Discovering Ma

A picture of ripples created by raindrops

By chance, I heard someone talking about ma today. It was a conversation about minimalism and architecture. Ma is a Japanese term.

The Unique Japan web site (link) observes:

Ma is something that relates to all aspects of life. It has been described as a pause in time, an interval or emptiness in space. Ma is the fundamental time and space life needs to grow. If we have no time, if our space is restricted, we cannot grow. How we spend our time and shape the space we live in directly impacts our progress. These principles are universal, when applied effectively they enhance the way we think and how we engage with our surroundings.

Ma is “the space between the edges, between the beginning and the end, the space and time in which we experience life” (link).

Another web site defines ma as “the emptiness full of possibilities, like a promise yet to be fulfilled” (link).

In exploring ma, I am mindful of the lack of any equivalent in the English language.

I am attracted to ma, as it helps me make sense of how we might use space and time in game playing to transform our experiences. And perhaps to move to what Yoko Akama (2015) conceptualises as “between-ness as a way of becoming with” (link).

I am keen to explore the pedagogical aspects of this. I sense that this a relationship between coach and athlete, teacher and student that has a profound effect on everyone involved.

Photo Credit

Photo by Caroline Grondin on Unsplash

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)

#coachlearning: when Thomas meets Adam and friends

I tend to listen to classical music whenever I am travelling. I feel really comfortable with that kind of music.

Over the years I have thought about the connections that might be made in coach learning with composers, conductors and musicians.

There are lots of posts on Clyde Street about my imagined connections between classical music and coaching. Last year, for example, motets struck me as a way to discuss coaching. I included this quote about the Thomas Tallis Spem in Alium (written for 40 voices):

The work is a study in contrasts: the individual voices sing and are silent in turns, sometimes alone, sometimes in choirs, sometimes calling and answering, sometimes all together, so that, far from being a monotonous mess, the work is continually presenting new ideas.

I particularly like the idea of performance “presenting new ideas”. In this example, the motet is sung by 700 rather than 40 voices, and raised for me the idea about the scalability of performance:

Occasionally, I break away from classical musical and end up meeting other musicians like the Pierce Brothers and Tash Sultana. They helped me think about performances of understanding.

This week, I discovered, Adam Levine and Maroon 5.

I have had the good fortune to work with many female athletes and coaches of female athletes. When I saw Maroon 5’s Girls Like You video, I immediately thought about how a coach might support the diversity of talents and life experiences in a team.

The video is 4 minutes 30 seconds long and has a remarkable cast. I have replayed the video many times now and it is strikes me forcefully what we might learn from it to support coaches as they explore their practice and their performances.

If you would like to learn more about the people who appeared in the video, you might find this Billboard article of interest (link).

I am delighted Thomas has met Adam via a short detour with the Pierce Brothers and Tash. I think we have lots to learn within sport from outside experiences of performance and how we might enable a commonwealth of talent.