A game of rugby union in 1907

A picture of the Stade Francais rugby union team. 1903.

Thanks to Darrell Cobner, I have another discovery to share.

A photograph of Maurice Martin.Darrell suggested I look at Frederic Humbert’s blog, Rugby Pioneers. (Simon Eaves and Paul Worsfold also link to Frederic’s post in their 2014 review of notational analysis for rugby football.)

In 2010, Frederic shared the story of Maurice Martin and Fernand Bidault’s visit to Bordeaux on 24 March 1907 to record the French Rugby Union Championship final.

Their hand notation records “la marche du ballon a travers les deux camps”. This record of their notation includes a photograph of their observation point on the top of the grandstand at the Stade Sainte-Germaine at Le Bouscat.

A photograph of the hand notation of the 1907 rugby union final.

There were 12,000 spectators at the game so the vantage point would have been particularly helpful in their comprehensive “schema chronometre”.  The notation is recorded with the time of day: kick off 3pm, end of first half 3.43 pm; second half starts 4pm and ends at 4.47pm.

The home team, SBUC, won the game by 14 points to 3 (4 tries to 1). It was 6 points to 3 at half time (2 tries to 1). The SBUC tries were scored by Maurice Leuvielle, Jacques Dufourcq, Marc Giacardy, and Pascal Laporte. Henri Martin converted one of these tries. The Stade Francais try was scored by Charles Vareilles.

I was fascinated to discover this notation. Eighty-four years later, I was perched in the top of the old Cardiff Arms Park using hand notation to record the flow of an international game. I did have the advantage of a stopwatch and a roof on a rainy day.

Photo Credit

Maurice Martin (Wikipedia)

Stade Fracais 1903 (Frederic Humbert)

A Day Contemplating Analytics


It has been a delightful day here today.

I have found myself thinking about and discussing analytics for much of the day.

I was fortunate to have lunch with two of my PhD students, Dr. Dennis Bryant and Dr. Ron Smith. Each Wednesday we have an unmeeting at the Mizzuna Cafe at the University of Canberra. Ron is a regular, this was Dennis’s first unmeeting with us. Chris Barnes and Mark Gawler were with us too.

Today’s unmeeting discussed Dennis’s research into students’ failing learning journeys which merged with Ron’s research about winning performance in football. The combination of failing and succeeding led to an extended conversation about pedagogy.

Earlier in the day I had posted about Performance Universals in which I was working through some ideas prompted by a paper at the #Ascilite2016 Conference that has been running in Adelaide from Sunday until this afternoon. (My notes as a remote participant following Twitter feeds for three days are here.)

My interest in the conference was twofold: I was keen to learn more about participants thoughts on educational technologies; and to follow conversations about Learning Analytics stimulated by the one day workshop organised by the Australian Learning Analytics Summer Institute.

At some point I would like to explore the connections between the burgeoning field of learning analytics, performance analysis in sport and sport analytics. There is so much to share.

The day was wrapped by following up on a link recommended by Darrell Cobner. He suggested that I look at Nick Clarke’s post Analytics is not just about patterns in big data.

I found time to tweet two quotes the post:

Nick’s post led me to a second post written by him earlier in the year. It has the delightful title Hyenas, lions and city lights – accurately measuring behaviour is rarely straightforward.

In the post, Nick argues for the rehabilitation of the image of the hyena. I thought his points were a great way to end my luxurious day:

Limited seeing leads to unreliable believing, an important lesson for our data-driven future.

The secret is to collect enough of the big picture alongside your targeted measurements, to establish the full context. When I built a data-driven condition monitoring system to combat poor train reliability, it wasn’t enough just to measure data feeds from the suspect components. It needed additional feeds to establish the different operating states of the train, such as accelerating, braking, or coasting, as well as its location on the network. Only then could I have a broad enough picture of the real environment of my subject.

… and to do so with such a delightfully crafted narrative.

Richard, Mark, Darrell, Sheila, and Arvo


I spent part of yesterday listening to Richard Tognetti.

Richard appeared on Radio National’s Music Show here in Australia. He was discussing nerves, fear and fallibility in music performance. I liked the idea that we can give in to little mistakes, trust in what we have learned … and in Richard’s terms be “match brave”.

