Performance Analytics and Pedagogy

Some recent posts have encouraged me to think about pedagogy for a new age of performance analytics in sport.

It started with Mine Cetinkaya-Rundel‘s speakerdeck Let them eat cake (first)! (link). Slide 16:

Slide 61 really pushed me to think about how we might share with a different kind of pedagogy:

… and brought back memories of Jo Ito‘s observation “education is what people do to you, learning is what you do to yourself”.

Next up was Karen Gold’s Transforming the First Ten Minutes of Class (link). In her post, she notes:

After attending Penny Kittle’s workshop on 180 Days: Two Teachers and the Quest to Engage and Empower Adolescents last summer, I made the decision to shift my teaching-. Like most teachers, I’ve done a lot of professional development. I’d come away refreshed and excited to try something new, but too often, it was challenging to incorporate a big, new idea into the fast-paced routine of school. Penny’s workshop was different. Something resonated with me that summer morning, and I thought, “I can do this. I WILL do this.”

Karen’s story shares her experiences of encouraging children to read at the start of a lesson. Day 1:

Instead of going over a syllabus or introducing course expectations, the librarians and I gave brief book talks, sharing novels we had read or that we knew were well-received by young adults.

This sounded like Mine’s cake to me. As did Solomon Kingsworth’s discussion of reading comprehension (link), he proposed:

If reading comprehension relies on background knowledge and mental models of the world, then the purpose of our lessons should be to leave the child with more knowledge and mental models.

Solomon talks about the pedagogy that shares the treasure that lies within each book.

This pushed me to think how we share treasure in our domain and epistemic culture in a new information age. And how, as The Economist suggested recently, our first step is “to understand that it is not data that are valuable. It is you” (link).

Three examples from sport appeared as I was pondering these issues:

Laura Seth shared news of a webinar hosted by the FA in January to discuss Performance Analysis & Effective Observations (link).

Mladen Jovanovic published Predicting non-contact hamstring injuries by using training load data and machine learning models (link).

Sam Robertson tweeted a list “of the type of sports science/analytics research I think we need to see more of in 2019”:

  • Optimising the structure, efficiency and communication practices of practitioner teams
  • More club, institution, university and manufacturer collaboration to address ‘whole of sport’ problems
  • Longitudinal skill/learning interventions in team sport settings.
  • New and better methods for coaches to improve communication, rapport & trust with athletes
  • Analysis of raw tracking data.
  • Interdisciplinary collaboration,  psychophysics (utility of visuals in reporting and learning), cognitive science.
  • Field application of work undertaken in other disciplines (deep learning & unstructured data), automation and semi-automation of many manual processes currently faced by sports practitioners, and human and machine integration.

Laura, Mladen and Sam are actively engaged in service delivery in high performance sport. As I read their posts I was thinking about how a pedagogy of praxis might engage the next generation of performance analytics.

I am thinking that my pedagogy will move even more strongly to an unmeeting approach with lots of mention of cake.

Photo Credit

Person holding black fruit near cake  (Alex Loup on Unsplash)

Coaching Ideas

Two fragments came together yesterday and sent me off thinking about coaching.

The first came in an email message from Jo Gibson. She is writing up her PhD at the moment and we have been discussing narrative forms. In her email, Jo shared a description of a short story as:

something glimpsed from the corner of the eye, in passing. An illuminated moment … a glimpse of truth, about which you have forgotten to ask.

When I read that I thought that it was a powerful description of coaches’ experiences as they try to extend their practice. I particularly like the “forgotten to ask” part.

In my own coaching, the forgotten parts emerge through reflection and become part of the next short story, sometimes made explicit, but often left unsaid, embedded in the guided discovery I have planned.

The second fragment also came in the form an email. A friend had seen the first episode of Monty Don’s Paradise Gardens programs. In that program, Monty visits Isfahan, Kashnan, Shiraz and Pasargadae in Iran. There is archeological evidence of a garden at the heart of Cyrus’s 6th century palace at Pasargadae. The program note observes:

When the Arabs invaded Persia in the 6th century, it was these Zoroastrian gardens that influenced their ideas not only of what a garden should be, but of paradise itself.

What struck me about this was that our gardens today are connected to this garden. Our practices have their roots (literally and metaphorically) in Persia.

These two fragments came together in my thinking about how we learn to be coaches and develop our own sense of coaching.

In our coaching, I believe we glimpse the coaching of others who preceded us. On some days, the way a coaching session evolves gives us a taste of ‘paradise’ … in Iranian, a word that describes an enclosed space.

At such moments, our coaching is connected with the ideas that have been explored in other places and are realised in our own design.

Photo Credits

Grenada in 2D (Alexander Savin, CC BY-NC 2.0)

Wrestler and his coach (Michael Heiniger, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Thinking about analytics

A line in Colin Beer’s Learning analytics and magic beans (1 March 2018) “Learning analytics requires a learning approach …” sent me off thinking about how discussions about learning analytics in education might facilitate conversations about analytics in sport.

I produced this slide deck to think out loud:

Photo Credit
Making Sense Of The Data: For You And Your Coach (Jacquie Tran, 2014)