That coaching feeling

My granddaughter, Ivy, and I went to our first out-of-town swimming carnival together. The event, for junior schools in and around Goulburn, was held at the Yass Memorial Swimming Pool (also know as the Yass Olympic Swimming Pool).

Ivy’s home pool is 18 metres, Yass is 50.

We had the best part of two hours in the car across country to chat, talk about excitement and nerves.

Ivy has had the good fortune of having swimming lessons with Sharon Blinco at Braidwood. This has given her a great technical introduction to swimming.

We arrived early enough for Ivy to have a ‘warm up’ swim. It was a cold start but Ivy had an opportunity to come to terms with a finishing wall that was 32 metres further than her home pool.

Ivy was swimming in the 50 metres freestyle early in the event. I mentioned to her what ‘marshalling’ was and asked her to look at the start of a couple of races to make sure she was aware of being called to the start and the signal to start.

Whilst Ivy was off with her school friends, I watched some of the early relay races. I saw three swimmers who got me thinking how I might work with them. They stood out amongst their peers.

The coaching feeling I had was about how I might structure their learning environments and how Ivy would flourish in their company through observational learning and conversation.

For a while I was off exploring that coaching feeling. Then it was Ivy’s race.

She swam beautifully, a very long way. She was exhausted after the 50 metres but was radiant with the glow of achievement.

That set me off again about how as a coach I might induct young people into the joy of play and their journey into competition if they wished.

We stopped for pancakes on the way home. Great recovery food … but that was a conversation for another time.

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)

Beyond ‘world leading’ aspirations

I was in Tasmania for the Christmas holidays. Whilst I was there I found a copy of the MOFO (Museum of Old and New Art: Festival Of Music and Art) program for January 2018.

I was particularly interested in David Walsh’s foreword in the program. I have emphasised the last two sentences:

I’m in Seville, a city I’ve not been to before. It’s splendid—one of the most beautiful cities on Earth. And everybody knows it. The locals are proud, the tourists are agog, the atmosphere is feverish. Christopher Columbus left for the new world from here, and he inadvertently brought back most of what makes Seville so spectacular.

Recently my wife spent some time doing art in Launceston. I was there with her, and found it to be enchanting. But it lacked the fever. While Mofo has been fetching flair for ten years now, and depositing it in Hobart, plenty has been happening in Launnie, but not many know it.

Launceston isn’t Seville, and Mona isn’t Christopher Columbus, but I am curious to see if we can raise the temperature in Launceston. There’s nothing more interesting than danger. And there is nothing more dangerous than a new world.

The sentences took me back to my discomfort in reading the Intergenerational Review of Australian Sport 2017. Two of the five areas identified in the report are:

  • Becoming the most active sporting nation …
  • Developing a world leading, trusted sports industry …

I wondered how the MOFO writers might address these aspirations. I wondered too what kind of ‘fever’ a document writing about 2036 might generate by finding different ways of sharing the danger of new lands … because that is where we are heading.

We can let go of ‘world leading’ statements and just do our very best to engender a love of play, games and sport. We do have twenty years to address, nurture and support the essence of play, games and sport in our culture.

We could be very modest about this.

Photo Credit

A tough Nut to crack (Keith Lyons, CC BY 4.0)