March 16, 2020


Growth Through Adversity

One of my thought heroes in the movement community, the late and great martial artist and movement philosopher, Bruce Lee, once stated, “To change with change is the changeless state.” These words resonate with me personally in what we are facing today and I hope they can help you, as well. Of course, this rather deep idea takes his philosophical stance of one’s need ‘To be like water’ one step further and places a premium on the role of adaptability under the pressures of the problems we may face as humans. 

Over the last few weeks, every human under the sun has had their sense of normalcy affected in some way by the worldwide pandemic that is the Coronavirus (COVID-19). These changes may only continue to intensify over the short-term. All in all, the world is facing unprecedented challenges at the moment which is presenting us all with problems which can leave us searching for solutions. However, as we would preach to our athletes, we believe that these challenging problems, which certainly seem to be not only complex but also dynamically changing with each passing day, represent a tremendous opportunity for growth, as well.

Thus, even in this time of worldwide caution and the care that comes along with attacking this pandemic head-on, our team at Emergence feels as though there is no better time than now to lean into our Form of Life – oriented around being Attuned, Adaptable, and Dexterous – to drive us to ‘control the controllables’ and remain on the constant pursuit to better ourselves each and everyday under the constraints of any situation and conditions that we may face…both as individuals as well as our collective Movement community.

We realize that many of you are being presented with extra time on your hands that you are accustomed to spending with/around athletes. Yet, because of the contextual problems in front of you, you may feel distant and disconnected…though likely still looking to positively impact your craft and those aforementioned athletes even if from afar. Thus, today, I wanted to share what I hope could be some personal but also practical insights for those out there looking to face these challenges head-on while attempting to use them as an opportunity to grow.

Anytime, I am offered with challenges of any magnitude which impact my craft (myself getting ill or maybe injured, family life being disrupted for any reason, the social distancing that is occurring with COVID-19, etc), I elect to take this time to reflect on where I stand, take an inventory of the current state of my skill-set, and reinvest in myself in attempting to better my established, pertinent weaknesses. I understand that some of you out there may be able to ‘hit the reset button’ by taking time away; choosing to spend their time distancing themselves from their work such as watching movies or a TV series. However, though I appreciate that’s what some individuals feel will recharge their batteries and take their minds off of the world’s troubles, that just isn’t me…I can’t be that passive passenger in times like this, I insist on taking more active control on that which I can.

Of course, Emergence is a movement skill education company. Within it exists a community of Sport Movement Specialists of all sorts standing in various niches, wearing diverse hats, trusted with the enhancement of movement skills for athletes of all levels and sports, and possessing of their own individual Form of Life. The threads that tie us together though, beyond the vitality of passion and energy that we possess, can come back to what I have always referred to as the ‘Sport Movement Specialist Skill-set’ which consists of an overlapping of science and art, which is undoubtedly underpinned by our abilities to analyze movement skill in sport, understand interconnections and relations there, design more effective learning environments for the enhancement of the problem solving capabilities of our athletes, and offer more purposeful guidance and communication methods for our athletes to own their movement skills. Thus, in this time, I would like to recommend that each individual in our collective sport movement community take the needed time to participate in a personal inventory of sorts oriented around these abilities of the Sport Movement Specialist Skill-set:

  • Analysis (Reorient your perspective on the performer-environment relationship)
    • Are you giving proper respect to the movement problems that your athletes face? Or, are you paying too much attention asymmetrically on the athlete themselves?
    • Are you taking the time to watch your athletes where and when it counts (in the sport itself) and using that as your assessment of the work that you both are doing? 
    • How are you determining the gaps within your athlete’s movement toolbox? 
  • Understanding (Connect the dots and the interrelations)
    • It’s been said that “there is nothing so practical as a good theory” (Kurt Lewin): so, when an athlete coordinates, controls, and organizes their movement behaviors in the organic sport environment, what theory do you find yourself using to guide your knowledge of why, what, and how the movement skill emerged in the way that it did?
    • What concepts and terms do you feel as though you are unclear on at this time that could potentially arm you with further understanding needed to see movement behavior in sport more clearly in your analysis? 
  • Practice/Learning Environment Design (Setting the problems which enhance functional movement problem solving processes)
    • Are you presenting problems to the athlete to solve which are alive and dynamic (require sensitive perception, decision making, and adjust-ability of actions)? 
    • Is the information which is present in the competitive environment being represented with fidelity in the learning environment? What could you do to make it more ‘representative’? Do you need to do that? What’s stopping you from doing it? 
    • Do you feel as though you are adequately equipped to manipulate constraints to allow for the affordances for action to present themselves naturally for athletes to accept?
  • Guidance and communication (Facilitating movement ownership)
    • Would you say your learning environment is more learner-centered or more coach-centered? Why or why not? What are the pros and cons of your current situation? 
    • Are you finding ways to connect with, and relate to, each individual learner in your environment in an authentic fashion? Where are you having troubles in this area?

This obviously only a short list of potential questions which could get you started. Begin in the area(s) that you feel you are weakest and/or where you personally feel yourself being magnetized to. Dive in head first there. Read the journal articles which relate to those topics that have likely remained open on the tabs on your computer for months. Call the fellow Movement Professional who you know has a better grasp on that topic. Take the necessary time to brainstorm and meditate on that respective area in your craft and outline ideas as to how you can go about improving there immediately! Just take action…because the opportunity for growth is here and now.

Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention some things that we at Emergence are trying to do to assist you in this growth journey right now, as well. If you are interested in utilizing this time to dive into our content and courses, we want to extend an offer of 25% OFF for the next 30 days (till April 15th, 2020). To take us up on this, just use the code “BEADAPTABLE25″ when checking out, and you should be good to go!

Additionally, we are making all our upcoming Movement Meet-up Calls  Free for Everyone, (usually it is exclusive only to those who are enrolled in one of our courses) who are interested in joining us. We feel as though grasping onto fellowship with those across the movement community is the best way for us all to adapt accordingly.

All in all, we wish you and yours an abundance of health and wellness through this trying time.

Shawn Myszka

Co-Director of Education