GUNN TIPS FOR COACHES #24 - 365 DAY PROJECT 2019/20 - VYGOTZKY, ZPD AND SCAFFOLDING

G’Day ‘learners’.

Today’s blog will help sports coaches (and all caring adult stakeholders) to:

Consider the idea of using ‘scaffolding’ to better inform the practice and future of your own and peers’ efforts with learners…

Watch the vision below. What’s going on? It depends on the learning intentions… Are the WARRIORS having any success? It depends on the quality of the experience you don’t see… Is that bloke a madman? It depends whom you ask…

Psst… I’m aware that I am bombarding you with ‘please subscribe’ to GUNN ENGAGEMENT YouTube channel messages. THUS please DO NOT subscribe. Indeed NEVER EVER contact me or try and learn from any of my years of free helpful experience!

Dear readers,

Some peers have recently gone all Vygotzky on us through a focus on the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) for learners. Find respective work of Jonny McMurtry and Coach Reed Maltbie below:

https://www.coachingthecoaches.net/blog/2019/5/20/getting-our-athletes-into-and-through-the-zone-looking-at-vygotskys-zpd

http://coachingcode.libsyn.com/are-you-down-with-zpd

Psst… Please contact them BUT never EVER learn from me!

ZPD is, “the difference between what a learner can do without help and what he or she can do with help” (Source: https://www.open.edu/openlearncreate/pluginfile.php/5904/mod_resource/content/1/Vygotskian_principles_on_the_ZPD_and_scaffolding.pdf - accessed TODAY).

Those that spruik, “the game is ‘the’ teacher”, I’d guess need to rethink. Uncle Gunny or Uncle Lev Vygotzky say: the game is but ‘a’ teacher NOT ‘the teacher, AND, don’t worry, I’ve had ‘elite’ or professional ‘on TV’ type coaches say stuff like the former. Take this for example…

Pro COACH: Gunny we (his very large squad of players) don’t work on (that skill).

Gunny: Why?

Pro: That comes implicitly.

Gunny: (walking away in mild disbelief mumbling) But… but… that’s not teaching.

I am on a mission to support the work of people like Robyn Jones ( 2009) to remind coaches that they are ‘teachers’. Check my previous post including a bloke called Wooden who thought the same thing. Indeed I reckon Coach Reed who is a fellow ‘chalk launcher’ is doing the same thing.

Please don’t get me wrong, coaching is not easy! However, we and our future as a nation let alone the WORLD need coaches because teachers aren’t coaching like they once did. As well, amazing generalist primary school teachers teaching PE/Sports like they once did. Thus it’s up to you now pedagogical peers to help support our youth and volunteer coaches.
The great Coach Reed from 11:11 in of above presented podcast episode gives examples of scaffolding (stepped support), that allows coaches to support our young people through problem solving that Vygotzky or Socrates would be proud of. Sport Australia is also full of support like this: https://sportingschools.gov.au/resources-and-pd/schools/playing-for-life-resources/change-it Yes, we are still leading the World on paper. Have a look around yourselves.
In any case, here are some examples of ‘teaching’ using various scaffolds rather than verbal instructions and repetitive isolated drilling:

1) Instead of saying or visually and statically demonstrating “toes up” in sprinting, get this happening ‘implicitly’ from a skipping rope

2) Instead of asking and showing rugby players to wrap and squeeze in tackling, get them to practice tackling with two tennis balls in their hands

3) (Will stop using the ‘traditional’ former now) use analogies for shape and body height in rugby union clean out preparation via “gorillas”

4) Use the ‘count down’ like the first MAD bloke to put players under cognitive, temporal and physiological pressure

5) Get players to listen for sounds and feel ‘contact’ with implements

6) Get the smart phones out and get pairs coaching each other etc etc

7-25,000,000 plus just teach!!!

However, just like the bloke below says, drills are ok BUT we overuse them in this country. However, the game is BUT ‘a’ teacher only.

Yours in learning (don’t contact me hahaaa…),

Gunny

Coach Gunny analyses the over-use of lines and drills!

GUNN TIPS FOR COACHES #23 - 365 DAY PROJECT 2019/20 - IS IT TIME TO GO TO 9V9 IN AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL JUNIORS AND YOUTH? YES!!! BUT, IT'LL BE HARD, PART 1

G’Day ‘learners’.

Today’s blog will help sports coaches (and all caring adult stakeholders) to:

Consider the idea of using REVOLUTIONARY RULE CHANGES (Pt. 1) to better inform the practice and future of your own and peers’ efforts with learners…

Watch, share and subscribe to ‘Gunn Engagement’ YouTube OR Facebook Pages for more!!!

Note: This 'Blog' posts is a past one BUT must be revisited as I’m about to launch a video series around player welfare in contact.  Feel free to join me in my campaign to make people a little more aware…

My previous post on the cultural heritage of, and including, my reflections on 'lines' and 'lane-work' in Australian football coaching was shared, liked and commented on, by many great teachers within the AFL community on LinkedIn.  However, in a sharing and learning group I host called 'Grassroots Coaching and Consulting', whilst it also attracted strong support, it also received the only dissent from the Head of AFL, in one of the corporsation's most prized outposts:

Dissenter: Lots of criticism in here, not much by way of tangible solutions.

Gunny: Well, I've provided plenty before this... (In any case) I'm not going to provide any real solutions because 'cultural' change systemic is needed which requires a flipped funding model and a revolution. It won't happen but...

Coach Gunny is tackling player welfare - the safety of the tackler and the person being tackled. Concussion prevention should be the coach, the club and the game's number 1 concern. Gunn Engagement is launching the first instalment in the series - Head Awareness

Now before I begin this series, we must consider context fellow learners:

1) I am not picking on Australian football. All of the major sports in Australia are operating through much cultural 'mythology' that goes against current research.

2) I am a teacher and thus an advocate for social justice.  As such, I ask lots of question around assumptions and behaviours as a critical learner.

Queensland AFL team. Accountability is just a word. This is 12 minutes in of firts session. Create the correct LEARNING environment and your athletes will be switched on, physically, cognitively, emotionally and socially. LOVE Coach Gunny SUBSCRIBE for more!

3) The above (point '2'), is amplified by ten fold within me when compared to the passion of most teachers because of my unique life journey.  However, I, and many of my peers recognise that these experiences were the making of my abilities to connect with young people.  As such, I am very clear and open about my biases in beliefs that sport and PE can save lives, if, done well.  Thus, as an educator, I fight for it to be done better...

Provocation peers: Do you even know why you coach the way you do???  Kirk (1998), or, Moy and Renshaw (2009), suggest drills come from the military.  PE adopted this in places like Australia, the USA and UK which influenced sport. 

However, over many years I have had students at one university from Norway.  They have never been taught this way.  In fact, I have to teach teach them closed drills and explain it all so they understand the small sided games or other approaches we try to teach them as 'alternatives'.  Now, I'm just working out technology this year, but in future, I might just show them the above vision’s contrasting 'drills'.

Provocation peers: Why have the other country's methods, or indeed Australia's Game Sense (Den Duyn, 1997) not taken off in countries like Australia.  Well, Julian North and friends (2016) plus many other researchers (Chris Cushion or Wade Gilbert are favourites of mine) suggest that any intervention or change in coaching, firstly, not only requires greater support and resources, but secondly, also needs sports or nations to understand contexts. 

For example, Lawrie Woodman, who ran AFL coaching up until this year, sent me a document on 'grids' (not lines), that was used to educate PE teachers in Australian football at the University of Western Australia in 1977.  Email me coachgunny@craiggunn.org or Lawrie (can be found on Twitter or LinkedIn) for a copy, because it's an amazing tool for today's coaches in the sport!!! 

Coach Gunny is tackling player welfare - the safety of the tackler and the person being tackled. Concussion prevention should be the coach, the club and the ...

Now, as a teacher, but a biased rugby league man, I wonder why it wasn't taken up (before TGfU, or, Game Sense), and ponder, if it's because: Australian football is a Victorian game... because it was too hard to control chaos... or, coaches were and still are time poor... etc??? 

At least I ask the questions.  Unfortunately, Gunn and Pill (2017) discovered either way, that AFL coaches (even experienced ones) do not reflect deeply enough before planning.  Email me again if you'd like to see an example of my planning with the thoughts and questions that must happen beforehand.

Speaking of rugby league, please see the Brisbane Broncos ladies join my kids and cousins for a bit of Touch Footy.  Stuff like this, is certainly why I love women's sports so much!!!

Kingscliffe for a wonderful 70th birthday. Adults upstairs kids outside having fun then these legendary athletes arrive! Well done Brisbane Broncos Women!!! Great role modelling!

In closing today (I did try to keep it short), the reason I showed this footage is because it shows us how us 'older' folk learnt in the old days.  Great Australian football coach, Denis Pagan (2008) once pondered if the above type of environment was why Indigenous players are so good = making decisions, exploring etc... 

As for 9v9... This communication below, demonstrates how I feel.  I believe it's a massive step in the right direction (sent and kindly agreed with bya 'top brass' member of AFL corp).  It was a 'parting gift' before I head back to the 'rugger codes', but, I stress that it must happen and will too! 

