Travel Companion 1

I have been travelling on motorways, main roads, side roads and country lanes in the last month.

I have been visiting twenty-four coaches in a critical friend group in England. My physical journeys have given me ample time to reflect on personal learning journeys.

I have a rental car not a coach. I am going to write about the ‘Mitcham Belle’ in a subsequent post. I am using the picture here as a placeholder for the etymology of the word ‘coach’ and the start of a conversation about learning journeys.

I have been thinking that if I place so much emphasis on coaches’ personal learning, I can move on from the descriptors ‘coach developer’ and ‘mentor’.

I have been looking for other ways to describe my work and I am going to settle on ‘travel companion’. I will explain more in subsequent posts but I hope this is a start of conversations about entangled learning that involves leading, following, guiding, meddling … and just being on the bus.

Photo Credit

The Mitcham Belle (Keith Lyons, CC BY 4.0)

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)

#coachlearninginsport … silent eloquence

During my travels around England this month, I have been listening to Classic FM.

Each hour in the past week, there has been a promotion of the Woodland Trust’s Big Bluebell Watch that mentions Anne Brontë’s Bluebell poem.

The second verse of the poem starts with these two lines:

There is a silent eloquence
In every wild bluebell

Every time I hear those lines, I think about the conversations I have been having with coaches over the last four years in a critical friend project.

Most of the coaches in the group would get stuck into me about being overly romantic in my view of their coaching. However, I do think that the conversations have given me abundant opportunities to share a silent eloquence that comes with their experience and reflection.

There is a melancholy part of the poem too … about times remembered of “sunny days of merriment” when “heart and soul were free”. The poem ends with this verse:

‘Sad wanderer, weep those blissful times
That never may return!’
The lovely floweret seemed to say,
And thus it made me mourn.

A number of the coaches in the group have lost their jobs in the last four years. Two of them are finding the experience of unemployment particularly hard as they strive to get interviews for new opportunities.

They have silent eloquence to share and will flourish in the light.

That is the paradox in Anne’s poem and in the world of coaching … and perhaps why we need a Woodland Trust project for coaches.

Photo Credit

Tiddesley Woods (Pershore Pictures, Twitter)