The journey so far (Part one)
Guest blog from Kelvin Giles, CEO of Movement Dynamics
I guess it all started nearly 20 years ago as a few of us as coaches in the elite performance layers realised that many of the talented athletes who were negotiating their final steps to the transition to the elite senior ranks were displaying certain limitations. They had a decent track record in their relevant age-group performances and were highly ranked in terms of their competitive ability. Although they had been anointed as the next generation of international level athletes they appeared to be limited in a range of areas, particularly all-round movement efficiency. For some reason they had survived a development journey where a large percentage of their time was taken up with technical and tactical work coupled with an ever increasing intensity and volume of training. Many were struggling with this final layer of adaptation and this struggle was illustrated by (a) a greater injury frequency and (b) a lesser ability to advance their technical model and physical ability under pressure. With lots of screening and investigation it became apparent that they were bereft of a wide and deep movement vocabulary that should have been acting as a buffer to the increasing loads being placed on them.
As the years unfolded more and more observations were seen with regard to the general fitness and ‘physicality’ of the 21st century generations. The more sedentary lifestyles of the younger generations added to the decline of Physical Education stimulated many observers and researchers to examine the plight of children as they tried to advance to adulthood with physical well-being. Knowing that the future elite performers were part of this generation stimulated many National Governing Bodies (NGB’s) to question their ‘Talent Development’ programs – but with little effect.
Over the last 20 years I have been asked to speak to a range of National Governing Bodies and other sporting organisations on the topic of finding the answers to the accepted ‘Physical Literacy’ problem and its detrimental effect on the many ‘talent development’ structures they have in place. Now while I honestly accept that I do not have all the answers I have been honoured to accept the invitation of these organisations to set out some of the rationale and background to their quest to link movement efficiency into the technical and tactical journey their developing athletes are on.
So what are the key questions…
- Q. What are the Foundation movements?
- Q. Where are they seen in the sports-specific actions and postures?
- Q. How to measure Physical Competence in these Foundation movements formally and informally.
- Q. What is movement efficiency, consistency and resilience?
- Their relationship to injury.
- Their relationship to learning.
- The tools you need to weave ‘movement’ into the session.
- The construction of the session to integrate ‘movement’.
- How the maturation process changes things – and what to do.
- How to progress and regress exercises for the individual.
…and to be able to build the athlete from the ground up by developing a wide and deep movement vocabulary from which the required sports-specific actions and posture could be better developed.
When working with a NGB a familiar problem is often faced. How to create an appropriate scheme of work (pathway) that would arm all their coaches with the information and the resources to actually deliver this far more appropriate programme.
The need to ensure that the ability to teach across four major pillars in every session is essential in the development of the holistic athlete;
• Physical (movement efficiency, consistency and resilience)
• Technical and Tactical (plenty of this they already had)
• Behavioural (the means to develop attitude, commitment, discipline, perseverance)
Working with many organisations there is a need to make a significant shift in the ways or working, win over hearts and minds to enable the system to look at things differently.
Kelvin Giles, CEO Movement Dynamics
Kelvin currently consults across a range of National Governing Bodies and Federations and is the author of the Physical Competence Assessment resources.
As a former UK National and Olympic Track & Field Coach, Kelvin spent 30 years in Australia’s high performance sport environment. He was Head T&F Coach at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra and Head of the Athletic Development department at the Queensland Academy of Sport in Brisbane.
He spent 6 years at the helm of the Brisbane Broncos Rugby League team as Director of Performance and also led the Australian Rugby Union’s Elite Player Development section. He is a coach to 14 Olympic and World Championship athletes over a 40 year career.
Kelvin returned to the UK to continue his quest to enhance the physical competency of the world’s talent pool.