"… My experience as a PE teacher who actually gets kids properly moving knows that 9v9 at juniors will quieten down the angst and brutality of players and adults. The kids will be too stuffed... The adults will just be trying to keep up with the action... (As well)… Your coaching woes and umpiring woes will be lessened because both will be far easier.  The kids will almost 'ref' themselves."

www.craiggunn.org

A Gunny anecdote is now needed to illustrate this.  It  features me and a Level II, U/14 coach and former great player (of some repute) who asked me how to improve his training...

Gunny: Well you need small sided games mate.  In fact the whole game of AFL from U/12 boys etc up, needs smaller fields and fewer players.

Coach: I get it Gunny... Everybody gets a prize hey? (as he walks off and doesn't turn back...)

Gunny: But... I'm talking about more touches of the ball!!!

To be continued...

You've been handed your child's team's coaching job....What now??!! I want to know the "HOW" as well as the "WHAT". Coach Gunny is here to get you started on your journey!

BUT: (look up Pill or Reynolds where this has been done in Australian footy)...

Don't forget to remain CURIOUS and share!

Yours in learning,

Gunny

GUNN TIPS FOR COACHES #21 - 365 DAY PROJECT 2019/20 - STUART WILKINSON PART II THROUGH AUSTRALIAN PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS FOR TEACHERS

G’Day ‘learners’.

Today’s blog will help sports coaches (and all caring adult stakeholders) to:

Consider the idea of using Australian Professional Standards for Teachers to better inform the practice and future of your own and peers’ efforts with learners…

Watch, share and subscribe to ‘Gunn Engagement’ YouTube OR Facebook Pages for more!!!

Once again I make the claim that his is probably the best coaching podcast episode I have ever heard! Have a listen yourself. Dale Sidebottom interviews the amazingly brilliant but HUMBLE lifelong learner Stuart Wilkinson. HERE it is again!!! https://energetic.education/130-stuart-wilkinson-coaching-relationships-inspiration/

Thus, in my typical reflective way, I listened to this piece FIVE times. I thought it best to share some of my notes and quotes. Once again, to give it some legitimacy I thought I’d also use ‘Australian Professional Standards for Teachers’ as a lens. This is the second half of the episode after first 30 mintes. Please understand that this is rare! I usually use pen and paper… THUS please don’t hold against me any formatting or editing issues. What is REAL is my use of the focus areas from the standards. There are 39 focus areas from memory and Stuart would cover most in this conversation with Dale. I am pretty sure 2.6 Literacy and Numeracy is the only one not covered. Amazing coversation…

Reflection starts now and is in ‘itallics’ Standards are found here: https://www.aitsl.edu.au/teach/standards The numbers are corresponding focus areas. There are seven standards. Selfishly I thought I’d throw in a little vision from my own channel. Please like and subscribe to ‘Gunn Engaement’ YouTube channel:

(Referring to a grassroots team where he brought in ex-players to help who went from 100 point loss to 40 point victory in one season) Didn't do it on my own - knew what they needed brought in the right people to take the players on a journey7.4  - had them from 15-17 and most of them became good fathers and good people to employ - they're still in touch with each other to this day 1.1 and 4.1

 Dale: Do you ever sit back and reflect on this awesomeness?  Stuart: It's been so messy… I tried to master everything… I must say Dale I'm 59 now, 35 years of coaching and doing a PHD… I'm learning again and feel I'm coaching better than ever!!! I just wish I could start again with what I know now!!! 6.4

Getting players to become better people and give back to the community not only allows them to get a 'win' BUT is what coaching is all about!!! 1.2 and 3.1

Any young coach on a 'talent' pathway needs to read Fergus Connoly's book https://fergusconnolly.com/books/ Game Changer as it's full of tools 7.4

(He listed other book s like the 'Captain's Class' but reminded us about filters) Talked about accessible books/learning for grassroots that were easily understood.  Researchers need a filter where STU and Dale may come in) 6.2 and 6.3 What they all have in common is integrity and values and consistency of applying into players' behaviours on the pitch. 1.1 and 1.2

 Dale: Tell us about the different cultures you had to prepare for?  Stuart went on a 10 minute (not quite)  tangent about different players and cultures.  He mentioned indigenous players.  THUS I will use some poetic licence here to mention some more of AITSIL standards and reappropriating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander focus areas more globally here. 1.3-1.5

Did an audit around emerging countries to make them more robust in rugby league for upcoming rugby league world cup.  Was based in Belgrade and assessed what was needed and who could train them. 3.6, 5.3 to 5.5; 7.2

 Used wallpaper with diagrams to translate HOW to play when coached Russians.  2.1 and 2.2

Learned so much from coaching Russians who were ice hockey - players don't get anxious before game by distancing themselves from coach - their habits and openness in communication was brilliant - English players who are young need support in self-efficacy but Russians had that down pat and open with each other - absolutely learning so much their attitudes were outstanding - Russians were right on the button every single time - fascinating 6.2 and 6.4 PLUS (poetic licence with middle one) 1.3-1.5 - he earlier mentioned needing to get to know indigenous players in English Super League mentioned Fijians but of course many other pacific islanders, players from PNG and Australian Indigenous players as well (like one of my favourites who I still see now and again at a local pub Jamie Sandy a peer and probably club mate of Stu's at West Panthers who played in Challenge Cup final) 2.4

Advice to 18 year old  Stu- should have stayed in Australia where Rugby League is more at home - any advice to anybody is to be hungry, volunteer, be willing to learn - won't take a dollar off grassroots sport - again the no.1 currency is coaching - like Twitter - allows you to networking with interesting learners with different ideas 6.1-6.4

 Explains how his university engenders networking events with industry for networking opportunities 2.2-2.3, 1.5

 His opinion on technology - have to accept they need it - went to technology convention and fascinating  2.6

More 60 years than 16 years on Twitter - research that technology hasn't really done much since light bulb - tech is faster and more efficient but no real new discoveries and brain is still same as last 40,000 years ago - BUT coaching is all about relationships, more tactile put people in front of each other - in the end mate talking to a piece of plastic1.1, 1.2 and 1.5

 Your lasting legacy?  Just getting deeper in relationships that also I helped coaches to become better communicators to make a difference in people's lives 3.1 -3.7

Find network Stuart Wilkinson Twitter and LinkedIn - happy to take any coach on!!! 7.4

What a conversation.  AGAIN the only focus area I think wasn't touched was literacy and numeracy.  I could be wrong.  Listened five times. 

When I finally meet this coach I will be a little bit nervous.  Nothing wrong with having heroes!!!

 Gunny leaving for London June 5 and leaving 15 June to follow Stu's advice and get face to face with coaches. 

Who wants to learn with me?  I have coached/learned in all contexts! 

Yours in learning,

 Gunny

GUNN TIPS FOR COACHES #20 - 365 DAY PROJECT 2019/20 - YET ANOTHER SHARE OF THE GREAT PRAGMATIST WAYNE GOLDSMITH'S THOUGHTS ON 'COACHING' IN IRISH EXAMINER

G’Day ‘learners’.

Today’s blog will help sports coaches (and all caring adult stakeholders) to:

Consider the idea of cultural behaviour change to better inform the practice and future of your own and peers’ efforts with learners…

Watch, share and subscribe to ‘Gunn Engagement’ YouTube OR Facebook Pages for more!!!

Fortnite is not the enemy! Bad coaching is… HOWEVER, what if I told you that in my country at least the heads of the big sports admit this regularly to my face around drop-out???

In any case, I am behind in the 'Blogging’ project and looking to catch up this weekend... Feel free to 'unfollow' or 'unfriend' me 'friends' BUT I think sports coaches can still change the WORLD! However once again, we face massive cultural barriers that I have listed over and over and over in many forums over many years. Luckily, people listen to Wayne Goldsmith. At the other end of the spectrum there’s Gunny and “He’s mad!”

THUS I say: I agree with Wayne’s thoughts and love the Irish Examiner.  Yet I have seen this shared so many times on socilals AND am left asking what are we gonna DO???

I am getting tired of TALKING and REFLECTING on this drop-out because of poor coaching thing…  https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/sport/fortnite-is-not-sports-enemy-outdated-coaching-is-920377.html#.XMzwYOQoRgw.email

Can any great teachers please SHOW the alternatives to drills??? I am not talking 'CARDS’ stuff so great in English Rugby. That is WHAT. We need a lot more HOW…

In any case Wayne is a great human! This is enough. Could be the main point?   

I do DRILLS but... called "Gunny Madness" in my country. They are game like etc... The Australian Sports Commission has been promoting a thing called ‘Game Sense’ in coaching since 1995. YET nothing has really changed as I have written about or presented at ACHPER conferences and the like. THUS, what Wayne and many of us are agitating for is putting the foot forward to change culture!  

I don’t want to sound negative, and of course I have been accused of sports corporation bashing constantly. I am all and i mean ALL for this CHANGE... HOWEVER, the time for action is now!!!.

To me it seems that the Goldsmith piece has been SHARED by many in sports corporations just to increase Facebook, YouTube etc etc likes… Speaking of which this is how Gunny coaches so so so differently to Australian Football’s cultural tradition.

NOW, we must remember that research is DONE with ELITE and paid for by ELITE...  It will be soon. or right NOW, too late for Grassroots...  CULTURAL change is HARD!!!

I SHOW volunteers how to DO it all thanks to a ‘lightbulb moment’ at a sports collective Forum I conceived and helped run last year at Australian Catholic University. An old school mate whose rugby team I played in said, “How does it feel to be doing the Australian Sports Commission’s job Gunny?” The point is that they aren’t doing it and this cultural thing is very complex.

