#coachlearninginsport Everywhen experiences

In May 1975, Gurindji people were successful in having an area of their own land excised from the Vestey pastoral lease at Wattie Creek in the Northern Territory. Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and Gurindji leader Vincent Lingiari celebrated the handover of the land at Daguragu. The event was recorded by Mervyn Bishop.

I have been immersed in conversations with coaches for the last two weeks and have the opportunity for two more weeks of meeting coaches 1:1.

This is my fifth year of conversations with this group of (twenty-five) coaches. Each time we meet a theme emerges that appears to resonate with them and me. On this visit it is ‘everywhen’.

We have been discussing learning journeys and career options. For some reason these discussions brought up thoughts about the anthropologist Bill Stanner.

In 1953, he wrote about Aboriginal Dreaming. Bill’s understanding was:

A central meaning of The Dreaming is that of a sacred, heroic time long ago when man and nature came to be as they are; but neither ‘time’ nor ‘history’ as we understand them is involved in this meaning.

He added:

 One cannot ‘fix’ The Dreaming in time: it was, and is, everywhen.

Why I think this has been an important conversation with coaches is that is has enabled us to talk about current practices … how we are.

It has been particularly helpful for me in discussions with coaches who are having difficulty finding a new job opportunity. The temptation in their job applications is to talk about past events. I have shared this quote about Aboriginal Dreaming from Bill with them to explore their everywhen:

they do not, in aversion from present or future, look back on it with yearning and nostalgia.

Although:

… it has for them an unchallengeably sacred authority.

Everywhen has been important too in conversations with coaches who are employed and have some security of contract. It has been fascinating to explore their practice including contemplation of the coach they will become.

The Dalai Lama came to my help too:

I have left this quote from Bill’s book to another conversation about journeys with coaches:

White man got no dreaming,

Him go ’nother way.

White man, him go different.

Him got road belong himself.

Photo Credit

In May 1975, Gurindji people were successful in having an area of their own land excised from the Vestey pastoral lease at Wattie Creek in the Northern Territory. Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and Gurindji leader Vincent Lingiari celebrated the handover of the land at Daguragu. The event was recorded by Mervyn Bishop and stored here.

#coachlearninginsport … silent eloquence

During my travels around England this month, I have been listening to Classic FM.

Each hour in the past week, there has been a promotion of the Woodland Trust’s Big Bluebell Watch that mentions Anne Brontë’s Bluebell poem.

The second verse of the poem starts with these two lines:

There is a silent eloquence
In every wild bluebell

Every time I hear those lines, I think about the conversations I have been having with coaches over the last four years in a critical friend project.

Most of the coaches in the group would get stuck into me about being overly romantic in my view of their coaching. However, I do think that the conversations have given me abundant opportunities to share a silent eloquence that comes with their experience and reflection.

There is a melancholy part of the poem too … about times remembered of “sunny days of merriment” when “heart and soul were free”. The poem ends with this verse:

‘Sad wanderer, weep those blissful times
That never may return!’
The lovely floweret seemed to say,
And thus it made me mourn.

A number of the coaches in the group have lost their jobs in the last four years. Two of them are finding the experience of unemployment particularly hard as they strive to get interviews for new opportunities.

They have silent eloquence to share and will flourish in the light.

That is the paradox in Anne’s poem and in the world of coaching … and perhaps why we need a Woodland Trust project for coaches.

Photo Credit

Tiddesley Woods (Pershore Pictures, Twitter)

#coachlearninginsport: hearing motets

I am in England at the moment.

I am here for a month meeting twenty-four rugby union and cricket coaches with whom I have been in critical friend conversations for four years.

Whilst I have been travelling, I have been listening to Radio 3 and Classic FM. If I am very fortunate I hear Philip Glass but he is not often played.

Yesterday, on a journey to Durham, my drive on the A1(M) was uplifted by a recording of Thomas Tallis’s Spem in alium.

Spem in alium is a motet for eight choirs of five voices. I find it a most exquisite piece of music. Wikipedia says of it “its individual vocal lines act quite freely within its elegant harmonic framework”.

It struck me forcefully, on a rather beautiful morning near Wetherby, that I have the immense privilege of hearing twenty-four voices. Two sports, twenty-four learning journeys … that share a harmony.

What is fascinating to me about being part of a four-year journey is that I can hear changes in the voices. Each coach’s journey from good to great has been made possible by their willingness to reflect and consider meta-issues around coaching. They are profoundly engaged in their own and others’ coaching processes.

As when I hear Thomas Tallis’s motet, I am stunned by the depth of insight each coach brings to his and her coaching. This Wikipedia piece could have been written about the coaches:

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.

Imagine having that as a #coachlearninginsport opportunity.

I do think it is scalable.

700 voices for 40 as an example …