Shots and Goals: Quality, Expectations and Context

I have been reviewing the literature on shots and goals in ice hockey and association football.

In doing so, I am mindful of Ted Knutson’s (2013) observation:

The soccer analytics community is currently growing by leaps and bounds, which means that there’s new information being processed almost every single day. It also means that there are tons of new people interested in the topic, and figuring out who to read or where to go can be a bit daunting at first.

I have compiled a bibliography that covers 2004 to 2017. Link.

It is incomplete but extends to twelve pages. It is a Google Doc so I will continue to update it. One of my problems in researching the literature was my inability to access some of the ice hockey articles.

I ended up on this landing page a number of times:

I have included the references in my list and apologise for the lack of access. I could not find the posts archived or curated anywhere else.

I have started to compile a synthesis of the literature. This is another ongoing Google Doc project. Link.

Many years ago, I pursued the coaching connections between association football and field hockey. I was inspired by Horst Wein.

In locating conversations about quality and expectations of shots and goals in association football, I have looked more closely than I have previously at the ice hockey literature. I found the quality of writing and insights shared profoundly interesting. I particularly liked the idea that many of the writers used pseudonyms, including the exotic Vic Ferrari.

In a desire to create an open educational resource from this review, I have created a Google Doc to offer a partial introduction to football analytics. Link.

At the heart of the resource is a discussion about Lex Immers.

I was only able to access Michiel De Hoog’s (2014) post because of Erica Moore’s (2016) translation of the original Dutch article.

Erica’s open sharing reaffirmed for me not only the delights of open sharing but also the vibrancy of the football analytics literature.

I am keen to develop these resources and would welcome any guidance a remarkable community of practice can offer.

Photo Credit

Peter Whittingham Scores From the Freekick (John Candy)

Gathering

Whenever I come to England to meet coaches (twice a year), I hope my visit coincides with a Chris Porter facilitated ‘Gathering’.

It did last week.

Chris has been organising Gatherings since his appointment as the Coach Development Manager for GB Boxing in 2015. I have manged to attend five of these. The venues emerge from Chris’s personal learning network. This time it was a Gathering at Hartpury hosted by Dean Clark and Tony Ghaye.

Invitees to the Gatherings are involved in coach education. I believe that everyone who attends is enthralled by the possibility of coach ‘educere’ (Randall Bass & JW Good, 2004).

Educere as leading out aspires to prepare:

a new generation for the changes that are to come – readying them to create solutions to problems yet unknown … (and) requires questioning, thinking, and creating. (2004:162)

On this occasion at Hartpury, there were eight attendees to immerse themselves in conversation. I do not take notes at these meetings. I try to listen very carefully and absorb the appreciative inquiry atmosphere.

Inevitably, the ideas being discussed send me off on tangents. I try to bring myself back but I can be gone for a long time.

An example from this Gathering.

A friend who works in an Olympic sport (I am trying to be discrete as I have not asked explicit permission to mention names other than organisers), explored the idea of removing descriptors from coaching such as ‘elite’ and ‘high performance’. He shared some extensive research he has been monitoring to support his case.

What sent me off (to Copenhagen) was his discussion of coaching as a Michelin system.

Very good cooking in its category
Excellent cooking, worth a detour
Exceptional cuisine, worthy of a special journey

Why I was in Copenhagen for part of the conversation, was to do with my interest in Noma and the discussion about its two star status.

I did come back into the room and enjoyed the momentum of the conversation. I think it is a profoundly important debate in England in the context of UK Sport’s Elite Programme.

I am very comfortable with the coach title that is used without qualifiers but the Gathering is exactly the kind of place to debate these issues without prejudice.

This led smoothly to another conversational point: how do we design learning experiences for coaches? I am afraid I went off again to some distant place to think about how we might enable personal learning journeys. I was brought back to earth by Tony Ghaye. I had made a point about what ‘learning organisations’ do. In his delightful way, Tony suggested that perhaps I was referring to ‘organisations that learn’.

With that nudge, I was off again somewhere else thinking about scaffolding and microlearning. I had not read Christy Tucker’s post on the same theme. Christy suggests:

  • ‘Scaffolding’ is support for learners that gradually fades away until the learner can do the task without support.
  • Scaffolding is removed over time, but microlearning doesn’t have the long time span for typical scaffolding.

I did not articulate my interest in David Weinberger‘s observation about small pieces loosely joined and how this was guiding my thoughts about learning experience design rather than coach ‘development’. David suggests:

The Web is binding not just pages, but us human beings in new ways. We are the true ‘small pieces’ of the Web, and we are loosely joining ourselves in ways that we’re still inventing.

All of which led me to ask about how those in the room dealt with transitions in educere practice and within organisational governance of coaches’ learning journeys. I even threw in mention of epistemic cultures and how these might be transformed.

Why I asked these questions is because of the very special experiences in the room.

  • Institutional transition to new academic possibilities
  • A new appointment to a national organisation with responsibility for coach learning
  • Two colleagues who were transferring responsibilities within a national organisation
  • A colleague with growing organisational responsibility for coaching journeys
  • A colleague two years into a new sport with opportunities to extend others’ zones of proximal development
  • … and my project as a critical friend to 23 rugby union and cricket coaches

I did stay in the room to savour the conversations and the afternoon sun … with only occasional glimpses to the Grade II listed gardens and thoughts of Hartpury’s origins (established after World War II as an agricultural education centre with 50 students).

I think there is a metaphor in there somewhere about fertile soil and innovation.

That is what Gatherings do to you and with you.

Photo Credits

The gardens from Hartpury House (Keith Lyons, CC BY 4.0)

The Noma Crew (Nick Webb, CC BY 2.0)

History (Hartbury website)

#coachlearninginsport: hearing motets

I am in England at the moment.

I am here for a month meeting twenty-four rugby union and cricket coaches with whom I have been in critical friend conversations for four years.

Whilst I have been travelling, I have been listening to Radio 3 and Classic FM. If I am very fortunate I hear Philip Glass but he is not often played.

Yesterday, on a journey to Durham, my drive on the A1(M) was uplifted by a recording of Thomas Tallis’s Spem in alium.

Spem in alium is a motet for eight choirs of five voices. I find it a most exquisite piece of music. Wikipedia says of it “its individual vocal lines act quite freely within its elegant harmonic framework”.

It struck me forcefully, on a rather beautiful morning near Wetherby, that I have the immense privilege of hearing twenty-four voices. Two sports, twenty-four learning journeys … that share a harmony.

What is fascinating to me about being part of a four-year journey is that I can hear changes in the voices. Each coach’s journey from good to great has been made possible by their willingness to reflect and consider meta-issues around coaching. They are profoundly engaged in their own and others’ coaching processes.

As when I hear Thomas Tallis’s motet, I am stunned by the depth of insight each coach brings to his and her coaching. This Wikipedia piece could have been written about the coaches:

The work is a study in contrasts: the individual voices sing and are silent in turns, sometimes alone, sometimes in choirs, sometimes calling and answering, sometimes all together, so that, far from being a monotonous mess, the work is continually presenting new ideas.

Imagine having that as a #coachlearninginsport opportunity.

I do think it is scalable.

700 voices for 40 as an example …