RWC2019 Referee appointments for pool games

World Rugby has announced the match official appointments for the forty matches that comprise the Rugby World Cup 2019 pool stage (link).

Nigel Owens will referee the opening match when Japan play Russia at the Tokyo Stadium on 20 September.

There is an official list of all the appointments for the pool games (link).

There is a list of the twenty-three officials selected to officiate at the 48 matches at Rugby World Cup 2019 (link). There are twelve referees, seven assistant referees and four television match officials that represent nine nations.

Photo Credit

Tokyo Stadium (World Rugby)

Performance data and wisdom

I had just finished reading an Eric Colson post, What AI-Driven Decision Making Looks Like (link) when up popped a Training Ground Guru article Dave Reddin: Football performance is facing a ‘generational challenge’ (link).

In his post, Eric observes “data holds the insights that can enable better decisions; processing is the way to extract those insights and take actions”. He adds:

There are many business decisions that depend on more than just structured data. Vision statements, company strategies, corporate values, market dynamics all are examples of information that is only available in our minds and transmitted through culture and other forms of non-digital communication. This information is inaccessible to AI and extremely relevant to business decisions.

I was particularly struck by the culture (my emphasis) part of this argument and “other forms of non-digital communication”. It reminded me very much of Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann’s discussion of the social construction of reality (link) and brought this quote to mind “social order exists only as a product of human activity”.

In the Training Ground Guru article, Dave is quoted as observing “previous generations of sports scientists have created a real problem for our athletes in over-measuring and creating over-cautious coaches”. Dave’s thoughts resonate strongly with Tony Strudwick’s comments too (link).

Dave’s (and Tony’s) observations led me to think about effort and performance ceilings. Dave notes “If you don’t push, you will never create the resilience and physical capability. It’s a big watch out. How do we use measurement intelligently?”.

We now have more data about performance than we have ever had. I see the intelligent measurement as key to our understanding of performance. It is an issue Eric Colson has grappled with too. It involves wisdom and the ability to synthesise atomistic data points into an organic understanding of short, medium, and long-term performance.

Monika Ardelt (link) “defines, operationalizes, and measures wisdom as an integration of cognitive, reflective, and affective personality characteristics”. Wisdom is realised by a person.

Of these wise people, Monika observes:

They perceive a deeper truth that had a profound effect on their personality and conduct in life. Hence, they teach others as much by words as by personal example. Second, wise individuals are able to transcend their subjectivity and projections and look at events objectively and from many different perspectives.

She invites researchers ” to continue the dialogue about the appropriate definition, operationalization, and measurement of wisdom”. This is where the issues Dave and Tony raise meet.

Collectively, they have vast understanding of performance. Their careers have witnessed at first hand the growing amounts of data available and how they have managed in cognitive, reflective and affective ways to keep an organic sense of performance. It is Monika’s assertion that these three characteristics embody personal wisdom.

The opportunity exists to debate this wisdom in sport performance environments and to explore how we might conceive of and support holistic performance compared to a data environment of atomistic records of training and competition.

Photo Credit

Eric Muhr on Unsplash

Poetry, prose and poetics

I saw this quotation in a news item today:

Politicians when they are in campaign mode… tend to campaign in poetry, in simple terms and high-level messages.

When you get into office you have to govern in prose … and face a very serious reality check.

I was fascinated by the juxtaposition of poetry and prose in this quotation. It prompted me to think about how teachers and coaches create their learning opportunities and the language they use to mobilise interest and engagement.

My work has been profoundly influenced by the approach taken by Miller Mair. Three decades ago (link), he observed that he used “a story telling approach which attends more to our ‘acts of telling’ than to particular methods by which we ‘get the facts straight’, He added “Every telling is a composition with personal intentions. Every telling is partial, suffused with personal interest”.

Miller has a clear sense of what poetry is to him “By poetry I do not mean short lines on a page that may or may not rhyme. I am referring to an approach to living that involves imaginative fluency rather than conventional solidity. I am referring to being able to hear with new ears, see with fresh eyes, and becoming able to speak with imaginative directness, telling it like it feels and is right now”.

I sense that this imaginative fluency is quite different to the short bites of a political campaign. I was also fascinated by Miller’s approach to poetics. He stressed “the importance of a poetic approach in psychology and psychotherapy, and the need to explore and understand the nature of psychology through an imaginative freedom of language”. He emphasised too that “a poetic awareness and attentiveness is fundamental to any pursuit of understanding of ourselves or others” (link).

This relationship between experience and story-sharing has been an important guide for me in my practice and my thinking about practice in teaching and coaching. Today’s alert to poetry and prose has set me off on another journey.

Photo Credit

Arthur Humeau on Unsplash