NOW I have vast coaching and PE teaching experience. I have also lectured/taught at university for 10 years but that’s all ‘blah...’ . You see, I would create whole university subjects that taught alternatives to drills, plus, making drills messy (or game like), through SEPEP, Game Sense, TGfU, TGM, CLA etc etc... Then I would go to schools and see 200 maybe students on ‘practicum’. ONE brave and brilliant teacher was the only one who demonstrated ‘alternatives’ to dominant cultural practices. Here’s to you Mr. Nick Toohey now a PE teacher on Brisbane’s northside. YOU were the only one kind sir…

YOU SEE, they all default to drills because that’s the cultural tradition (see reserach from, SueSee, Edwards, Hewitt, Pill etc). YET generally, their mentors were great humans!!! BUT the culture is set. HOWEVER, once again PE teachers can do drills and control chaos enough so that there is far more maximal movement. BUT still not enough...

There is a small growth in ‘awareness’ of alternatives. HOWEVER, there is much more after that required. In any case, “Gunn Engagement” YouTube channel is a place to start. I reiterate how the Australian Sports Commission once taught all of this. NOW though the sports who are responsible just certify rather than develop coaches.  

BUT even before all of this amazing stuff you ELITE coaches did last night in your sessions in this ‘new’ ecological or other approach, is more work to be done. I believe you may already be are a VERY entertaining and engaging coach. Yet, YOUR context is easy!!! I wil say it again: EASY! You could line them up and keep them happy because they are probably keen athletes anyway, PLUS, due to the professional support you may have the skills to manage a group of 30 with balls between two. THEY love you and you them. That is key! It’s easy for YOU at ELITE!

YET you ELITE can still get better. After filming yourself for coach development (no. 1 ‘no brainer’ for an experienced coach in talent area) Gunny’s number two tip is to go and watch a primary school PE teacher. You will learn plenty!!! I have told plenty like great peer Stuart Armstrong that that’s the missing piece. Controlling the chaos!

To make any real CHANGE we need our best coaches at Grassroots etc. It ain’t gonna happen... Some American PE teaching geniuses could show us all HOW: Pangrazi, Rink, Seidentop etc... I say, blow the dust off the texts and find the gold in the ‘operational’ part of pedagogy.

Happy to come and share with coaches but ! provide the “Gunn Engagement” YouTube channel which has videos where I am starting to SHOW all of this etc.

BUT back to the great teachers of our past like WOODEN??? LOVE! That ain’t a gimmick. His coaching was incredible as it was but LOVE was the foundation. NOW it’s hard to get volunteers to do this when kids are running wild!!! THUS they default to line ups!!! BUT I am talking here only (or writing) not SHOWING. Hope it makes sense…

Let me finish with an illustration. This week and next I am in Melbourne learning more about AFL. I talked on the phone to one of the heads at BIG AFL club. I was offered a coffee…

Gunny: Please take no offence. I worked in academia for 10 years. They TALK and I am done with that. We need ACTION. I am experienced but this means nothing until I feel your context side by side as fellow learners. I can’t TELL you about my work. I must SHOW you so you FEEL it.

That meeting has to be rescheduled. YET two amazing female PE teachers and senior AFL coaches had the same conversation with me. They GOT IT!!! Thus I’m looking forward to learning side by side with them on the grass oval. That’s SHOWING and FEELING not TELLING.

THUS in Australia at least, we are in a world of hurt. One of our biggest sports NRL changed some rules for youngsters to make things safer. My club’s numbers are down BUT not sure why. Will other sports follow? I am not sure… Actually probably not. THERFORE we are ‘aware’ that things might need to change, well some of us are anyway… Are the rest of us MOTIVATED? I think not… In any case, some of us are trying to fill in the gaps with the missing tools for the ‘toolbox’.

Yours in learning,

Gunny

GUNN TIPS FOR COACHES #19 - 365 DAY PROJECT 2019/20 - STUART WILKINSON THROUGH THE LENS OF AUSTRALIAN PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS FOR TEACHERS

G’Day ‘learners’.

Today’s blog will help sports coaches (and all caring adult stakeholders) to:

Consider the idea of using Australian Professional Standards for Teachers to better inform the practice and future of your own and peers’ efforts with learners…

Watch, share and subscribe to ‘Gunn Engagement’ YouTube OR Facebook Pages for more!!!

I have made this claim before… This is probably the best coaching podcast episode I have ever heard! Have a listen yourself. Dale Sidebottom interviews the amazingly brilliant but HUMBLE lifelong learner Stuart Wilkinson. This is not just because I am from a rugby league background like Stuart. Dale himself is from the home of Australian Football BUT this episode has been the most downloaded piece of his platform all year. HERE it is again!!! https://energetic.education/130-stuart-wilkinson-coaching-relationships-inspiration/

Thus, in my typical reflective way, I listened to this piece four times. I thought it best to share some of my notes and quotes. To give it some legitimacy I thought I’d also use ‘Australian Professional Standards for Teachers’ as a lens. I stopped here after 30 minutes of an hour long episode. Please understand that this is rare! I usually use pen and paper… THUS please don’t hold against me any formatting or editing issues. What is REAL is my use of the focus areas from the standards. There are 39 from memory and Stuart would cover most in this conversation with Dale. I’ll check anyway in Part II…

Reflection starts now and is in ‘itallics’ Standards cbe found here: https://www.aitsl.edu.au/teach/standards The numbers are corresponding focus areas. There are seven standards. Selfishly I thought I’d throw in a little vision from my own channel. Please like and subscribe to ‘Gunn Engaement’ YouTube channel:

Your currency in coaching is your network! (7.4 focus area)

 1.1 Could have walked into academy position… Went to grassroots to 'mess up there' - learn more about coaching 'was determined' - U/12 - 1.2 learn how young people grow cognitively, emotionally, physically, technically, tactically - mess up there before it would not damage an organisation

Have SEEN some amazing coaches 'light up the grass' ENGAGING people with balls cones and wisdom 4.1 - talks here about the science versus coaching (not one or the other) - today all jobs seem to be science

 What does Engagement look like to you Stuart???  They're taking it somewhere you didn't plan for it to go Dale.  High Level Engagement =  They've picked up the problem and they've taken it on a journey 3.2  ENGAGEMENT, Relatedness, Learning  - Well planned and supported - kids can save you - get on with it - 'letting go' 1.2

"Say to young coaches and PE teachers all the time… If you can 'light up the grass' for your players, they'll come back." 3.1 and 3.2

Coaching art is huge - got to become and expert in relationships 4.1 , expert in feedback 5.2, expert on how people learn in different ways 1.5  - get those three things right and your on field activities will "come to life for your players"

 Innovate!  Research! 6.1 and 6.2 

 What is the key thing coaches must have?  DRILL down into relationships…   Bit of a cop out really when people say it's hard to coach a team… Bollocks!  Get to know them!!!  Look at how they'll react to comfortable and uncomfortable positions… (feedback) 5.1   Get to know what challenges stretch them!  1.5 (what floats their boat)  In the end it's HOW YOU FEEDBACK!!!  5.2 Not into gimmicks

There's huge pedagogical gaps at GRASSROOTS!  People are closing the 'gap' (like us) - skill breakout zone into 'goldfish' bowl… Etc Acronyms etc = End up being a pedagogical crutch rather than just struggling (feedback) 7.4   Instead of Internet cards the growth of a coach is really about learning, reading, researching, trying, tweaking, trying, going back and speaking, going through that heartache Dale that you go through, as you are developing a mastery! 6.1-6.4!!!

 Fun and learning is important to all through games.  Research is clear.  Trivial argument between TGfU and Ecological etc as a practicing coach I'm going to use all of them!!!  3.3 

 When in pathways Dale I demand games.  If you are going to do anything it's done in a game!  3.1-3.7  Grassroots don't have this support… - helps local club 7.4

 Instead of drills (better off just playing 'tig and pass' in game at training! 2.2 and 2.1 - better off observing, analysing and evaluate in a game and designing ugly game forms around this 1.1-1.3

 Speak to the parents let them know it ain't like footy on TV - happy to share research 7.3 this is what they have to go through

 The ex-players need looking after with modern day practices (referring to rugby club) 7.4 

To be continued… What a leader of lifelong learning is Stuart!!!

Yours in learning,

Gunny

GUNN TIPS FOR COACHES #18 - 365 DAY PROJECT 2019/20 - BORED IN YOUR COACHING? DELVING INTO THE GUNNY ARCHIVE...

G’Day ‘learners’.

Today’s blog will help sports coaches (and all caring adult stakeholders) to:

Consider the idea of REVISITING THE ARCHIVES to better inform the practice and future of your own and peers’ efforts with learners…

Watch, share and subscribe to ‘Gunn Engagement’ YouTube OR Facebook Pages for more!!!

I was talking today with a coaching leader, Murray Harley (pictured third from the left AT the very bottom of post), in Army Rugby attire with other famous Aussies, Ben Roberts Smith VC, George Gregan and Jim Williams. We swapped yarns about the intricacies of coaching and the need to be constantly innovative but balancing it with the ‘basics’ (which aren’t that basic, the HOW and the WHY).