I thought it was an excellent insight into the dynamics of public performance. I enjoyed the comparison of big wave surfing and conducting Ravel for the first time.

Two alerts this morning extended my thinking about public performance. The first was about a Mark Upton post on Medium.

I have had the good fortune to know Mark for some time. I am fascinated by his polymath understanding of performance and particularly enjoy his thinking out loud approach to sharing.


Today’s post was titled The Value of “Working Out Loud” and subtitled My Journey Understanding Practice Design and Learning. The post was based around some ideas Mark shared six years ago.

This time round, Mark has shared his thoughts by thinking out loud, of which he observes:

Working out loud in a public forum requires a unique form of courage – to embrace vulnerability and humility. These characteristics may underpin “expert learning” (?) and having people of this ilk in coaching and support roles seems vital in helping players and athletes be their best.

I agree in all respects.

Posts written by Mark help all of us reflect on our practice. I see this willingness to share through blogging as a vital contribution to rethinking learning.

Darrell Cobner added to my reading this morning. He is a great companion to Mark in my thinking about performance. He is an assiduous connector and most days his recommendations take me off on a journey of discovery.

This morning he linked Mark and me with Sheila MacNeill.

Sheila started to blog because “I was told to”. She notes:

It did take me a while to find my blogging voice, but I am so glad that I did because my blog has become a central part of my working practice. More importantly for me it is actually my professional memory/portfolio.  If something significant happens I will blog about it.  Blogging is a bit of a habit for me, and as any writer knows, getting into and staying in the habit of writing is crucial.

She adds:

One of the reasons I blog is that it allows me to write in a very informal, non academic way.  I am the first to admit that my blog lacks academic rigor. That’s one of the main reasons I keep it going.  It is a really comfortable place for me to start to play around with ideas, and to tell my stories.

I see this story telling as a fundamental way to connect not only in education but in sport too. Sheila and Mark took me back to some ideas about narrative I was exploring in 1998:


I had in mind an approach that sought integration and that used insights from writers such as Elliot Eisner and Donal Polkinhorne.


I see the quality of blogging output from Mark, Darrell and Sheila to be characteristic of the art of connoisseurship advocated by Elliot:

Connoisseurship is something that needs to be worked at – but it is not a technical exercise. The bringing together of the different elements into a whole involves artistry.

It involves the willingness to have a public voice. I see blogging as a vital part of this voice. I explored some of the issues about blogging in this 2012 post.

My morning ended as it had started with music. The Conversation published a delightful piece by Frederic Kiernan on Arvo Pärt.

This paragraph caught my attention:

Pärt created music with an eerie, mystical stillness. His compositional method “tintinnabuli”, an original invention, was so named for the bell-like quality of its resulting triadic harmonies.

Whenever I listen to Arvo Pärt, I am struck by the music within the music in his compositions. I understand that I am hearing keynotes and triads when I listen to his music. This is Peter Phillips on Arvo’s music:

These are the kind of journeys thinking out loud and sharing make possible for me.

Thinking out loud, without any obligation for anyone to read or listen to my thoughts, is liberating. Like Mark, Darrell and Sheila, I do think “We need to be our own digital storytellers”.

Digital sharing gives us the opportunity to develop polysemic stories. Such stories resonate with David White and Alison Le Cornu’s (2011) view of the activities of digital residents (quoted by David Jones in a recent post). Digital residents:

see the Web as a place, perhaps like a park or a building in which there are clusters of friends and colleagues whom they can approach and with whom they can share information about their life and work. A proportion of their lives is actually lived out online where the distinction between online and off–line is increasingly blurred. Residents are happy to go online simply to spend time with others and they are likely to consider that they ‘belong’ to a community which is located in the virtual…To Residents, the Web is a place to express opinions, a place in which relationships can be formed and extended.

Much of my time (everywhen) is spent in the blurred space “between online and off–line”. I am delighted that I am joined by Richard, Mark, Darrell, Sheila and Arvo in this blurring.


Photo Credits

Mavericks Big Waves (Robert Scoble, CC BY 2.0)

Met Tilt Shift (Hey Tiffany!, CC BY 2.0)