Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Silent Coaching

I thought Carl Valle wrote an excellent blog post a couple days ago titled "What not to Coach". I highly suggest giving it a good read.

I wrote a similar blog post touching on what I felt are some of the important aspects and challenges that are involved in coaching in my position: Quality Control Coaching.

One of the coaching skills that is often mentioned is cuing, which is a primary component of teaching... but something that I think is important to remember is that cuing does not always, nor should it, involve verbalization. The same goes with feedback: it does not always require talking. I've been challenging myself to coach without saying anything, and it's amazing at how effectively (maybe even more so than with words) one can communicate by cutting out the babble... because I think that's often what athletes hear (try reversing the roles sometime; I talked about it with point #2 here). A certain touch, eye contact, body movement or signal can "speak" volumes.

Words can be nice, but can you coach without saying anything?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Ecological Solutions

I've briefly touched on human health and well-being with regards to our biophilic need to be connected to the natural world. In the past, I've mostly blogged about ideas related to athletic performance along with a few things on general health and well-being on a more superficial level and things mostly directed at the human body, with just a few mentions to the broader environment that supports our survivability and thrivability.

Ever since I took an interest in health and fitness, I've always been much more curious about the why than the what and how. I've always tried to ask enough questions, particularly the why questions, with the intent to take things to their logical conclusions (or beginnings). And the key conclusion I continue to come to, is that most of the ills, challenges, and issues regarding human health and well-being have been symptoms of leaving our hunter-gatherer way of living; the agricultural or neolithic revolution.

This new "civilization" for whatever reason, purposely or inadvertently, created a disconnect from the natural world, the cyclical/spherical way of all life... as some argue was a major mistake...

The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race

You can see the fragmented resurfacing of such ideas about how to live, that have been turned into economic commodities (an amazing paradox!) in the recent "paleo" craze; paleo diets, paleo fitness, paleo lifestyles (whatever the hell that means?!). I think the paleo approach is a great step in changing people's view on health and fitness, but is unfortunately often only directed towards helping people deal with their personal symptoms, with little concern about the greater human and non-human world "out there"; really only addressing more and more symptoms of symptoms.

This is not an attempting to tackle all the issues of the 21st century, such as population growth, the growing energy "crisis", the potential fragility of globalization, or global warming, and likely causes... but these are all seemingly related, more or less, to our disconnect with the earth, especially our individual local landbase, that supports us and ultimately gave life to us.

I think Josh Leeger does an excellent job discussing many of these issues on his blog. He recently addressed the position of certain techno-anarchists, and provided some possible redirecting solutions of the current civilization's path.

Fitness at Civilization's End

The thing I don't think many either think about or know (or, more likely, care... although we should) is that history has a long list of civilizations that haven risen and eventually collapsed. All of them, except this one... so far. Will ours be any different? Can we really have infinite growth of our economy on a finite planet? Should we try?

Regardless, there are people who, in this culture of consumption that often leads to destruction of the natural world - the life giving, health and well-being antidote to civilization's diseases, are doing some great and important work (... wow, this has become a very lengthy intro to a couple videos!). Paul Stamets is one of those people. I highly recommend watching a couple of his talks below.

If I am not convincing you to watch either of these videos, at least check out the last few minutes (starting around 9:01) of Paul's talk at TEDMED 2011... maybe this will spark some interest.