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.
"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.
"The house always wins" - a conversation with Andy Hailey
In this episode I chat with Andy Hailey, Director of Swimming at Brighton College, about his unique coaching philosophy and innovative training techniques. In this episode, we dive into the world of ecological dynamics, constraint-led approaches, and the benefits of implicit learning in swimming. Andy shares how his journey, from a PE teacher to an aquatics professional, has been shaped by key mentors like Rick Shuttelworth, and Andy Kirkland, who have helped him challenge traditional beliefs and techniques in swim coaching.
Andy's journey has been shaped by key moments in his career, such as when Andrew Kirkland challenged him to explain how he individualises his coaching. Andy has learnt to challenge his own beliefs, and how energy systems and skillful swimming techniques can be used to help younger athletes reach their full potential.
We discuss the challenge of energy-based sports and how Andy, has been an outlier in the aquatics world. We talk about the importance of intention in coaching, and how constraints can help with skillful swimming. We also look at how the LTAD model can contribute to burnout, and how governing bodies are increasingly looking to an aquatics-focused rather than swimming-focused approach.
We explore the concept of a reductionist approach to getting a strong kick. Changing the focus can help keep motivation up, as well as the idea of using heart rate and time to help swimmers find their cruiseing speed and learn to listen to their heart. We also discuss a golf set, and how the constraints of stroke rate and time can help athletes maximize propulsion from each stroke.
We discuss the concept of co-design in swimming and how it can be used to give swimmers more freedom and control over their training. We explore the challenge of introducing swimmers to a new culture and setting, and how this can require more individualization. We consider the benefits of structure and order for some swimmers, and how this can be balanced with the need for expression in team sports.
"Real talent is harder to hide than it is to find" - a conversation with Wayne Goldsmith
Wayne Goldsmith's journey began with packing boxes and evolved into a successful career in coaching and talent development. A chance encounter and someone's belief in Wayne's potential led him to pursue a career in sports science.
Wayne has worked with organizations like Swimming Australia, Triathlon Australia, and the Wallabies.
He conducted research on the post-host phenomenon surrounding the Olympics and the factors that influenced some countries to thrive while others struggled after hosting the games.
Wayne emphasizes the importance of looking beyond our own sports for inspiration, such as the All Blacks coaching team seeking guidance from the New York Ballet.
The role of parents in helping their children become the best they can be is crucial, and Wayne discusses the importance of creating a safe environment for kids to fall in love with their sport.Dyslexia and ADHD can present unique strengths and weaknesses, and Wayne shares his own experiences with these conditions.Misinterpretation and implementation of long-term athlete development (LTAD) may not always serve the best interests of children, and Wayne explores the challenges and misconceptions surrounding LTAD.
The declining participation in organized competitive sports highlights the need for creating positive, safe, and engaging experiences for kids and their families.
Wayne's insights and perspectives on youth sports, parenting, and LTAD provide valuable lessons for coaches, parents, and athletes alike.
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?