized for each athlete whilst closely satisfying tactical/technical developments, and not diverting from them with the sports analog of chemotherapy.
Thus, any organization that requires, or benefits from, a licensed psychologist on staff must fill an even more important role. The organization requires an individual to integrate psychological understanding directly into sport practice. This will not be achieved by a psychologist or sport psychologist. It can only come from an individual who has as deep and wide and understanding of sport structure as they do the requisite domains of cultural establishment, talent ID and selection, leadership, the tactics and techniques of the sport in question, psychology, the theory of knowledge, learning science, language, communication, motion, energy, medical science and rehabilitation, and critical problem solving, that directly implicate winning more competitions.
What this describes is the analog of a general contractor for sport. One who has an applied understanding of every contractor. This is the theoretical/strategic role that I describe in my explanation of a Competition Strategist, and the jargon of global load manager in my book “The Governing Dynamics of Coaching” and it is this sort of professional who is required to ultimately unite the differences between managers, coaches, doctors, scientists, analysts, researchers, and trainers so that the entire collective of them works seamlessly together in order that no untapped potential exists in the organization, and more competitions are won this year and beyond.
Email James@globalsportconcepts.net for information on psychological preparation from a top down perspective of tactical/technical development
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
I just completed another round of consulting with James and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It's hard to really explain how impactful his sessions are until you experience it for yourself. Each call you come away with a completely new perspective on how to navigate coaching, business, and life. He truly is in a league of his own and stands in and for the possibility of transforming the coaching profession with his Governing Dynamics Concepts.
Esports Performance Consultant, Entrepreneur
Coaches of sport
Competition Strategic planning is fundamental towards attaining the highest possible results, however, it has yet to uniformly exist amidst professional and higher level sport.
What it defines is the synchronized planning of all sport practice, specialized, general, and rehabilitative preparation by one individual or individuals working in collaboration. I refer to this planning as sport preparatory engineering; however, that is only jargon.
What matters most is what it solves; which is the dysfunctional system of sport in which independent planning occurs by sport coaches, coaches of specialized and general training, and rehabilitation- in which the outcome of this disjointed an incongruent multi-way planning results in compounded structural and neuromuscular load impact.
Sport coaches constructing practices independently of specialized/generalized coaches constructing workloads independently of physios/rehabilitation specialists constructing return to competition workloads independently of sport coaches...and around the merry go round it goes...is the primary reason for:
1: the lack of maximized tactical and technical athlete development
2: the amount of injuries that occur in practice and competition
The communication between these departments is no more helpful than building contractors communicating between each other void of a common blueprint.
The common blueprint in sport is the result of the jargon "sport preparatory engineering" which is the work of the jargon "competition strategist".
Watch this video demonstrating the result of competition strategic planning utilized during the NFL preseason in which all tactical/technical, specialized, general, and rehabilitative work was engineered in a single blueprint.
In this blog entry you are presented with my argument for dedicated theorist/strategist positions to become foundational in sport organizations, in order to guide the staffs of experimentalists who are the coaches.
A preponderance of professional domains within science, medicine, and technology incorporate the synergistic work of theorists and experimentalists. The net result of this aggregation of cognitive effort is a sum greater than what each individual part can accomplish on its own. Sport, however, has yet to capitalize on this dynamic.
Sport coaches, along with coaching adjuncts, are experimentalists. The overwhelming majority of time spent each day regards coaching, itself, and its preparation.
Theory, in sport, has largely been isolated to the pedagogical realm and, as of yet, unlike the far more advanced models of scientific, medical, and technological research, not fully integrated into every sport organization.
A sport theorist mustn’t be conflated with the emerging field of sport science. Sport scientists are also experimentalists who, same as experimentalists in any other scientific domain, are, by definition, engaged in specialized research and experiment. In this way, sport scientific research and publication, same as any other experimental domain of science, does not endeavor to unify.
While experiment is essential for progress, in order for experiment, itself, to advance, it not only benefits greatly from, it utterly depends/relies upon, theoretical input and guidance. The late philosopher Karl Popper was the first notable intellectual to rightly and expertly define this objective truth- there is no context to observation without preceding theory. Popper would offer a simple proof to this argument by starting his classes with telling students to "observe". After which he would walk around for a few minutes. After no time at all students would begin looking at each other, unclear as to what they were supposed to observe (was it Poppers motion, the view outside, the noises in the hallway...). In this way, Popper clearly proved the point that the observation itself necessitates theory to give it meaning and context.
