One year on

It is a year to the day that the Carwoola fired started.

The ABC has a story of one resident’s experience of the fire that day.

The anniversary has brought back vivid memories of the day for me when I was a member of the crew in the Braidwood Cat 7. Gail Nichols was the driver and Scott Hart the crew leader.

The Cat 7 is a three-person cab. We drove across country to get there and arrived in front of the fire on Captain’s Flat Road. In doing so we came upon a house under immediate threat from the fire.

We spent the next two hours trying to guide the fire around the property.

The fire arrived much sooner that I had thought and it was the first time I had been exposed to significant radiant heat. Under Scott’s instruction and Gail’s driving, we were able to respond in a way for which all our training had prepared us.

We did guide the fire around the property and then moved on down the road to protect a second property that was about to come under threat.

We were on a very small part of the fireground. Earlier this week, the Canberra Times shared other people’s experience of the day. The article notes “Remarkable stories of compassion, courage, resilience and recovery were born that day, and many more have risen from the ashes”.

One year on, I am mindful of how fortunate I was on that day. I was with a highly trained, experienced crew. Throughout the day, Scott was alert to our vulnerability and the risks we could manage. Gail drove under some very difficult circumstances.

At the end of our shift, we made our way to the Stoney Creek Fire Station where the scale of the community effort was very evident.

I had one of my best ever lettuce sandwiches and a lot of cold, fresh water.The room looked like a chimney sweeps’ convention. Everyone was tired, dirty and relieved.

This was the day that the essence of the RFS as a volunteer service made an enormous impact on me.

Photo Credits

Captains Flat Road (Gail Nichols)

The property and Cat 7 (Keith Lyons, CC BY 4.0)

Price and Value as a Performance Analyst

Background

This post what I think Mark Upton calls a fragment. It is my attempt to pull together some strands in a debate I need to explore.

It is a debate about valuing people not pricing them.

I have an apology to make at the outset.

In a post written yesterday,  I mentioned that I had been discussing internships with the Australian Catholic University’s  2018 cohort of the Graduate Certificate in Performance Analysis course.

I did not make it explicit (hence my apology) that it was a lively discussion and I used the word ‘slavery’ and talked about ‘minimum living wages’. It started with a question about the Leicester City performance analysis job description.

Thanks to my connector, Darrell Cobner, I learned that this conversation was going on in Atlanta too.

Amber Luzar was one of those who commented in England.

At about the time Lucy posted this, in Strathfield we had reached a Spartacus moment too:

Lance Du’Lac replied to Lucy.

Transformation

During the Strathfield conversation about the Leicester City ‘opportunity’, we discuss the role a cohort of students might play in rejecting an occupational community.

We noted the enormous numbers of people graduating in sport science and performance analysis each year and how a personal portfolio in an application might include experiences in a variety of sport settings.

My argument was that the #ACUGCPA18 Strathfield mob could accept that they are engaged in a transactional relationship with their industry and ‘volunteer’ for unpaid internships with the employer waxing lyrical about the kudos attached to working with for them without pay. And with that dreadful enticement about the possibility of paid employment at some future date should budgets permit.

We discussed the prisoner’s dilemma inherent in this transaction … if I do not do it, somebody else will (namely, “why two completely ‘rational’ individuals might not cooperate, even if it appears that it is in their best interests to do so”).

Our conversation moved on to become a transformational performance analyst. What would it take for all of us not to be complicit in an industry that deludes us?

What if as a collective group we could take a moral stand even at a personal cost? And assert our value rather than our price (or non-price) as sentient human beings who have a passion for the analysis of performance in sport.

I had a three-hour drive home from Strathfield to think about the conversation we had.

On my way home, I stopped for coffee and this job advertisement popped up from a football team in England:

The club is recruiting a performance analyst to implement a variety of analysis strategies/methods to aid the performance of all first team players.

Reporting to First team management the successful candidate will be responsible for developing and implementing cutting edge analysis for the first team. This will incorporate:

Recording and analyse matches

To provide appropriate and effective video analysis sessions for all individual and positional groups within the first team environments

In collaboration with the first team management, monitor and evaluate team and individual KPIs

Maintain a database of games/sessions filmed for future use.

Use a variety of software packages when performing analysis tasks.

Contribute to accessibility of performance analysis support for players and coaches.

Provide motivational or supportive material to be utilised by coaches and players when required.

Liaise with coaches in preparation for analysis sessions.

Assisting with the organisation and training of students and/or interns.

Providing supportive material for upcoming and previous games

The candidate must be able to demonstrate the following:

Essential:

Hold a sports coaching/science related degree.