As an army officer, no stone is left unturned under Murray’s watch. He has played close to the highest level below the Wallabies possible in rugby but more importantly has an uncanny knack to get the absolute best out his players as coach whether that be schoolboys or army rugby women. Aussies, if you are after an ‘expert’ in the ‘dark arts’ of scrummaging Murray is a ‘go to’ man but his tale of the New Zealand ‘scrum doctor’ Mike Cron got me thinking once again about the little things that are forgotten in coaching.

Below is some of the story about Mike Cron’s pursuit of learning innovation inspired by the World’s greatest athletes in any PE teacher’s opinion (when teaching ‘components of fitness’, Male Ballet performers!

“Every year you have to be better than last year otherwise you shouldn’t be here, so that’s the first thing.”
— https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/sport/2017/05/mike-cron-the-all-blacks-scrum-doctor-the-ballet-and-the-endless-pursuit-of-forward-perfection.html

Murray’s story about Cron again reminds me about coaches wanting to learn and those that don’t. How one of my first LinkedIn videos with the QLD U15s Australian football WOLFPACK was viewed by 5000 people including a Head Coach of a Dutch TOP tier football club, FC Utrecht called Jan van Loon. Jan humbly reached out to me with his Finnish legendary player/coach mate called Joonas Kolkka, to talk about Youth development and retention.

Thus, I swapped with Murray how I got Jan to also meet David Rath (AFL's coach innovation guru). and was told by Jan that the Hawthorn coach called Alistair also came... "Our best coach!" I told him. Those at the top of the coaching game it appears are always learning!

Alistair Clarkson.jpg

THUS, in the spirit of innovation here is something from the Archives called ‘Gunny’s Crazy Town’ from a few years’ ago when helping Australian Football:

Game Principles:

1. Maintaining possession

2. Creating space in attack

3. Create passing options

4. Good decision making in passing

General considerations in all of these games:

1) Normal AFL rules but the objective is attacking team to make as much ground up field as

possible – for example in one game there will have 45-60 seconds (each team takes turns with

rotations depending on numbers)

2) Team A starts from end line and attempts task, and Team B defends (unlimited touches)

3) Toucher often has to do a task, like, make their way around a sideline marker

4) Swap over when the ball is dropped or intercepted and Team B starts from the same position

5) There is always a winner = eg it could be the team which makes most ground wins

6) Play six on six etc but if odd number one player always attacks and swaps (number superiority)

7) However, on the above point, sometimes the game favour the attack depending on age

Field set=up below:

60m*30-40m

Now, if you’ve read this far, it means you are an innovator like Murray and the above coaches mentioned. Thus you’re probably asking: “What did it look like?” OR “How did it go?”

To ANSWER that you’re gonna have to do two things: 1) SUBSCRIBE to ‘Gunn Engagement’ YouTube; 2) SEND me something from your archives that was innovative. Doesn’t matter if it didn’t work… AT least you were having a crack!!!

If presently in Melbourne or Brisbane, invite me to your organisation or session if you'd like me to share my answer... UK and Ireland coming in September!!!

 

Yours in learning,

 

Gunny

www.craiggunn.org

Ben Roberts Smith VC, George Gregan , Murray Harley and Jim Williams

Ben Roberts Smith VC, George Gregan , Murray Harley and Jim Williams

GUNN TIPS FOR COACHES #17 - 365 DAY PROJECT 2019/20 - SPORTS COACHES, DO YOU WANT TO BECOME A BETTER PRACTIONER? WATCH A PE TEACHER!!!

G’Day ‘learners’.

Today’s blog will help sports coaches (and all caring adult stakeholders) to:

Consider the idea of pedagogical sharing to better inform the practice and future of your own and peers’ efforts with learners…

Watch, share and subscribe!!!

A recent Twitter conversation got me a little rattled. I ain’t gonna lie…

It featured some UK and Irish sports coaching university academics whose work I respected. It was Saturday morning Australian time so I guessed that they had enjoyed a little too much of vino/amber fluid or the like.

At present there is a debate going on between Education Psychology and Ecological Dynamics. It’s worthwhile, and I like to know that the passion on display of the exponents on both sides is helping our learners.

However, I’m not sure who benefits from this kind of discussion…

(Some stimulus got the ‘It Depends’ movement on edge) Academic One: Can somebody show me where this fun approach is supported in research?

Academics One to Five: HaHaa… (much disparaging mirth at expense of others)

Academic Two or other: Maybe we should all be handing out business cards with baloons on them!

Academics One to Five: HaHaa… (much disparaging mirth at expense of others including the use of words like ‘gimmick’ and ‘props’)

Gunny: Teachers this is disappointing. I respect much of your research but I just presented at the Australian Council of Health Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER, 2019) International Conference and I used baloons.

Academics One to Five: HaHaa… (much disparaging mirth at expense of others including the use of words like ‘gimmick’ and ‘props’)

Gunny: I suggest you teachers have had too much to drink? (four of five tweeters removed their ‘banter’ within 24 hours)

In any case the sole representative left who works for one of the biggest sports organisations in the world in coach development remained. I thank that person for that!!!

Remaining Academic: Craig can you please tell me the research that supports this… Blah Blahhh?

Gunny: Google the Australian Early Years Learning Framework…

I mean really, do I have to do much more?

These are some observations I have noted and speak with some authority having taught/lectured/tutored in H.Ed. for a decade:

1) Public funding is provided to academics from tax-payer dollars YET research is written out in a way that most practitioners can’t understand

2) Most practitioners don’t even know where to find research even when on places like ‘Research Gate’

3) Most interventions are aimed at ‘elite’ sports’ coaches NOT those at the ‘grassroots’

4) MANY interventions don’t work anyhow when the ‘rubber’ hits the road due to socio-political constraints that really can’t be reproduced in a LAB etc…

In truth, the problem is that none of us, the stakeholders are stepping out of our own silos. But in any case, academics, where is your ‘grassroots’ evidence? Show me how YOU teach and coach!!!

Show ME the evidence I require to ‘rate’ your worth…

You see, I am only drinking tea but the missing link in all of your interventions is the HOW not WHAT. Indeed, why the emphasis on NEW research when we ain’t even doing the OLD?

Whenever I am asked to name my favourite coaching authors, I start naming PE teachers of old like: Rink, Launder, Seidentop, Mosston etc etc… AND whilst on a roll, if you really want to get better coaches go and watch a PRIMARY school PE teacher NOT the All Blacks. A bit like Sir Ken Robinson, the book ‘Legacy’ ain’t that special to most of the teachers I know. We know that we survive by living and breathing in as best a supportive environment that we can for unique learners.

Nothing against everybody’s work but we are all unique learners in a most dynamic world!!!

Finally, whilst at it continue sharing and remain curious. There are many ways to learn nowadays outside the hallowed halls of the higher institutions… Thus, how about we work together as curious learners and teachers?

Here is an example but the way: https://energetic.education/88-grassroots-coaching-with-craig-gunn/ Thanks fellow PE teacher Dale Sidebottom!

Yours in learning,

Gunny

GUNN TIPS FOR COACHES #16 - 365 DAY PROJECT 2019/20 - COACHES WILL THIS ALWAYS BE LEGAL?

G’Day ‘learners’.

Today’s blog will help sports coaches (and all caring adult stakeholders) to:

Consider the idea of coaching ‘head awareness’ to better inform the practice and future of your own and peers’ efforts with learners…

Please watch the fully within the rules impact below which is considered ‘good hard footy’.

I am a Level II AFL Coaches' Association coach, experienced educator of all contexts and well qualified in Rugby Union & League. I shared this vision to a coaching/learning group called, ‘Grassroots Coaching and Consulting’ (Facebook group NOT the page with all welcome to join https://www.facebook.com/groups/147501649318126/ ) This in the rules ‘hip and shoulder’ was met with some curiousity. We are an eclectic group numbering almost 550 from all around the sporting globe.

As it was widely shared and championed by the AFL I just want to ask: “Will this always be legal?” I have a feeling NO… However, we are just starting to learn a little more about the brain so everything is up for grabs! Yet I know that research including my own suggests that coaches in AFL are very slow at changing their practice, especially at the Grassroots… I try my own bit.  

I've been accused of #AFL bashing when I ask questions...

Love to hear from some brain experts about how wrong I am in my concern either way. However, I remain player first in my reflections here as the teacher that i am.

As for the young BUMPER (and I know it’s in the rules), he could have: tackled with right shoulder, pinned his right ear behind ball carrier's back, locked on left 'lever' (elbow) cut opponent's COG in half, driven him to the ground with leg drive keeping himself safer and opponent too.  

Teachers, what am I missing here w/o 'hate' please?  This is a blindsided shoulder charge for mine. 

AND again, please choose your 're-education' thoughts about me wisely because I have seen many AFL coaches teach & #contact is not highly ranked it seems. Grassroots???

Finally, one more time, can any brain experts please also tell me that this looks OK?


Yours in learning - Gunny


0431311070 in Melbourne from May 1st if anybody wants help in sessions with CONTACT.

GUNN TIPS FOR COACHES #15 - 365 DAY PROJECT 2019/20 - THE GAME SENSE APPROACH: WHERE TO NOW AUSTRALIAN SPORTS COACHES?

G’Day ‘learners’.

