Teams, Athletic and Non LO7060

Charles Parry (74150.236@CompuServe.COM)
29 Apr 96 23:59:54 EDT

responding to Teams, Athletic and Non LO6994

In reference to (I've lost track of who said this) -

>I spoke to one coach a year ago whose team was superlative. "How do you
obtain such field discipline, such consistency?" His reply: "The kids
hate practices, because all we do is overlaps [a kind of pass where the
passer runs behind the receiver to his/her other side, into open space
ready to receive the ball back if necessary]. But when they get out on
the field, see what happens." What I saw in that team was a
hightened sense of collaboration. These 18 and 19 year olds were
constantly talking to one another.

Charles Parry wrote:

"IMHO that coach was drilling into them a two-person meme-like gestalt as
his distillation of successful habits & awareness in that context
(soccer). A good start if players come into it trained by their academic
classes to be focussed on individual achievement. But notice that he did
so using his authority (my inference from "The kids hate practices...")"

Barry wrote:

I don't understand the ideas here. Perhaps you could elaborate?


The first idea is this: the action-perception unit *overlap [a kind of
pass where the passer runs behind the receiver to his/her other side, into
open space ready to receive the ball back if necessary]* which the coach
spent practices drilling into the kids is a kind of a meme. It can be
replicated over and over in many combinations to produce *plays* in
soccer, and a rudimentary form of team.... two person collaborations. If
this one pattern is iterated enough, a great deal of decent offensive
soccer could result. Smart coach.

The second idea is that paradigms tend to be elastic at their edge - there
is leverage in constructing action patterns that are "the same, but a
little different" in order to create change. This "overlap" meme requires
only one small step from the paradigm that students (broad generalization)
are immersed in during the academic part of their school day - me against
everybody else. "Ok, I'll pass the ball to you and then run behind you to
an open space expecting a return pass some decent percentage of the time
since I can't seem to advance the ball all the way to the goal on my own
anyway." And so that soccer coach has some strategic smarts.

Barry, to me your statement (below) reinforces the central idea - there
are incredibly few practice-fields for team skills & orientations common
or even available for people to learn team function in. That's why ropes
courses and consultants are needed so much - it's remedial education!

>Then there are the rope courses! Heightened awareness of self and
others, greater sensitivity to behavioral types, understanding fact-based
business practices, and on and on. That's one example among millions of
consulting with a relatively non-threatening information source.
Consultants are everywhere providing practice fields, no? It's one of the
few ways to get uninterrupted practice time.

Barry, your simple practice of instituting process reflection in situ as
the closing 5 minutes of meetings is very clever and a realistic start.
Your team meetings are the same as everyone else's - well, almost the
same. Funny how Barry's group has more resilience than other similar

Charles Parry
Specialized Resources International
Fax: 603.525.4151 Tel: 603.525.4451
PS. I'm unsubscribing for a while to catch up on some things. Barry (or anyone
else) please feel free to contact me directly. I"m still checking my e-mail,
just don't have time for 100 messages a day from listserves. Thanks.


Charles Parry <74150.236@CompuServe.COM>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <> -or- <>