It has been over 15 years since I started my journey into the abyss of learning, but in reality it has been going on for forty plus years. I only clued in 15 years ago. I have always been an athlete who had marginal physical talent but loved being out on the practice range. I learned to play golf in an era where the only material you had available was the latest edition of Golf Digest and the two hours of weekly golf coverage on TV. We played with Persimmon and Balata. No wonder I swing the way I do! We watched the top amateurs play and tried to emulate some there moves. Quite frankly, I am very surprised that I reached the level I did. All the learning I did was physical and was by trial and error. I was fortunate enough to have a do not quit mentality that was instilled into me by depression parents. The mental side of the game was never discussed, it was it was like we were cave people looking to discover fire and the wheel. That is how primitive it was.
Things really started when I read a book call Vision 54 by Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriot. It made a connection with me like no other golf book had. It just so happened that I was coerced back into coaching hockey once again. The men that I coached with were far superior in their technical knowledge of the game than me. I always coached by feel and game observation. Not text book to say the least and was not in the Hockey Canada coaching manual. I tried to bring the Vision 54 conception to hockey. The ice surface was the play box and the bench was the think box. The bench was an unused area at the minor level and still is in my opinion. I asked the players to refocus their mind after a shift and watch the game from a different perspective, ice level so on their next shift they were better prepared. I kept things very simple, using short phrases as so not to complicate things. That team did some remarkable things that the coaching staff was proud of. Not so sure about a couple of parents who thought we were incapable of coaching their kid, in reality they had no concept of how an athlete or a person learns. We did!
A few years back I came across this chart and it explains the four stages of learning. It should be a staple for any coach. If I had this when I first started Coaching I would have been a better coach. The level of communication would have been much better for message I was trying to send. The good news is it is a great point of reference for me when I am attempting to learn a new motor movement skill or evaluate the skills of a team. It may also explain why teams or athletes perform inconsistently. They flip between different levels of learning due to many reasons, but now we can identify on a daily basis where they are at and plan our practice time around that.
These are skills that coaches at all levels need to have an understanding of. Unfortunately there a lot coaches that have superior talent at their disposal and win despite their inability to teach athletes correctly. This gives a false positive and these coaches continue their journey through the system and not really teaching and getting their athletes to the next level of performance. It is not their fault. It is the fault of the governing bodies not giving the Coaches at the most basic of levels the tools to properly do their jobs.
As for me I will be the guy out in hot sun sweating and taking the verbal jabs from people who do not understand what I am doing and loving every minute of it as I strive to improve and learn at point in life where most decide to coast.
Told you I had that do not quit mentality!
Until next time!
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