Today’s blog will help sports coaches (and all caring adult stakeholders) to:

Consider the idea of coaching interventions to better inform the practice and future of your own and peers’ efforts with learners…

Yeah I know… My keenly awaited reportings on the Queensland Sports Collective Forum are coming!!! Just a tiny bit more context from this piece written in August 2018? It must be noted that I sat and waited with baited breath for the launch of Australia’s ‘National Sports Plan’ a day or two earlier by Senator McKenzie… Watched it live on the ABC. This is indeed my passion.

The ‘blog’ starts now:

The recent rebranding of the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) to Sport Australia has got me thinking about the complexities of 'grassroots' sports in this country...

Last year I was given the honour - although an ultimately unworkable one - to be the 'Game Sense' coach (no proper references but look up Rod Thorpe, ASC, Ric Charlesworth or any recent Australian coaching manuals), at my local junior Australian football club (AFL). Although in reality I was probably pushing a 'Constraints led Approach' (Keith Davids and friends), mixed with small sided games (chat to any PE teacher), it was indeed a huge eye-opener around the challenges of any alternative pedagogy (the art and the science of teaching) to assist unique learners.

To add more context, the previous year (2016), I was coached by the wonderfully giving South Australian academic, Shane Pill (Flinders University) to design an intervention where I could assist local AFL coaches through mentoring around the Game Sense Approach (GSA). It was here that I discovered that there were many pedagogical issues of even more experienced volunteer coaches. In fact, despite AFL coach development measures that sometimes even I was involved in, coaches were studied defaulted wide-scale acceptance of the use of closed drills through activities like the AFL's S.P.I.R approach (AFL coaching manuals including 2017; and current ‘Coach AFL’ website). In AFL culture, the common drills are called names like 'Kick to Kick, and 'Lane-Work' and are undertaken for the majority of the session before the final 'scratch match' at the end. (Google 2017 ACHPER International Conference Proceedings to find the study https://www.achper.org.au/documents/item/583 (page 87) or join 'Grassroots Coaching and Consulting' Facebook group (not the page) and find the original in 'files' section, or, look up many papers by AFL inspired academics like Pill at https://www.facebook.com/groups/147501649318126/about/ )

Having taught PE at school and university, as well as lecturing in sports coaching, I knew that this had been the case in PE teaching for eternity it would seem so it's no surprise that the pedagogical cousins in sports coaching laboured over closed drills as well despite all the previous development and education (Moy, Edwards or Sue-See in Queensland). Also Mitch Hewitt pointed out that tennis coaches (professionals) do the same but in my experience in teaching and lecturing most PE teachers and Tennis coaches at least enable more balls between participants in their closed drills, whilst sports like AFL use columned line-ups in the majority and multi-balls sparingly, as a way of keeping athletes 'in line'...

For a solution, I consulted my favourite PE pragmatist and academic, America's Judith Rink. Focussing on small sided games, Rink reminded me of two very important points:

1) For Rink, like in some of my YouTube videos (above is an example but feel free to go to YouTube from my website routines are essential. For example, so foreign are my academically, and, 'teaching 101' supported methods to my AFL peers that my craft is noted as: "Gunny Madness", "Ugly Footy", or, "Gunny Chaos"... Which they are anything but!

2) Rink's wisdom also forced me to abandon any thoughts of changing mentees' coaching methods to something like GSA altogether. Instead I favoured Rink's four stages (1993) ideas, that basically focused on making 'drills' messier before a modified game. Wow! With this I felt, I and mentees were making progress on player learning. (See above options mentioned to gain access to stages)

Let me give you an example. I presented at the obligatory coaches' 'in-service' - where three years before only five turned up - but this time there was much excitement. In fact, I was contacted a few days later by a coach (U/8) who I considered the best in the club. Enthusiastically, he asked if I could come along and watch his GSA session. So I did!

Now, I arrived early as always and I was told that he would do four GSA Australian football activities. Of course, due to past experiences, I was a 'tad' sceptical that he could pull this off. However, as he was from New Zealand and a different sporting background, I figured he might be a chance of success having not been beaten down with closed Australian football drills.

He started with aplomb had the kids eating out of the palm of his hand. They absolutely loved him and his planning was well above the nine previous Gunn and Pill participants I worked with. Thus I thought, Let's see how long it lasts! Second game of four... Absolute uncontrollable mayhem that was getting out of hand. He turned to me for help... I blew a whistle long and hard and got down on one knee without looking up for a few seconds and made some open armed 'calm-down' type hand gestures. By the time I did look up most of the kids mirrored my actions and the great coach helped the others to do the same.

From here, I helped him with the rest of the planned games but this awesomely reflective coach's biggest insight was, "That was amazing Gunny!" What? "When you hopped down on one knee everyone else did too..."

Now, despite having done all of this for many, many years in differeing contexts over many sports, I can tell you all that it takes me at least 45 minutes to get youth and adult players used to the routine and tempo of an ecological approach like GSA. Now for 8 year olds, I start with 'Tiggy' and ramp it up slowly and it probaly takes an hour and a half.

As such, with, Sport Australia and most of our National Sporting Organisations in full knowledge that youth sport numbers are falling like 'Drop Bears' from a gum tree, when are we going to get back to teaching coaches how to teach??? Don't worry by the way, about the kids under the previous coach's care mentioned above. They loved him and him they!!! He provided a safe, warm environment of trust just like Maslow would have approved of. And, I reckon he could do closed drills and the kids would come back happy each year.

But... For the rest of coaches in Australia...??? Over to you well paid stakeholders... But I'd say we are in deep trouble...

Meanwhile, I'll keep to my bit at the 'grassroots' in coach and parent development. For example, September, 13, 2018, Mr. Henderson's, Sandgate, Queensland (6-8pm) sees the doyen Kelving Giles, plus head of ACU Brisbane Exercise Science Gert-Jan Pepping with me trying to 'brainstorm' on LOVE in sports coaching all for $20 which includes drink and nibbles. Would be nice to see some of the 'elite' there...

But in the end, the ASC to Sport Australia, or AFL going online with 'CoachAFL' rather than manuals has me scratching my head saying: Same old s$&t… Just a different name!

Bit just like (and nothing against AFL as it's probably most sports) a few weeks ago when I was told by 'top brass' that I couldn't do a Level III course because I wasn't from 'High Performance'... Well: firstly, that's insulting to kids at the bottom who need the best coaches! Secondly, I find it bizzare that my experience or coaching 'rep' youth boys, state girls and senior men and women at state league level, plus coaching their coaches, wouldn't be considered worthy!

Some reasonable issues I'd suggest that need more than wording changes to affect declining participant numbers? But I've made this point before in an earlier article: Do the main sports want viewers or players???

Invite me to your organisation or session if you'd like me to share my answer...

 

Yours in learning,

 

Gunny

www.craiggunn.org

GUNN TIPS FOR COACHES #14 - 365 DAY PROJECT 2019/20 - SPORT AUSTRALIA DO WE WANT VIEWERS OR PLAYERS?

G’Day ‘learners’.

Today’s blog will help sports coaches (and all caring adult stakeholders) to:

Consider the idea of dominant cultural discourses to better inform the practice and future of your own and peers’ efforts with learners…

Today’s piece is a lead-in reflection toward a soon report on the Queensland Sports Collective Forum run by Netball Queensland (NQ) and mentioned in piece#2 of the ‘365 Day project’. As mentioned in the earlier piece, I was looking at the collective’s presenters’ line-up with a bit of angst.  Indeed, I wear my heart on my sleeve for the grassroots and thus the schedule was full of ‘Big Dogs’…  Anyway the great Richard McInnes from NQ, allowed me to see past the massive chips on my shoulders through his great humility. He also had the ability to articulate that the Forum’s process was indeed part of an overall strategy to help navigate through the grassroots maze.

However, in order to see and make sense of my own thoughts regarding the need for ‘CHANGE NOW’, I thought it best to revisit a blog I wrote nearly 12 months ago below…

Gunny (June 2018): I THINK it's time to TALK more about 'Grassroots' footy!!! It's time to talk about all sport in Australia's development zone...

Renowned Australian football journalist, Martin Flannagan just days ago reminded us of the dichotomy that exists between the Australian Football League (AFL) corporation and the game of Australian football (Aussie Rules in slang).

As reprinted in 'The Footy Almanac' he gives a Norm Smith Oration toast, where he wisely explains these contrasting narratives:

a) "...the game has evolved into two very different cultures. Those at the top talk in terms of branding and product and market share, the language of corporate culture";

b) from here, when talking about the GAME Australian football the situation in his home state is described to him, as "...the ecosystem of Tasmanian football is sick";

c) and then, "If football is an industry, it is at the most basic level a primary industry, but everywhere I go in Australia, I hear the same – that industry is struggling";

d) until finally he provides a warning, "...to those who are responsible for its [the game, Australian football's] future – Ignore Grassroots Football At Your Peril".

Now, from the outset, let me state that Roy Masters could have written the same about Rugby League, or, Peter Fitzsimons on Rugby Union. Indeed, again I suggest SPORT in general in this country is struggling! However, Flannagan feels perhaps that the artistry of HIS game of Australian football is being contemptuously treated though his subtle suggestions about the power that is 'industry'.

It is a pretty thought provoking piece. Thus, I thought we could delve deeper here. Indeed, if Flannagan's 'intel' in Tasmania is correct, I now wonder, are we just at the 'tip' of the iceberg?

Before I start, with some information on stuff I consider as 'problematic', please know, that I will provide some possible 'solutions' on this very 'complex' issue facing Aussie sports in coming weeks...

