We are into week 3 of the open, online course #UCSIA15, Sport Informatics and Analytics.
For those following a theme by theme approach in the course, this week’s structured attention is on Performance Monitoring.
There is a Google Slides presentation available here.
My undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Sociology alerted me to discussions about cultural universals.
Donald Brown (1991) in his discussion of human universals identified 67 features of “culture, society, language, behavior, and psyche for which there are no known exception”. One of these is play.
I have explored taxonomies of play, games and sport in order to think about these universals too. I was fortunate to be at Loughborough when David Bunker and Rod Thorpe were developing their ideas about teaching for understanding. They encouraged me to think about how we might integrate pedagogy and taxonomy to encourage understanding.
A few years later as a young rugby coach Ray Williams and Jim Greenwood encouraged me to think about principles of play.
We have remarkable opportunities to observe and record performance. I am hopeful that some of the reflection on this week’s theme will engage with a wider discussion of how we decide to disentangle biological and cultural performance contexts.
As a coach in an individual sport, canoe slalom, I was constantly fascinated by the ability of athletes from different sport systems to solve the problems of a canoe slalom course over 90 seconds within + or – 1 second of each other.
We had different ways of coaching and preparing for competition.
This experience of an individual sport has heightened my interest in teams sports and their figurations. Papers such as that presented by Min-hwan Oh, Suraj Keshri, and Garud Iyengar at this year’s Sloan Conference are accelerating our understanding and conversations about these figurations in play, game and sport contexts.
Quite a week ahead.