The Talent Equation podcast is an 'exploration in human advancement'... mostly (but not exclusively) through the lens of sport and physical activity.
Each episode is an 'emergent conversation' with practitioners, parents, researchers, authors (or some combination of all three) taking a deep dive into the ways that people can help others to enhance their developmental journey in whatever field they are committed to.
These conversations are not mainstream - you will not hear ideas that are provided on standard education courses - they fly in the face of convention - they will sometimes be controversial and provocative - the show is about doing things differently and doing different things.
The people who come on the show are innovators - they are trying to break new ground or swim against the tide of a broken culture - what they say will prompt new thinking or new ideas.
All that is asked of the listener is to embrace the conversation with an open mind.
Dog Walk Diary - Child First Coaching is hard - learning about neurodiversity
A proper deep reflection about a massive failure trying to be child first with a large group and it’s impact on my interactions with a neurodiverse child that I am still reflecting on and trying to come to terms with!
How 'the scenius' can be better than 'the system' - a conversation with Graeme McDowall
Graeme McDowall holds an MPhil degree in Sports Coaching Education from the University of Birmingham. He is a lecturer at the SRUC in Scotland and an associate lecturer in Sport and Exercise with the Open University. Graeme is made a welcome return to the show to explore the opportunities and challenges of using 2 touch in training.
But before we get to that, we discuss his thoughts on golf coaching, how we can create better experiences by learning from the creative approaches of musicians and also some of the key insights from his new book 'The System' which explores the history of Scottish football and what it means for player development today.
Subscribe to Graeme's substack here https://mcdowall.substack.com/
Check out the new book 'The System: What we can learn when science and reason collide with scittish football'.
Also check out Graeme's other book - 'A Constraints Led Approach to Golf Coaching'
"Coaching what can't be coached" - a conversation with Andrew Sheaff
This week's guest is Andrew Sheaff, a swimming coach who has embraced the concept of non linear pedagogy and the constraints led approach in to his practice. So much so that he was invited by Professor Keith Davids to collaborate on a book all about the constraints led approach in swimming.
If you go onto Andrew's website you will see the following passage...
"It is extremely challenging to help swimmers to develop the skills to win races...
It's overwhelming to try to teach skills to every athlete, particlulalry when it seems like no on is listening...
And everything that's learned seems to disappear when it's time to start training, or when it really counts in the championship races that matter...
The solution isn't to get better at what you are doing...
You don't need new drills, you don't need new cues, you don't need an expensive new video system...
You need a different approach!"
I couldn't agree more!!
This is a fascinating conversation from a genuine coaching pioneer and innovator...a coaching outlier!
A parents guide to navigating the murky world of talent pathways - a conversation with Paul Gamble
Dr Paul Gamble is the founder of 'Informed Practitioner in Sport' a platform dedicated to supporting talent developers with high quality information that help them to design better environments for young people to explore the limits of their potential (he's my kind of specialist!).
Paul joined me to talk about his latest book 'Sports Parenting: Negotiating the challenges of the youth sports journey to help kids thrive'.
'Sports Parenting' takes a deep dive to explore how parents can best support young performers, whether they aspire to reach the highest level or simply wish to enjoy the positive social, developmental and life-long health aspects.
The book aims to provide readers with the knowledge to discern the best ways to support kids to negotiate the various challenges they face in their youth sports participation. Beyond supporting the aspiring high performer, an over-arching theme is how we can help kids to stay on the path and prevent them falling through the cracks along the way.
This is a great conversation that I found super inteesting. I hope you do too.
"From conventional to innovative: A teacher’s perspective on student-centered learning in sport" - a conversation with Christian Gompert
This episode features Christian Gompert an English Teacher and soccer coach from New Hampshire who is a long standing member of the Talent Equation 'Conclave' learning community.
It is recorded in my car as Christian and I were driving from one venue to the next as he was on the UK filming a documentary on the constraints led approach for a study he was conducting for his school.
The episode covers:
The constraints and opportunities in teaching and coaching, emphasizing the importance of achieving results for students while also fostering growth as a practitioner and learner.
Traditional expectations often mask the role of social and emotional learning in the educational process.
The ethical implications of different teaching methods and emphasizes the importance of a humane learning environment driven by intrinsic motivation.
Alternative approaches to learning are explored, highlighting the importance of creating enjoyable and engaging environments for both the teacher and the student.
We discuss strategies to motivate passive learners and the concept of incorporating student choice and voice into the classroom setting.
I hope you enjoy.
'The Champion Teammate' - a conversation with John O'Sullivan
In today's competitive world, teamwork and leadership skills are essential for success in sports and life. In this episode, I speak with John O'Sullivan, co-author of "The Champion Team: Eight Timeless Lessons to Connect, Compete and Lead in Sports and Life," to explore the power of selflessness in sports and society, and how being outwardly focused can lead to greater individual and team success.
One of the key factors in creating a champion team is to be selfless. It's about being outwardly focused and giving selflessly as a way to be successful, both in sport and in life. Popular culture often promotes a "get what's mine" mentality, and coaches and mentors can challenge this by teaching players to give of themselves in order to benefit the team. Individual greatness can be amplified when individuals learn to look out for their teammates first.
Visualization and mindfulness are essential tools to optimize performance and prepare for high-stakes situations. By visualizing their performances before they happen and practicing mindfulness and meditation, athletes can improve their focus and concentration. Teams can also use adversity as an opportunity to grow and develop.
Team habits, both positive and negative, have a significant impact on a team's success. Individuals can design their environment to discourage bad habits and encourage positive team habits, such as being focused and organized. Leadership plays a crucial role in creating a successful team environment. Leaders must lead by example and demonstrate the behaviors they wish to see in their team.
A powerful concept discussed in the podcast is "petting the dragons," which refers to addressing team conflicts and issues while they're still small. This can be applied to locker rooms and teams, ensuring that minor issues don't escalate into major problems. Addressing team issues openly and honestly is essential for creating a positive and successful environment.
In conclusion, mastering teamwork and developing a champion mindset is crucial for success in sports and life. By focusing on selflessness, visualization, mindfulness, and strong team habits, individuals and teams can transform their dynamic for the better. By embracing these strategies, you can elevate your teamwork skills, create a positive and successful environment, and become a true champion in sports and life.
Not only is this approach more fun for the kids, it’s way more fun for the coach!
Stuart has great guests and does an amazing job of breaking down the ecological dynamics approach so that non academics, which most of us coaches are, in a way we can understand and even more importantly, utilize in our practice design. Coming from the ice hockey world, which can be very rooted in tradition, these podcasts help me support what I am doing, make it so I can explain to parents why I am doing it and help me be creative in creating environments for learning. As a coach developer for USA Hockey, these are the concepts we are presenting to our coaches and there isn’t a clinic that I present that I don’t pull ideas or phrases from these episodes to help our coaches understand and use these concepts. As Stuart has said “once you see it, you can’t unsee it”
Great info for sports coaches, athletes and parents
If you are a coach who wants to get better, an athelete who wants to do the same or a parent who wants to help their child then this is the Podcast to listen too.
So many amazing guests across different sports and different fields esp. psychology.
"Ditch those drills!"
Great podcast of course but maybe let the listeners know you’re going to break for a sponsor instead of just cutting off mid sentence to run an ad?