The PROBLEMATIC:

1) The ‘Australian Government’s first round of the ‘AusPlay’ survey, released in December 2016 (Australian Sports Commission) - covers the period September 2015 to October 2016 -lists the AFL (not Australian football) as the third most popular club sport for Australian child-adult combined participants. Soccer is miles ahead and indeed looking at trends it seems that Basketball will soon take over Australian football for third place.

2) This neutral government data suggests that Australian football is hardly the ‘national game’ (which Gillon McLaughlin happily declared in 2016...). However, is this patriotic rhetoric just endemic of all sports as corporate systems within systems? This will be explained.

3) In any case, one would suggest that the rise of the AFLW (AFL Women) and massive growth in the girls' game has provided a good 'smoke screen' for what is truly happening. Would Flannagan say that the girls have helped support the corporation's 'market share' and 'branding'...? It certainly HAS helped but I would like to suggest that as Flannagan suggests there are market forces in overdrive! One thing that I can say is that previous participant figures posted by the AFL corporation and indeed, all sporting corporations, were often misleading when compared to the Ausplay data...

4) Again, is this just endemic of a system (the AFL corporation), within a system (Australian public funding for sport and recreation)? In any case, the old 'PE' teacher in me has suspicions when even Roy Morgan research (2015) was flagging what was going on...

5) Roy Morgan's Michelle Levine:

"“While more Australian children are playing sports such as soccer, basketball, netball and tennis at school than they were in 2010, the same cannot be said of cricket and footy, which seem to be slowly falling out favour in local school sports programs. Of course, participation rates vary among different ages, with 10-11 year-olds the most likely to have played cricket (26%) and Australian Rules football (18%) at school in 2014. Outside of school hours (and away from the obligations of Phys. Ed classes), participation has slipped across several sports, with football and cricket being among the casualties."

6) Then, we can take a look at the 2016 AFL Tasmanian Annual Report (2016) which provides some support for Flannagan's dire expression of the game's sickness. For example, 'Auskick' numbers were down by 17%!!!

7) As well, my own analysis of the Ausplay data (you find it yourself too) found that of the ‘top 10’ kids’ Australian ball sports, 'AFL' (as well as Cricket, Football and Tennis), had lost many participants who began as 5-8 year olds. This was especially the case when measured against the 12-14 year old's who remained. In fact, only tennis faced a larger attrition rate than AFL’s 43.9% reduction. In contrast, other sports show increases, with some like Netball, Basketball and Touch Football increasing by well over 50%!!!

8) At the time it seemed plausible to me that the AFL mirrors Rochelle Eime et al’s (2015) findings that amongst many things, modified sports programs, like 'Auskick' for children aged 4-12: were not developmentally appropriate for boys or girls, had little positive impact on children actually progressing to the club version of the ‘real’ sport, and, that perhaps an intermediate program was also needed as a stepping stone to better engage youth.

9) Yet, the 'Grassroots' remain very important!!! Indeed, a La Trobe University/AFL Victoria report, “Value of a Community Football Club” (2014), suggested that for every dollar spent on 'Grassroots' there is at least a $4.40 social return on investment for community benefits. Could this could explain the generous expenditure given by the AFL when it funds each AusKick participant’s backpack and welcoming merchandise? They are presently valued at $45 for each child a year and in total cost the AFL and its partner National Australia Bank $8.9 million in 2016. However, with data showing that 36% of Australian young people aged 5-17 not participating in at least weekly organized sport or physical activity (Active Healthy Kids Australia, 2016), one would consider that all organizations like the AFL could be better structured and better placed to engage their wider participants (including fans, parents, staff and the like). It appears that like others big sports, the AFL is struggling in retention of players. Certainly 'Ausplay' and Rochelle Eime and crew show this to be the case...

10) It is proposed that if societies encouraged young people to participate in two organized sports per year, we could see a 26% reduction in obesity (Drake et al., 2012). as a nation we are at times doing our part here, with Vella SA et al, (2015) presenting Australia and New Zealand as among the best in the world in attracting young people to organized sport. However, at the same time the authors stress that the serious health issue of the prevention of sports dropout amongst young people remains an important research focus. And again we don't need to look far to find helpful South Australia research...

11) South Australian football (SANFL) featured in research on young people, by Agnew, Pill and Drummond (2016). The findings suggested that, amongst other things, the coach is a most important determinant in whether or not children or youth continue involvement in sport. In particular, the authors noted that coaches were pivotal for South Australian junior Australian football in not only the participants’ retention, but also their enjoyment and feelings of inclusion. Indeed they have also called for more research on player retention in Australian football and amongst many suggestions said that coaches need better education around player inclusion, fun, enjoyment and enabling children opportunities to better engage with time on the ball. Education brings opportunity hey? I can't tell you how many times I have been castigated up here for mentioning that our juniors and youth need smaller fields and 9v9 or 12v12 opportunities... EDUCATION and SCIENCE may help Aussie sports CULTURAL ignorance???

12) In any case perhaps Drummond, Pill and Agnew (2016) put it best when speaking about the concerns of retention and dropout in Australian football: “It is clear from this research that there are some significant issues facing Australian Football in terms of retention rates of its junior participants.” Indeed, Cripps (2016) suggests that information on AFL player withdrawal is also scarce in the ‘talent pathway’ sector. Thus one would of course best consider potential solutions to the clear problem of player attrition numbers within the AFL. This will come next week... Yes EDUCATION is important (sorry but I am a humble teacher which I hope to continue through life).

HOWEVER:

I am a coach with a HEART and I care about young people. I don't just sit around whinging about systemic problems facing the beauty that is sport. And you know what, I'm not alone! As such, one of my first LinkedIn videos with the QLD U15s Australian football WOLFPACK was viewed by 5000 people including a Head Coach of a Dutch TOP tier football club, FC Utrecht called Jan van Loon. Jan humbly reached out to me with his Finnish legendary player/coach mate called Joonas Kolkka, to talk about Youth development and retention.

I met Jan on Friday night for a few ales but he too was very concerned with youth drop-out in The Netherlands, who once led all of us with their ability to retain through grassroots communities. However, to make sure that I shared the love, I got Jan to also meet David Rath (AFL's coach innovation guru). I am told by Jan that the Hawthorn coach called Alistair also came... "Our best coach!" I told him. Those at the top of the coaching game it appears are always learning!

On the topic of learning, myself and some great former peers at Australian Catholic University (ACU) Brisbane, like Gert-Jan Pepping and Matt Sweeney, are hosting some of the key stakeholders within Netball, Australian football, Soccer, Gymnastics and Rugby to share a coaches' roundtable with Joonas and Jan this week. We hope to share and learn from each other on 'true' youth ENGAGEMENT. It's being held this Thursday as a 'think-tank', June 28 for and the wonderful Shane Pill (Flinders University) and Rochelle Eime (Federation and Victoria Universities) are skyping in with their research on 'grassroots' coaches and sports clubs' importance. Not a bad start...

Now, if the true meaning of 'compete' is to 'strive together' then I at least hope that we can keep our eye on the prize: KIDS as PLAYERS not just VIEWERS... All sports leaders can work together on this. Mine and ACU's vision here is to at least start the conversation.

It is time for us to learn much more about this like Jan's amazing example. I will share some thoughts on our summit next week as a step forward.

 

Yours in learning,

 

Coach Gunny - BEd (PE), MEd (Sports Coaching)

PS… Please subscribe to YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7DAC5b2rZHlt8bxXHVgAHg?view_as=subscriber

GUNN TIPS FOR COACHES #13 - 365 DAY PROJECT 2019/20 - How do YOU Reflect?

G’Day ‘learners’.

Today’s blog will help sports coaches (and all caring adult stakeholders) to:

Consider the idea of habitual reflection to better inform the practice and future of your own and peers’ efforts with learners…

💭 How do you reflect & what do you use? I’m looking at getting better at this as a person, coach & mentor. Please share/retweet 👊🏻👍
— Dave Lote, 2019

Thinking about a response to the above TWEET was how this present Blog was conceived. Of course my answer was this 365 days of committed blogging. I mean, the kind people who reappropriated John Wooden’s ‘Pyramid of Success’ for teachers a decade ago, showed how important “COACH” saw both ‘intra’ and ‘inter’ personal qualities. Thanks Wade Gilbert and friends.

The ‘Gunn Tip’… They are more important than subject matter knowledge!!! Not saying that technicals aren’t important. Just not the foundations…

The-Pyramid-of-Teaching-Success-in-Sport-Note-The-Pyramid-of-Teaching-Success-in-Sport_Q320.jpg

Look too how the great coach has ‘connection before content’ as the bottom layer? What a great TEACHER! And, of course, I operate under the principle that “Kids learn teachers NOT subjects!” So I will express my bias VERY clearly now as always…. I am a relationships person!

In any case, Dave got the ideas coming to him in buckets which is the great strength of social media for learners. There were research models, reflective challenge cards, sections from books etc, AND, of course the all powerful but haunting “turn the camera on yourself” call.

