#coachlearninginsport: good vibrations


On 12 February, David Blair, the Director of the Australian International Gravitational Research Centre at the University of Western Australia, wrote:

Our observation of the gravitational waves from the merger of two black holes simultaneously represents our first glimpse of the first stars in the universe, and a direct observation of the final end point of stellar evolution. We have seen the vibrations of the shimmering event horizon of a newly formed black hole, where time comes to an end.

He added:

It is hard to overstate the significance of this discovery. It is our first direct contact with our first stellar ancestors. It is our first direct view of a place in the universe where matter loses all its identity and time comes to an end. It is the first of many messages that will tell us how many black holes are out there and how much of the mass of the universe they can account for.

This is the sound of a “ripple in space-time took a thousand million years to reach us, hurtling through the void at 299,000 kilometres a second”. It is a chirp.

Liam Viney has suggested that this discovery is an opportunity “to ponder what kind of thinker Albert Einstein was”. He asked what kind of mind Einstein had to conceptualise gravitational waves …

Born two decades before the beginning of the 20th century, what kind of mind was his that could come up with ideas that would have to wait until the second decade of the 21st century to be proven correct?

Liam points to Einstein’s love of music as a way to bring “a uniquely aesthetic quality to his theories”.

He wanted his science to be unified, harmonious, expressed simply, and to convey a sense of beauty of form.

Liam added:

Music inspired and guided him; it stimulated parts of his brain that could not be accessed through sitting at his desk. It gave him a sense of patterns, feelings, hunches, intuitions – all manner of sensual information that could be described as ways of thinking that don’t involve words.

Stewart Riddle has extended the discussion of Einstein’s love of music. He suggests:

It would not be an understatement to claim that gravitational waves can provide us with a soundtrack to the universe. And, most amazingly, an amateur violinist got it right over a century ago!

All of which encouraged me to think about the ripple effect of coaching on a smaller, cosmic scale.

What learning experiences might coaches have to extend their impact on the long-term learning of athletes as well as their own learning?

I wonder whether we might learn to coach in a way that prompts coaches and athletes to make a Szbolcs Marka kind of observation:

Until this moment, we had our eyes on the sky and we couldn’t hear the music. The skies will never be the same.


Photo Credits

Einstein’s apartment, Bern (NASA Blueshift, CC BY 2.0)

Einstein on a bike (Tony and Wayne, CC BY-NC 2.0)

The Power of Photographs

Three years ago, I wrote about a photograph Ralph Morse had taken of Albert Einstein’s desk in 1955. Ben Cosgrove (2014) has written about Ralph’s photography on that day.

This is the image:

Albert Einstein’s office just as the Nobel Prize-winning physicist left it

Copyright: Ralph Morse—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

A discovery of a tweet by John Aldridge brought back memories of the Life photograph and set off different memories with this photograph:


What a remarkable artifact to share. What I find tantalising is that there is an impression of another letter in this image. Was this the Liverpool club’s reply?

I have been imagining how you might reply to such a humble letter from one of football’s iconic managers.

The letter is in a collection at the Shankly Hotel due to open in August 2015.