Observation, on its face, is the experience of sensory input; and it has no meaning or context, less the observer enters the observation with a preceding theory to direct his/her attention in such a way as to contextualize the observation. Without this essential theoretical guidance, no amount of isolated experimentation can achieve what is achievable; and instead, further segregates knowledge domains that must be theoretically unified to optimize progress.
Coaches, sport scientists, and adjunct staff alike, necessitate the guiding influence of a theorist; who, unlike coaches, sport scientists, analysts, and other adjunct personnel, spends the entirety of their working and thinking hours reviewing, summating, extrapolating, assimilating, formulating, calculating, quantifying, and theorizing upon the boundaries of what is knowable as it regards the profession in question. The result allows for the ongoing direction for further experimentation; which tests and either confirms or disproves theory. Such is the mechanism of progress that has afforded the exponential increase in knowledge in so many disciplines apart from sport. Sport need only recognize and accept the value of the theorist to evolve to the level commensurate with unbounded knowledge in order to reduce the chasm separating the knowable and the known that currently, and historically, has prevented sport organizations from fulfilling their potential.
I am currently amidst the process of presenting this idea to professional sport staffs in the context of a 'strategist' position who possesses the theoretical insights and planning capability that includes what I refer to as 'sport engineering' in my most recent book The Governing Dynamics of Coaching.
Email James@globalsportconcepts.net for consulting information in this regard
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
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
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
Coaches, you coach sport and the apex objective of competition is winning. The more you win as a coach, the better. Not too controversial.
Yet, none of us can predict the future; not even the most brilliant theoretical physicists or mathematicians amongst us. However, mathematical precision is also the reason why, as you read this, perhaps in your home or flat, why the last thing on your mind is whether the roof is going to collapse on your head before you reach the end of this paragraph.
The checks and balances of engineering had to be passed in order for the place you live in to pass 'code'. These checks and balances result in structural integrity and contribute to your confidence that the roof won't collapse when it rains or won't blow off when the wind blows.
In sport, I describe the future interface between engineering and coaching as sport preparatory engineering in which principles of engineering integrate and reformat the programming and organization of sport practice synthesized with any other facet of 'work' of physical character.
Understand in physics the formula for work is force x displacement x cosine angle theta (the force, for example, exerted in some direction, and the angle theta is the angle between the direction of force and the displacement).
In this way, all sport practice is 'work', all motions done apart from sport practice are 'work', all motions done in a weight room are 'work', and all motions done in rehabilitation are 'work'...and all of this 'work' must be accounted for via consolidation and unification. In this way, just as the engineering blueprint preceded the physical construction of the dwelling and the roof over your head, we must evolve sport coaching and the sophistication of understanding how practice may evolve by engineering it, along with all other forms of preparatory work, holistically (one master plan) that heightens the probability enhanced tactical execution and winning.
Now ask yourself:
- How well engineered are your sport practices?
- How might they be able to be engineered so as to increase the probability of winning?
- How might you be able to improve your mode of communication so as to most effectively educate and inspire your athletes development?
- How might you be able to evolve your psychological state so as to make faster and better coaching decisions during competition?
- How might you be able to advance your epistemology so as to form more effective models of cultural establishment and tactical philosophy?
This book describes how (order direct from my publisher and it ships anywhere in the world): http://store.vervante.com/c/v/V4081803100.html
Watch this video and see what other coaches have said about it:
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
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":
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for consulting information
The Governing Dynamics of Coaching
I recently had the pleasure of having 4 consultations with James via Skype. The topics of conversation varied, however, they were mostly pertaining to topics within his book, “The Governing Dynamics of Coaching”. I have been following James’s work for several years, so it was brilliant to be able to discuss his ideas and arguments with him personally.
Anyone who thinks that a consultation with James will be an hour of him spoon feeding you quick fixes is sorely mistaken. James encourages you to think, which at times, pushed me out of my comfort zone. This is not a complaint, as a matter of fact, this was what I enjoyed the most from our conversations. I found speaking with James challenging at times because his subject matter knowledge is so vast. Fortunately, James is a fantastic educator. He is patient and generous with his time as well as being very thoughtful when answering any questions put to him, regardless how remedial they may be.
I spoke with James about a broad number of topics. He is great company and the end of each consultation always came far too soon. Next time, I will ask more specific questions, and I would encourage any prospective clients to do the same. I could not recommend a series of consultations highly enough. Simply put, consulting with James has been the best investment I have made in my coaching education.