Subsequently, I mentioned how this habit has forced me to dig much deeper and to me is like a gratitude diary. I know, it’s what I preach so I may as well lead and go harder… BUT more importantly, it’s allowed me the good fortune of revisiting old reflections to see where things have developed. The good and the not so…

The all ‘knowing’ and ‘seeing’ video of your coaching features below. If you are thinking I’m happy with how this session started then you’d be wrong. There was ‘argy bargey’ with a neighbouring coach over space just prior. Perhaps I was a little annoyed…

In any case, about 5 years ago I fell into the game of Australian Football run by the AFL. I am well documented in groups that I am involved in like “Grassroots Coaching and Consulting” Facebook group (not the page), in conference presentations and other formats that coach development in the sport seems to be an afterthought so I will not delve into it here. However, just so Dave Lote and peers plus any of my athletes know, here are some of my reflections from March 7, 2017 with a ‘talent’ squad and their coaches. I will intersperse with vision as always:

  • I know I’m supposed to be showing them ‘THE SHOW ‘ for them to implement as a team of coaches later but… but in reallity we are getting through the equivelant of six hours of second year PE teachers work at university level (taking out all of the included reflection time). 

  • There is a right answer to what they need but it depends on their objectives. I don’t think I’ve coached this well enough from ____________ (The Boss)

  • Positives for the kids: exposed them to what they refer to as ‘chaos’, got them stuffed in a short time like they have never had before = maximal movement

  • Also had them learn that it is OK not to do kick to kick. 

  • Positives for the coaches: ‘Bang for Buck’ showed as much as I could to get juices flowing - there were rapid changes going on and have it all on paper for them  

  • I was disappointed that the two coaches that I prepped to take a constraint-game were too scared to do it.  That was probably because of the GUNN SHOW but also because like always they are incapable without constant support by TOP Dogs watching

  • Insights on field: I saw behaviours that affected the learning of all so brought in changes.  EG. once we went to full AFL rules the' ‘talls and kickers’ dominated.  Gave them a few minutes with their size to show-off AND got rid of the ball and used the vortex again so that if it was dropped it was a hand-over = made them run again but still play tight when they were passing with vortex harder to mark from the Hail Mary - A few other times I did this but I was just balancing it out so that coaches' and players' objectives were met. 

  • Changes too quick? I did not get to know the coaches or players individually.  This is not good coaching in the long term!!!

  • Provided good resource on paper.  Need to ask if they noticed that I didn’t read it? BUT This could scare them = Need to reinforce sure I am experienced but I try new things every session because I watch and feel

  • Also, my questions were all about the tactics and space but I do not need it prepared. = REINFORCE unless they are a 10 year sports coach, they are wasting their time using questions. The questions are all there though for the coaches to use!!! Need to clarify!

  • There are literally millions of things I could improve with them. HOWEVER as the BOSS says, "we are five years ahead of where the game is going!" THUS be HAPPY!

  • Johan Cruyff says the top team and the grassroots should be trained the same way = learning first in pressure!!!  The AFL manual says to use Keepings Off for 12 year olds and over!!!  It is Tiggy???  CULTURE is SO SO HARD to work with…

  •  Probably need to get them in touch with coaches I have mentored? They have learnt the WAY already with my help.   

  • Need to show them how to MENTOR: Ask coaches what is one of your strengths and one thing (only) you want to improve on?  I guarantee when I get to watch the film there will be so, so many things that I got wrong.  However, if we don't have an observer or the film we overestimate what is happening (Cushion and friends).  Remind them that through the research that says the players’own assessment of the coach is far more accurate than the coach themselves (Gilbert, Cushion and others???).  Phew enough Crazy Gunny!!!

  • Enjoying the confidence the confidence some coaches are starting to gain.  Having said that coaches should get down and watch any coach and any sport and discuss ...they will get way better. 

  • Johan Cruyff - To play well, you need good players, but a good player almost always has the problem of a lack of efficiency. He always wants to do things prettier than strictly necessary. 

  • Think this says a little about what they are calling ‘ugly’ from me?  Reminds that our focus is on the development of holistic humans and every single one of them important.  If we ever win because we have a couple of stars (ie _________ last year) we have done the better players and the poorer ones a dis-service.

That was a long reflection dear coaches… But if nothing else, you can see that I’m in the very least using the military’s ‘After Action Review’ (AAR). What was planned? What happened? How do we improve? But in my own eclectic way…

The important thing is to just keep doing it. Teachers know we were all taught reflection at university. Those of us who want to keep getting better (in my case as a coach) do it just like Dave Lote inquired about above. And it’s OK to just brain dump/stream of consciouness style OR ‘let it rip’. Woked better for Virginia Woolf than James Joyce though in my opinion!!!

Think it worked well for Mick Jagger too!!! My point though peers: Just DO it! Reflection that is… In any way you can.

Yours in learning,

Gunny

GUNN TIPS FOR COACHES #12 - 365 DAY PROJECT 2019/20 - "Have you kept any of your planning diaries over the decades Stu? If so I will buy them off ya!"

G’Day ‘learners’.

Today’s blog will help sports coaches (and all caring adult stakeholders) to:

Consider the idea of failing harder to better inform the practice and future of your own and peers’ efforts with learners…

The beauty of getting to know the great Dale Sidebottom over the past year (thanks Dr. Shane Pill the ‘go-giver’ for the introduction), is that I’ve been able to introduce him to different teachers from around the World whose work I rate, but, whom I haven’t really gotten to know well due to the tyranny of distance. Dale has a great way of getting people's story out which is intriguing, as he has ENERGY levels that are superhuman. Yet, unlike me, he can patiently contain himself. Indeed, my ‘Gunn Eangaement’ business partner Anthony says I’m easy to direct on camera as I’m always just “Gunny”! Have a look how I’m almost uncontaiinable when interviewing a great young coach at 43 seconds below.

Having forgone any plans of achieving anything higher than my Master’s Degree (FIRST World issues…), I have decided to write a post a day for 365 days to improve my learning journey. Clearly, Dale Sidebottom is doing the same thing through his podcast. For me, it's funny how the forced habit of writing/creating provides so much clarity. It's getting easier and easeir too. AND, in doing so, I hope to help fellow teachers with their own reflection on their own learning journeys.

Speaking of Dale and teacher/coach learning journeys, I once recently made sure that Dale met one of my favourite pragmatists on social media, the amazing, Stuart Wilkinson. Stuart has a way of cutting through the noise, especially within the current ecological psychology vs educational psychology debate. People have disagreed with me (probably Stuart even), but I believe that whilst this debate is very important, it’s also giving governing bodies and government departments an opportunity to sit on their hands at present. “Just awaiting clarification from the research” style…

I am not gonna speak for Stuart on this but I will say that I listened to his story with Dale twice and tweeted that, “This is probably the best sports coaching podcast episode I have ever listened too!” AND, it’s not just because Stu is a Rugby League man like me (although FAR more highly decorated), I again reckon it’s the way he cuts through to focus constantly on the unique learner. I also loved his description of teachers who can engage as coaches who": “Light up the grass!!!” Here is the great man in action.

I love hearing about sports’ coaches journies, especially the ones willing to try anything to improve. I asked Stuart if I could access more of his learning diaries and thankfully he’s writing a PHD and an accompanying book to help us all by way of these. AND there is a lot of it said Stuart, “not many electronic and when my son gets time to clean out the loft we did agree to burn them as there is 10x10m and 1m of boxes of records I’ve kept.” Yet here is one of the kickers for me from Stu, “over the past few years I’ve found I didn’t use my intended plans as I just coach what emerges from the players’ reactions.” This is teaching and being willing to fail too, just like we surely want our players to experience.

In contrast, let me give you an example of a teacher who has STOPPED teaching. I was once asked by a professional coach (of the television type) a couple of questions in a friendly face to face learning exchange. From now on, the ‘pro’ coach will be called _______:

_______: Gunny caught up with Shane Pill lately? I’ve often wondered about Game Sense. What percentage should your sessions be Game Sense, as well as Craftwork, Fitness etc?

Gunny: _______, there is no ‘correct’ formula if that’s what you’re asking _______.

_______: What do you mean Gunny?

Gunny: It Depends…

______: Depends on what?

Gunny: What you’ve got in front of you… Who they are. What they need. Your mood. Their moods. What they want. What you want… AND it changes moment by moment etc etc…

He then points to the team I’m helping, where in essence I was coaching their coaches.

_______: Give me an example. What’s the secret?

Gunny: Well first you encourage the coaches to get their players and then the leaders in particular to highlight a problem that needs solving. (I then explained it all in great detail). For example, at the start of the season, our very first session we worked on…

_______: We don’t work on that!

Gunny: Why?

_______: That just comes implicitly… (Gunny walks away in shock wondering, ‘whatever happened to teaching?’)

You see here is a coach that’s stopped trying and learning. Yet the coach more than likely shows videos of NBA players etc talking about ‘failing harder’. Stuart Wilkinson if you listen below seems the opposite. He just keeps trying and failing and improving just like we want our players to do. Have a listen yourself: https://energetic.education/130-stuart-wilkinson-coaching-relationships-inspiration/

AND the great man goes further in saying that most of the earlier mentioned training diaries could be ‘hopeless’… YES! That’s the point. Or as Stuart puts it, in response to one of the ‘epic fails’ I tried in coaching rugby union almost twenty years ago and trying to borrow from Rugby League structure:

We all need to try this stuff until it finally dawns on us that self organised, collaborative & small communities of practice all enhance self determined & independent thinkers within our teams.
— Stuart Wilkinson, 2019

Therefore, here you go peers! Compliments of Uncle Gunny. Below is an activity I designed for a ‘talent academy’ I was supposed to work at, but instead was laid up and recovering on my bed from one of my two different achilles snaps. It was designed (as were the other two untouched activities) to fit the problems that the coaches identified. Of course, they didn’t implement it. Not because they didn’t understand it. It was because they didn’t have the courage to ‘fail harder’. You see, coaching is a process of learning… Not a whole heap of flaky infographics and motivational quotes. This activity was designed to get support runners running ‘cut and angled leads’. I no doubt got inspired by a book by Shane Pill or other great PE teachers, let alone the teachers from my university days so feel free to use.

