The Emerging Game
Hey coach, do you spend a lot of time planning a session to the last detail?
Outcomes aligned, coaching points concise, even picturing in your head how the session will go? Then as the players arrive, you find out one’s got an injury, another one’s sick, you’re numbers are out and you end up having to do something completely different to your plan. How frustrating!
Or perhaps, for some reason you were unable to prepare and plan as you usually would and you find yourself doing what some call ‘coaching on the run’. You basically work with what’s infront of you at the time. Funnily enough, after the session you find that it was one of the best sessions you’ve ever had. Why is that?
It’s quite simply because there are humans involved.
Planning on paper can only get you so far, it’s when your faced with the complexities of humans and the realities of life, that the ‘art’ of coaching i.e attuning, adapting and acting in the moment, is what becomes important. (Sound familiar? We’re all Learners - coaches and players together.) Professional environments, rules and ‘standards’ can seek to impose their control on human lives, but in amateur and grass roots environments, good luck! There’s life involved. And is control really the way to nurture human potential?
What if we spent less time worrying about controlling humans and their lives, and more focus on embracing the emerging behaviours of humans and ‘manage in the moment’?
How do we apply this belief in sessions? We call it The Emerging Game #nextblogpost #gamedesign @myfastestmile https://t.co/VAfkHQFqtu pic.twitter.com/xw7mdFOjhE
— GAME PLAY LEARN (@_gameplaylearn_) August 3, 2017
Does this mean there’s no need for planning and preparation? By no means! It’s indeed a valuable learning experience in itself, but as we grow in our coaching experience, our preparation becomes less about planning for the expected and more about readiness in adapting to the unexpected. Now we’re learning!
As Mark O’Sullivan articulates beautifully and his Holistic View below well worth a read:
“We need a flexible framework where our training and planning is designed around emerging information, whilst being underpinned by sound developmental principles”(Al Smith & Mark O Sullivan)
@stu_arm A holistic view: Flexible framework, sound developmental principles and emerging information https://t.co/IpkWEhf8BK
— mark o sullivan (@markstkhlm) September 30, 2016
And so we arrive at The Emerging Game…
We are currently enjoying Emerging Games. That is, beginning with a generic game that is flexible enough to add variables or change according to emerging behaviour and discoveries of the Learners.
The Game becomes flexible to suit the Learner needs in real time.
The benefits become the engagement levels of suiting the Learners in the moment as well as creating a self-determined environment in which Learners can discover according to their own contributions. Not to mention less time and stress for coaches in planning and controlling!
Watch the following Emerging Game with a group of nine year olds in a school football program context. (3 minute video)
Starting with (a variation of) European Handball, all Learners contribute to add/change constraints and variabilities to provide an engaging, emerging, learning experience.
Can you see how The Emerging Game could then turn into an Emerging Session and evolve into an Emerging Journey?!
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