September 28, 2020

Setting Your Educational Journey Ablaze

This week we are taking a slight turn as we look to help everyone stay on track and consistently stay connected with your own learning journey.

Educating yourself is like a leaf falling off the tree in Autumn. It slowly meanders, but consistently makes its way to the ground. The word meander nicely encapsulates how I recommend that you approach your own education. It needs to move consistently, but it doesn’t have to be in a straight line, nor does it have to be at a rapid pace. Continuing education comes in many forms. There are books, research papers, online courses, conferences, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, conversations with other professionals, and so on. Everyone has their own preferences with how they handle their educational journey, but the growing number of professionals I engage with tell me they struggle in a few main areas. 

  1. I’m not sure how much time is enough
  2. I get distracted easily 
  3. I’m not sure whether I should just be reading books and papers, or if I should listen to podcasts, invest in online education, etc. 

There is a lot of information available, and it is my belief that professionals should engage in knowledge shared by scientists and practitioners. Theory informs good practice, and practice informs good theory. It’s a two-way street, and it’s my belief that you will gather rich information that will enhance your craft if you engage in both. Below are a few suggestions from my experience that will address the concerns above. 

I suggest: 

  1. Starting with 25 minutes a day (that’s nearly 3 hours a week)
  2. Choosing a time of the day when you are the most ‘alive’ (for me, it’s early in the morning)
  3. Putting your phone on airplane mode, in the other room, or turning it off 
  4. Finding a place where you won’t be interrupted
  5. Choosing 3 different avenues a week
    • This might be your work office before everyone else arrives (or in the evening after they leave)
    • This might be at a park when the weather is nice
    • This might be a coffee shop with a little background noise
  6. Choosing areas you’re highly interested in and a few that might be opposing to your beliefs
    • Even though you might not finish a book or a paper before you move to an online course or a podcast, it helps to keep you engaged (you can return to the book or paper the following week)

In addition, be open to what you read. As Bruce Lee once said, “Absorb what is useful. Discard what is not. Add what is uniquely your own.” To get you started moving in the right direction, I’ve included recommendations for some pertinent educational resources. Below, you will find titles for two podcasts, a link to the most recent Sport Movement Skill Conference, where 16 presenters from all over the globe shared their ideas relating to skill adaptation (which I highly recommend), and an open-access paper. 

These two podcasts are an absolute must: The Talent Equation Podcast with Stuart Armstrong and The Perception & Action podcast with Rob Gray. They are both power-packed with many topics that will likely interest you. 

As I mentioned above, I highly encourage you to take a look at the 3rd Annual Sport Movement Skill Conference, which took place back in May 2020. The conference gave us all the opportunity to ‘stand on the shoulders of the movement giants’ who came before us and recognize how they each influenced the way we think & coach.

Finally, as a parting gift, I’d like to direct you to this paper titled, ‘Information, affordances, and the control of action in sport.’

http://panda.cogsci.rpi.edu/resources/papers/FajenRileyTurvey2009.pdf

Tyler Yearby

Co-Director of Education