Na Fianna (Dublin)
Strength and Conditioning Coach
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
The words and dialogue used to differentiate one sport's practice, tactical and strategic preparation, from the next are nothing more than jargon.
The jargon serves an obvious utility function, however, underneath the pick and roll (basketball), quick ball (rugby), 4-3 defensive front (American football), 1-4-4-1 flat diamond (Football), or the forecheck (Ice Hockey), exists the decisions, communication, and actions that are the foundations of sport tactical execution.
The future of optimizing tactical preparation lies in fortifying its foundations during sport practice; which at present, are tantamount to planning a trans oceanic sailing voyage without knowledge of nautical navigation.
The contents of sport practice must be quantified for the purposes of optimal learning, tactical and technical development, and physical peaking; and the argument you are presented with here encourages that you use a mathematical approach.
When we drill down past the tactical/technical jargon we are left with factors related to psychology, cognition, neurophysiology, biodynamics and bioenergetics. When we drill down further to the structural and neuromuscular foundations of sport practice we are able to speak plainly about the readily quantitative nature of biodynamics, bioenergetics, and biomotor outputs. Lastly, from the standpoint of optimizing the engineering of sport practice from day to day and week to week we arrive at factors related to the intensity, volume, and frequency of work performed in practice. The intensity being the metric of primary importance.
The intensity of your athletes motion during sport practice implicates the neuromuscular, structural, and physiological cost of the work. Note the use of the word 'cost', which is used to explain the price that every athlete pays as the intensity of their motion increases (in contact/combat, wrestling, swinging, batting, kicking, shooting, passing, throwing, skating, rowing, swimming, cycling, jumping, sprinting, braking, changing directions...). Sport practice is work, and the intensity of motion is a product of force and velocity. From this one may derive the equations for work, force, power, velocity, acceleration, momentum, impulse, impact ,and more, which provide an abundance of metrics to quantify sport practice to levels of accuracy that exceed what is currently, and has been, done by over one order of magnitude.
Consider your introduction to this mode of analytical thinking to begin with the bioenergetic foundations of sport practice motion and how, once the jargon is surpassed, the energetic foundation of sport practice is described in terms of the power, capacity, and efficiency of the alactic, lactic, aerobic, and mixed energy systems that, from a physiological perspective, provide the resources necessary for the athlete's muscles to contract- a precursor for your athlete's motion.
The mathematics of engineering the bioenergetics of sport practice quantitatively approaches the intensity of competition itself by way of starting with shorter quantities of competition duration, longer quantities/or more total quantities, of competition duration, or an aggregate of the two and are described in "The Governing Dynamics of Coaching". This quantitative approach to practice will create a level of foundational integrity that will improve your team/athlete's competitive success in ways you might not have yet imagined.
Note, the structural integrity and dimensions of the foundation determine the magnitude and type of what's built on top of it. Your team/athlete's competitive success depends upon the foundational integrity of their preparation for competition.
A parochial interpretation of this may perceive what began as a sport coaching discussion has shifted to a fitness related discussion. If this has happened to you, this is evidence of the Balkanization of knowledge in sport which wrongly divides coaching into factions. While objectively, what is being discussed here began as, and has remained, sport coaching because your athlete's psychological state informs how they process sensory input, think, decide, and access their working memory. All of which heavily impacts their tactical execution and the motion aspect of their tactical execution, which is their technical execution, is a product of bioenergetics, biodynamics, and biomotor outputs. This continuum exists under the future of sport coaching as defined in The Governing Dynamics of Coaching
Working with James has been nothing short of refreshing. His knowledge and skill set, which allows him to navigate multiple domains, is unparalleled. The chasm that exists in sport is undeniable, and James has not only revealed where these breaches are prevalent, but has given us ample remedies. It is incumbent on us, as the architects of our athletes’ experience, to competently apply the unification of these principles. James is light years ahead of where sport culture needs to go in terms of advancement, and it would be wise for us all to listen and learn accordingly.
Major League Director of Peak Performance
James provided four quality consults that afforded me new knowledge in the psychological and tactical preparation subject matter. The information that was discussed began with objective elements which were then clarified through analogies to improve the understanding. I would recommend reading the book, The Governing Dynamics of Coaching, or delving into the subject matter through outside sources before retaining James otherwise a general overview will be needed which may waste valuable time during the consults. James’s vast knowledge in these critical areas will help any individual improve the alchemy of coaching.
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":
Listen to this podcast to hear Long-Term Sports Development being discussed:
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.