Handpass around on the ‘GO’ from coach with one defender who remains for three-six rotations – it is 3v1 – each side of triangle starts in order on attack – coloured markers line the outside lines – when coach calls a colour the ball player needs to try and hit a lead who is heading to a colour on another line from where they started – again I would bring in many constraints.  However, I would always go from Keepings Off and then Endball variations but using the old rugby league waves in a grid even in 2v1 with you calling the side or a colour that they need to lead to would have them cutting. With other coaches doing and calling you could look for someone doing it right. When you spot it: “Did anyone see that? That was impossible to defend against. How did Joe put the distance between him and defence and give a clear option? (silence) Where not playing League are we? Where is the space?” Just keep at ‘em….

Handpass around on the ‘GO’ from coach with one defender who remains for three-six rotations – it is 3v1 – each side of triangle starts in order on attack – coloured markers line the outside lines – when coach calls a colour the ball player needs to try and hit a lead who is heading to a colour on another line from where they started – again I would bring in many constraints. However, I would always go from Keepings Off and then Endball variations but using the old rugby league waves in a grid even in 2v1 with you calling the side or a colour that they need to lead to would have them cutting. With other coaches doing and calling you could look for someone doing it right. When you spot it: “Did anyone see that? That was impossible to defend against. How did Joe put the distance between him and defence and give a clear option? (silence) Where not playing League are we? Where is the space?” Just keep at ‘em….

The coach who I am describing this to above in email was exceptionally experienced. Thus, I’m not sure why it wasn’t implemented. If it wasn’t understood, I was on my back looking for phone calls. I’d guess just too lazy to be prepared to follow the slogans that are flagrantly touted on social media… It reminds me of the term ‘Lifelong Learning’ that you will see in any syllabus document or university prospectus. However, it’s just a couple of words unless you are prepared to enact it through ‘doing’ like the great Stuart Wilkinson. Indeed, create a learning legacy whatever context you are in if you are prepared to really roll the dice and take a risk.

I would love to hear your thoughts on when you failed forward. Contact me at anytime via email: coachgunny@craiggunn.org or subscribe and find me in all the usual ways.

Yours in learning,

Gunny

GUNN TIPS FOR COACHES #11 - 365 DAY PROJECT 2019/20 - CAN VIRTUAL REALITY SIMULATIONS LEARN FROM PHYSICAL EDUCATION TEACHING MODELS?

G’Day ‘learners’.

Today’s blog will help sports coaches (and all caring adult stakeholders) to:

Consider the idea of inter-disciplinary sharing to better inform the practice and future of your own and peers’ efforts with learners…

Two of the great mysteries that I have come across since teaching in pretty much every context is these:

1) Why are university faculty with a research background expected to teach even though they mostly don’t possess a teaching degree?

2) Why do the big sports’ corporations’ leading coaches often travel on ‘junkets’ to USA and European professional set-ups, when they would learn so much from their neighbouring coach at the field over the fence in a different sport?

I have spent the best part of a decade working on finding answers to these questions… One day I might understand these bizarre processes but I fear it will not be until my death bed.
Here below is an example of a local AFL club in Australia looking at the rugby league club next door for help in keeping their players’ safe! Well done Wilston-Grange Gorillas of AFLQ where I have so far worked on ‘contact’ safety in teams and with coaches from U/11 right through to seniors including some of the senior women’s last year’s state flag winners! In any case cross code sharing seems oddly rare at the ‘coalface’ in Australian sport.

Although, I retired from a decade’s work teaching at universities last year, the Gunn household is very lucky as both Therese (my wife) and I have worked or in her case are still working as a university lecturer. It is of course, most unfortunate for our kids when our morning pot of tea questions turn to improving unique individual learning outcomes for students. Therese is not a trained teacher but may as well be as she has levels of EQ that I only dream of and is always looking at bettering her craft. As such, she is almost finished her PHD, and presents her final seminar this in June this year.

She is also very, very, very clever! Below is her sideline business that she has created and runs with three peers. It provides a virtual environment for student radiographers to gain confidence and skills before and after their hospital placements. The idea here of course is so that if the knowledge and manipulations of machines becomes more automated, then the students can focus on the ‘real’ stuff: patient care.

This I feel is akin to the first teaching practicums of school teachers where you are placed in a school environment with a mentor and learn more about the relationship side of the profession, rather than the actual ART of teaching. I remember it being in my second year for example, and you got to teach very small and rare segments only. AND of course. all the mentor really wanted to see was how well you relate and if you had presence. Well that’s what I got out of it and passed it on ‘in kind’ to the university students I taught at schools or universities!

This is the business referred to above! It’s called ‘medspace.VR’, http://www.medspacevr.com/ . In this clip you will hear the beautiful tonal treats of Dr. Peter Bridge from the University of Liverpool.

Which brings me to the point of this piece: can Virtual Reality (VR) simulations learn from Physical Education (PE) teaching models? Therese Gunn thinks so of course in suggesting that importantly for health educators using technology or aids:

requires the educator to understand the technical possibilities of the technology as well as have a thorough understanding of the content. Awareness and the acceptance that “it depends” is the key.
— Therese Gunn, 2019

You see, like any interventions in PE and many education interventions like computer laptops rolled out in schools, Therese makes the point that the unique learner is key, including the teacher. The quote above comes from an abstract that’s been accepted by an upcoming conference on the use of simulation in health. It does not feature in her PHD. However, a morning chat between us on Mosston and Ashworth’s (2002) ‘Spectrum of Teaching Styles’ alighted within in my great teaching mate a possible future direction on the learning journey to ultimately improve students’ learning and subsequent patients’ care outcomes.

YES, there are always ‘gimmicks’, ‘fads’ or better named teaching ‘models’ that are available for any educator or coach to use. Take the below work from the Australian Sports Commission, now Sport Australia. Not too long ago I believe we led the world in sports’ coaching research through engaging resources and interventions, like, “Playing for Life”, “Sporting Schools”, “Game Sense” and “Yulunga”.

A great teacher knows that ‘one size does not fit all’. It never has. It never will. AND of course, the dynamic nature of learning evolves moment by moment. Yet, despite not having a teaching degree, Therese through her research had worked out that just like in PE, Sports Coaching and all educational sectors, their are many well thought out interventions sitting idle and gathering dust… Because, ‘It DEPENDS’ on so many factors. For example, anybody who calls my own coaching here in Australia ‘Gunny Madness’ and “gunny Chaos’ or worse has not seen me teach contact. Here is where the beauty of Mosston and Ashworth come in!

Even on film my director mate, Anthony of AOB Media says, I’m one of the easiest presenters to work with. I’m just “GUNNY”! AND, even though I get into a ‘zone’ my 1000s upon 100s of sessions, contexts, students, changes etc etc leads to me sometimes using different parts of the ‘Spectrum’. That’s not to say I don’t plan. I elicit from coaches I work with what problem they want players to solve and I get them to bring all of this out in full colour. Then, like a MAD scientist, I splash a bit of this, and reduce the heat on that, and stir vigorously that etc… This is the ART of teaching. And of course it’s something that Therese will explore through Mosston and Ashworth’s legacy, including leaning on the shoulder of the odd PE teaching peers of mine like Dr. Sue-See and Dr. Pill. Probably plenty more too!

Of course, I firmly live in the ‘grey’ of no right or wrong so I am biased but I have a feeling my wife is onto something here. Knowing subject matter yourself doesn’t mean that you can get others to learn. And just as the GREAT Muska Mosston tried to show us teaching is a complex series of decisions to be REapplied, REobserved, REflected on and then REbuilt or REpealed or REvealed.

And yet again I wonder about REsearch. REflection:

Why the constant drive for ‘new’ contributions to knowledge? What’s wrong with a REturn to the ‘old’? How often are interventions REleased that are simple REhashes of things that worked or didn’t work many years ago? As a teacher, of course when was the most REcent time you truly REvolutionised your teaching through REspecting differentiation of learners. EXAMPLE: Some students will thrive in a VR environment just like some will prefer closed drills in PE. When has there been a moment where you REinvigorated your teaching through this REality?
As a REflection of my own and REminder of how this began I will retell an anecdote that leads High Performance coaches of the learning from the discipline next door:
I was once fortunate enough to work with an academy from a professional AFL team. I gave my feedback and one of my examples caught the Head Coaches’ interest. “This tennis ball technique of yours was taught by to us at _______________ by All Black, _______________ , when I played at ________________ (played over 300games). “Well,” I replied, “I first came across the method in 1986 and it was taught to us by Christian Brother _________________ (so long ago I forget).
Yes my teaching peers, when have you openly and genuinely sought out learning from your teaching peer next door? Whatever the discipline… There is GOLD I tell you over the fence OR around the kitchen bench!

Yours in learning,

Gunny

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7DAC5b2rZHlt8bxXHVgAHg?view_as=subscriber