Bluearth Foundation Coach Education Presentation

Really enjoyed presenting to the Victorian Bluearth Team in January.  They are now led by the very experienced Paull Jeffrey, who is doing an amazing job in leading this team and involving his experienced senior Coaches; Tim Forsyth, Mick Wilson and Mitch Barrow (who is back after having a year off).  All the very best to Tina Freake, who has now finished her degree and is going back into the field with enthusiasm to make a difference.  All in all, it is an exciting team going out into Victorian Schools to inspire children and support the teachers who have signing up for the Professional Learning Program.

In the session I presented a brief overview of the history of activity and exercise evolving from the practices that have shaped military training (running and endurance, obstacle courses, pushing oneself to extremes because of the demands of combat), bodybuilding, power-lifting and olympic-lifting (load-based training), skill development for sport (fundamental movement skills, blocked and variable practice, linear type drills, grooving and repetition) and the learning that has come from diseases of the brain and nervous system (these include polio and cerebral palsy), these practices include the approach of Professor Janda and the Prague School, PNF developed by Sherrington, Bobath and Bobath in CP, and Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen (important movement educator and developer of body-mind centering) to mention a few important pioneers.

I then discussed the difference between;

  • instruction (based on an authority figure who tends to have a set practice where participants are urged to do their best by pushing themselves. Feedback is not an essential feature of this approach),
  • teaching (content specific discipline with formal evaluation) and
  • coaching (the person in the learning context being affected by the causes and conditions of the learning environment, and also by the collective present who are part of the shaping influence of the learning.  Feedback is an inherent feature of this mode of operation).

This evolution of Coaching was born out of the work of Tim Gallwey who wrote ‘The inner game of tennis’ and was the first coaching book that pointed to self-autonomy as our main teacher.  One of the central premises for those unfamiliar with the Bluearth Approach, is Self Determination Theory developed by Deci and Ryan.  SDT is based on the basic psychological needs of Competence, Autonomy and Relatedness being necessary to constitute a whole.  The basis of a Bluearth session is contextual whole person learning where the participants are encouraged to be curious about what is happening, as it is happening.  This is explored in stillness, dynamically and in the full-on perceptual overload of a game of Team Tag.

We spent a lot of time in the practical component of the session, exploring postural stability with a focus on deep system stability.  The job of the deep system is to be active, from an informational perspective to stabilise all purposeful movement and involves awareness of breathing as the basis for the rhythm and speed of movement.

The coaches enjoyed being introduced to an increase in intra-abdominal pressure as necessary for the alignment and activation of the 3 internal diaphragms (vocal, thoracic and pelvic) and there was much debate about ways of introducing this to children.  As someone who is experienced in this way of working, I can think of no better gift for the children of Australia than to learn, how to breathe and lengthen by paying attention to internal process.

Thanks to Jeffo and the Team for a wonderful morning exploring together, and all the best for a transformational 2011.

Mark

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