A Charles Reep Project

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Many years ago (1970-1973), I studied social science at the University of York. Early on in my course I was introduced to sociological approaches to knowledge construction (the sociology of knowledge). I was struck by the ideas Karl Mannheim, Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann had about how we come to know in social contexts.

Since that time I have been fascinated by how some knowledge becomes important and the role individuals play in this emergence.

My account of Lloyd Messersmith was my first attempt to bring a sociology of knowledge approach to understanding performance analysis.

I have been wondering how to develop this approach to Charles Reep’s work. This is a progress report.

I have been intrigued by a man who developed a real-time hand notation system. I lament that I had an opportunity to secure Charles’ hand notation of the 1958 World Cup Final and did not do so. I have always regarded his wallpaper roll of his notation of that game to be the Bayeux Tapestry of notational analysis. It had every movement of the eighteen-year-old, Edson Arantes do Nascimento (Pelé).

I have been editing the Charles Reep page in Wikipedia.

I have tried to be assiduous in the editing process.

As part of the proof reading process, I returned to Charles Reep and Bernard Benjamin’s 1968 paper, Skill and Chance in Association Football.

Whilst reading, I noted these two personal references:

  • “One of us (C. R.), who has an acute interest in the implications for strategic training, has compiled careful records of actual frequencies …” (p. 581).
  • “All this is so far removed from current soccer beliefs and tactics that general acceptance of the random element has been inhibited (though one of us, C. R., has shown that a successful style of play can be built upon it)” (p. 585).

The editing and re-reading has encouraged me to think about a Charles Reep project.

I do have a fascination with his work as a notational analyst. I like too that Charles had “an acute interest” in “strategic training”.

I met Charles in 1996 at his home in Torpoint and wrote about meeting him. Subsequently, Neil Lanham corrected some of the points I had made and I compiled a post to report this.

I would like to provide more detail about Charles’s work and do have lots of references to explore.

One of the issues to address is the debate about the “long ball” game. In personal correspondence in 2012, Neil observed:

the big thing about Reep is that the pundits seem to think that he invented a sort of winning game that included long balls. Not so – what Reep invented was a method of recording what happens to every possession of both teams on a soccer field that over a series shows the truth of how goals come. (My emphasis in bold.)

I thought this might be a great crowdsource project with a sociology of knowledge focus.

Photo Credit

Wales versus Ireland football international at Wrexham (The National Library of Wales, no known copyright restrictions)

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