Level 3 coaching certificate

Experience using coding and video editing software (SportCode, IMovie, Hudl etc.).

Must be completely IT literate (Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and IOS equivalents).

Experience/knowledge of the PMA system

Hold a valid full UK driver’s licence.

Must have excellent communication skills.

Must be dynamic, hardworking and enthusiastic.

Desirable:

Masters or degree in Performance Analysis, Coaching or Sports Science related subject area.

Desire to conduct research to contribute to the development of the Analysis department

Previous experiences of first team football.

Salary: To be confirmed

The successful candidate will be required to work a 6 month probation period.

I thought about driving back to Strathfield!

Dazzled by certification and accreditation

One of this year’s cohort of students in performance analysis does not have a degree. ACU used their recognition of prior learning to acknowledge the student’s twenty years in the sport industry, part of which has been to use innovative visualisation techniques to share information with coaches and athletes. The student’s day job is working with a data analytics company collecting real-time game data.

The student was surprised and delighted that ACU accepted him.

I am mindful that I no longer meet students on a daily basis but I am concerned that job descriptions regard an undergraduate degree as essential and a Masters degree as desirable for a post in performance analysis.

My concern is that performance analysts on different learning pathways in an era of open access, self-directed learning are excluded for sharing their work.

I wondered if this might change if job descriptions were an invitation to audition for the role of performance analyst. At that audition, the employer must share an explicit strategy for analysis and provide details about any mentoring or critical friend support the applicant might require or benefit from.

This dilemma of a mandated qualification is enhanced when formal accreditation such as ESSA’s sport scientist level 1 requires:

Documented evidence of a qualification in exercise, sports or movement science at Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) Level 7 (or an international equivalent) leading to the award of a three-year bachelor degree.

In this context, I find it ironic that ESSA values cultural diversity (“sports scientists need an awareness of cultural diversity to enable them to shape and deliver their services in a culturally aware and sensitive manner”).

A colleague who has twenty years experience of analysis in a national sporting organisation does not meet these criteria despite being acknowledge as an industry example of better practice.

I am not arguing for no standards but want to assert that accreditation and certification are a pathway not the pathway.

Fragments

We are on the cusp of another great wave of development in performance analysis. Few of us remember the analogue era. Most are from a digital world.

My argument is that at the cusp of a post-digital occupational culture in performance analysis, we can support each other by challenging and rejecting unpaid and underpaid work.

We can in my utopian sense, celebrate our shared humanity. Performance analysis is an exciting career but not at any cost.

We should value each other and be valued by sport.

As I was compiling this, a number of other alerts came my way including:

ReGen18

ReGen18 will not be another talk-fest, but a task-force and learning ground with growing real-world impact year-on-year. It will launch a purpose-driven community to share practical tools, powerful ideas, new business models and innovative finance mechanisms to accelerate the change we need at the speed of the problems we now face.

Safe, happy and free (Tarja Halonen):

We live in a cold, harsh and remote place. Every person has to work hard for themselves. But that is not always enough. You have to help your neighbours.

Yesterday, groups in Strathfield (NSW), Atlanta, the United Kingdom and Ireland, as well as the Twittersphere were thinking about our neighbours.

We can do this together but not alone.

Photo Credits

Durran Durra Fire (Queanbeyan RFS)

Keith Lyons (CC BY 4.0)

Supporting playfulness

I was fortunate to spend three days in Penguin, Tasmania over Christmas.

At the west of the town is Johnson’s Beach. I was particularly interested in the layout of the beach area in the context of ongoing discussions in my home town, Braidwood, about how to create play spaces within the town’s heritage area.

There is a skate park at Johnson’s Beach.

I liked the clarity of the code of conduct there:

and the guidelines:

The signs and the space were very well kept and exemplified the ‘RESPECT’ invitation of the signage.

Around the corner from the skate park are some exercise machines (Fit for Parks). They have a beautiful outlook to the west.

The machines are well maintained, have very clear instructions for use and include a QR code for each station that links to a video for further information.

When you have finished the work out or the skate and scooter manoeuvres, there is a place to relax and enjoy the view.

I thought the facilities at Johnson’s Beach were exemplary. Their co-location made it possible to have an inter-generational space. We were there during the school term and saw a small number of young people use the skate park (on scooters). We did see people using the exercise stations and I saw two people use their smart phones to check out the exercises.

The area was very clean and I had a sense that there was a shared responsibility for its upkeep and appearance.

I do think that examples like this can support the conversations we are having in Braidwood about creating play spaces for young people whilst acknowledging the concerns some people have about the town’s heritage.

Photo Credits

Keith Lyons (CC BY 4.0)