At St George’s Park with the ECB and Billy Wright


It is Day 1 at the ECB’s Leading to Performance Conference at St George’s Park.

Today’s program has three keynote presentations.

There are six workshops too:

I arrived at the Park last night and was delighted to discover that Billy Wright would be watching over me.


He was the first player I saw in my first copies of Football Monthly.

This is an earlier picture (not in my room at the hotel) of an epic game in football history, England v Hungary at Wembley in 1953. It was the first game England lost at home.


Billy Wright was part of all the informal games of football I played in the late 1950s. Everyone wanted to be him so it was competitive even to get to be him and then to play with composure.

Later, my vicarious connection with Billy was renewed when I discussed with Charles Reep his work with Stan Cullis at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Photo Credit

Billy Wright (Daily Telegraph)

Leading to Performance


I am in England this week. I am taking part in the ECB’s Leading to Performance Conference at the Football Association’s St George’s Park, Burton-on-Trent.

There are six keynote addresses during the two days of the Conference.

  • A welcome address by Paul Downton.
  • Andy Flower on Leading and Learning.
  • Simon Weston on his story.
  • Peter Moores, Andy Flower and Kevin Shine on the Fellowship of Elite Coaches.
  • Gemma Morgan on The Sticky Stuff.
  • Stuart Lancaster.

There are six workshops on Day 1 of the Conference:

  • Leadership with Integrity (Harry Bartlett)
  • The Silent Killers of Coaching Careers (John Neal)
  • In Transition (me)
  • Perception and Change (Keir Worth)
  • Leading the Lions (Mark Robinson)
  • Action Types Applied (Gordon Lord and Mark Garaway)

There are seven workshops on Day 2:

  • Pace Update (Kevin Shine and Dave Alred)
  • The Neuroscience of Leadership (Tony Faulkner)
  • Assisting Reflection (Richard Halsall)
  • Supporting ‘winning habits’ (Changing Minds)
  • On the Bus (me)
  • Critical Determinants of Performance (Toni Minichello, Pete Lindsay and Paul Brice)
  • An Alternative View of Talent Selection and Development (Lew Hardy)

It is a very full program. I hope to post about the keynotes and workshops.

My trigger presentation for my workshop on Day 1 can be found here.



Challenge Conference: Celebrating a Learning Organisation

I have had a wonderful two days at the England and Wales Cricket Board’s Challenge Conference at St. George’s Park.

I admire immensely the transformations Hugh Morris and Gordon Lord have brought to elite performance and coach education.

Their work and the remarkable energy at this conference have prompted me to think about learning organisations (and consequently Harold Jarche‘s views on such organisations).

Harold noted in a post earlier this year (31 May) that three indicators would suggest a true learning organisation:


In the same post, Harold writes about his review and synthesis several of his observations on learning in networked environments. He proposes:


Two of the many innovations discussed at the Challenge Conference are: the launch of a Hub App to support Level 4 coaches; and the establishment of a Fellowship of Elite Coaches.

The Hub will go live on 5 November and offers a rich resource for coaches that are “interconnected in the network era”. The Fellowship is a group of elite coaches distinguished by their achievements and contribution to coaching. It aims to advance the philosophy, practice and methodology in cricket coaching whilst furthering the role of coaching as a profession.

Simon Timson’s Science and Medicine update on day two of the conference was the embodiment of a learning organisation for me. Simon reviewed six years’ work with the ECB and discussed three themes:

  1. You do not need to be fit to play cricket
  2. You cannot predict future potential
  3. Punishment is bad


In discussing each of these themes, Simon drew upon the work of teams of colleagues who were contributing to transformation. His presentation exemplified Harold’s principles. Simon narrated his work in a transparent environment. He gave evidence daily support for social learning. He has made time available for reflection and sharing stories.

Simon has just been appointed UK Sport’s Performance Director. He will take up his post in January 2013. I think this is an outstanding appointment that will raise important issues for both organisations about continuity in learning.

Photo Credit