Meeting People Where They Are

Now over halfway through our second cohort of The Movement Academy (TMA), I have found that one of my main roles in the facilitation of growth for many of the participants lies in me frequently challenging some of them to step far outside of their comfort zone…sometimes far exceeding their grip over their normal affordances…and into a place where they can put their skill and understanding to the test.

Oftentimes, these challenges involve thought experiments of some sort or another.

Other times, the challenges involve me putting the participants on the spot to answer deep questions about anything and everything related to movement skill.

On separate occasions yet, it involves a bit of homework where they must go out and apply the ideas in some way, shape, or form…many times within the practical applications of the training environment or practice field…but sometimes, this homework involves them being prepared to go share their ideas with others.

On this latter note, I wanted to offer up one of these types of homework challenges, that the members of the cohort of TMA are frequently implored to participate in, as it’s been not only very purposeful and well-received, but it’s also something that all individuals across the movement community could do to immediately improve upon their communication as well as the application of their knowledge.

The activity is quite simple really:

1. Pick someone close to you who may not be overly well-versed in the finer nuances of what you do or what you believe (pertaining to sport movement behavior). Then, ask if you can speak to them about something important to you.

2. Choose an important concept like nonlinear pedagogy, information-movement coupling, representative task design, or any number of topics of your liking. Discuss the topic with the individual of your choice in an emergent and online fashion (meaning, don’t use any prepared materials or any rehearsed delivery).

3. As you communicate as to the pertinent nuances which may allow the individual(s) to understand the importance of this particular concept and how it helps underpin your movement skill Form of Life, it’s imperative that you remain attuned, intentional, and adaptable yourself so that you are able to pivot and adjust flexibly as needed to enhance their potential comprehension and thought processes.

4. Reflect upon how the entire exercise unfolded for you. How did it go? Did you do the topic justice? How could you have better gotten your points across? Did you simplify it enough for the individual to understand the most practical and applicable points about the topic (but not so much that the concept lost its inherent complexity)? Did you leave out anything relevant which in hindsight you feel was important to discuss more of?

Remember, your goal is to meet them, and their current understanding, where they are and help them to see the world more through your eyes by utilizing this concept to articulate the way that they could see the world differently.

I, myself, am not exempt from taking on these respective challenges. I must practice what I preach, of course. For example, last weekend, when I was visiting my mother at her home in Wisconsin, I challenged myself to tell her about the role of information and affordances in channeling the coordination of movement behavior in sport.

After having personally partaken in this type of learning activity on a number of occasions, with varying levels of effectiveness and success, I can tell you that there aren’t many better ways to truly see what you know about a topic, as well as how you can/should communicate what you know, than to try to teach others about it in ways that resonate for them.

Like within TMA itself, I feel as though it’s imperative that we are able to meet people where they are. This is applicable whether it’s in our education endeavors alongside others or whether it’s in the practice tasks we design to address the gaps within the movement skill-sets of the athletes we partner with. In fact, the better we can get at doing just that (meeting the learner where they are), the more relevant our impact will be in the life of that individual.

The upcoming cohort of The Movement Academy is rapidly approaching. Beginning in January of 2022, the TMA is unlike anything else across the community.

Thing is, we know that TMA is not for everyone. However, if you are someone who A). wants to be challenged and pushed out of your comfort zone and into your personal challenge point, B). is passionate and energetic about movement skill acquisition, and C). is ready to take the next step into growing your craft and impacting the movement performance and learning for every athlete that you work with, then we feel that The Movement Academy is exactly what you need!

To find out more about TMA please CLICK HERE NOW. If you have specific questions after reading that, or if you want to determine if TMA is a good fit for you, feel free to contact myself ( or Tyler Yearby ( 

Shawn is the Co-Director of Education & Co-Founder of Emergence. He developed content for the educational brand, Movement Mastery, from 2014 till the formation of Emergence, with the sole purpose of helping to enable a deeper understanding of the processes involved in the acquisition of more masterful movement for athletes in sport. Shawn has served primarily as a Personal Performance Advisor & Movement Skill Acquisition Coach for National Football League (NFL) players since 2008, working with approximately 12 players each year.