I have been in a period of transition for a number of months now and this has provided a huge opportunity for reflection. With this period of reflection, I have been able to refine my coaching and training philosophies, while continuing to work in a part-time capacity as an Athletic Development coach. While it has been a slow moving time, I have been moving forward slowly, rather than in reverse. In some ways it has been a massive positive:
Extract from James Clear's newsletter #1.
I have decided to pursue a PGCE in Secondary Physical Education from the University of Huddersfield. I could say there are a number of reasons for this, but ultimately there is only one. When I look at athletes - youth, amateur or professional - it is quite clear who has had a good physical education and who has not. Athletes with a greater physical literacy are more adaptable and have a wider variety of movement solutions for any task they are faced with. Looking at the general population, a large percentage of people are overweight. Having a good physical education can set people up for a lifelong involvement in sport (recreational or competitive) and physical activity, and will enable them to live a healthy and active life. This is something I am passionate about - setting people up to succeed, however that is defined for them. I aim to cultivate competitors, in whatever competition they choose to compete in, however it is defined for them.
There are a number of positive coincidences from embarking on my PGCE:
1) It will improve my coaching. It has been said that the difference between coaching and teaching are the first 2 letters. While this may be an oversimplification given that the environments in which each happen can be very different, I do think there are parallels - managing a group, creating buy-in, simplifying topics, optimally challenging students/players. I will get so many opportunities to coach/teach over the year, and I know I will be better for this experience.
2) I have a great opportunity to delve deeper into skill acquisition. I have spoken with many great skill acquisition specialists over the last number of months, I started to apply some key skill acquisition principles in my own work in my last full-time role (here and here), I completed my MSc thesis on applying a skill acquisition framework to professional rugby union, and I am fascinated by the concept of gamification. Above all, I am excited to explore an area I am incredibly curious about.
3) This is my career insurance policy. I was fortunate when I was told my contract as an Sports Scientist was ending, as I was given 5 months notice. Plenty of time to try and find a new role, but also a good time to take stock of where I am and what direction I am going. I have had a number of interviews for a variety of roles in Ireland, but I (un)fortunately was not successful. It was unfortunate in that these were jobs I would have been incredibly passionate about and driven to succeed in, but perhaps fortunate in not getting them that it meant other doors could open. One of them doors is my PGCE, and adding another string to my bow. I had previously thought that this was my primary reason for pursuing this path, but if I wanted a career insurance policy, there are a host of other options I could have taken, like data science, or physiotherapy.
Some of the skill acquisition resources I have been diving into.
A podcast that I re-listened to last week really resonated with me (I have listened to it at least 15 times now). I am less interested in controlling what happens over the next 12 months and beyond, but I am keen to explore what is possible. Having a mindset of exploration over controlling is the absolute antidote to anxiety, in my experience. I didn't plan to spend 5 years of my life in Hong Kong, but I explored the path as it opened up for me. I am looking forward to doing the same with this episode.
Extract from James Clear's newsletter #2.
It's somewhat daunting, but now is as good a time as any to try this. As my final reference to James Clear's newsletter says (something everyone should sign up for):
Extract from James Clear's newsletter #3.