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Personal Development - The Game Within and Around Us

A look at the role of personal development within football, and it's direct implications on the skills within the game.
by

Connor Natella

on 10 August 2013

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Transcript of Personal Development - The Game Within and Around Us

"Top athletes are born with better reflexes, which gives them more time to react to stimuli."
The Game Within and Around Us.
Personal Development
Nature vs Nurture + Imagined Ideas
Developing the idea of Development..
Skill Acquisition
The Genetic Code
The case for nature over nurture.
Imagined Ideas
The process of creativity.
To many people, development means getting better at something.. Improving..
When we look closer, personal development is far more profound..
It is concerned with understanding more about the world around us, and about us as individuals.
It is not simply making sense of things, but rather finding the value of them..
World Around Us.
"The world of other people, events, circumstances."
We are told we must be influenced by this world, and in turn influence it ourselves.
World Within Us.
"The world of ourselves, our own thoughts and decisions, our own perceptions."
Before we can hope to influence the world around us, we must first understand and value the world within us.
The Game Around/Within Us.
Young players faced with the game are no different.
Before they can have a meaningful impact on the game around them, developing the game within them (personal development), is key.
Sir Ken Robinson on the subtle difference between personal development and social development.
The Innate Reaction Myth
When tested, the average spectator had the same reaction time as professional tennis players (200ms)
This is literally the time it takes for the human eye to receive and relay information to the muscles.
In the realm of 140mph tennis serves, that's far too slow.
It takes 400ms for that ball to reach the baseline.
It takes half that time to physically react, so the receiver has to decide where to move and what shot to play, before the ball is even halfway to the net.
It's almost a scientific impossibility that the ball can be returned at all.
As tests of our physical capabilities, for example; reaction time, offer us so little in explaining what makes athletes elite, we must look elsewhere..
This is where the modern sports 'occlusion' tests are important.
The test, was simple..
You are presented with an image for a split second.
This image is of a random game situation.
Your task is to determine whether or not the ball was in the picture or had just left the picture.
You must then try to accurately recreate the positions of others on the field.
What becomes clear is that elite athletes are not distinguished due to their reaction time, but rather their ability to perceive and process information quickly.
This can only be achieved through building up accumulated hours of practice, leading to the 10,000 hours of deliberate practice rule.
Perceptual expertise is far more important than raw reaction skills.
The results are astounding. Unlike the reaction tests, the difference between elite athletes and complete novices are plain to see.
It seems the better the player, the faster they can interpret and respond to the situation in front of them.
World class players can accurately assess the situation when it is in view for only 16 thousandths of a second.
The athlete has a 'playbook' of game situations in his mind, which he has experienced during thousands of hours of practice.
This experience allows him to be comfortable in the game 'within' himself, to understand the value of his role, and his technical abilities/limitations.
The hours of practice, which may seem like innate talent, allow him to make better decisions, faster.
The case for nurture over nature.
It is clear that much of who we are is passed down to us in our genetics.
Our biological make up decides things like skin color, height, somatotype etc
Research has shown that even our behavioural charachteristics may be influenced by our DNA.
We have a natural aptitude for some things, rather than others.
This embodies itself in our passions, and our innate talents.
However, these talents can lie untouched if they are not realised.
"Talent is worth nothing without the process of hard work to back it up."
Every action in a football match is backed by a process, which leads to a decision.
The decision/action/outcome is directly concerned with influencing the game around us,
The process, and, more importantly, the understanding of the value of the process, must be mastered first. (Game Within Us)
When Johan Cruyff performed his famous turn in 1974, he was acting in a moment of sheer creativity.
His action was based on an understanding of the value of the creative process.
He understood what he could do and applied that to achieve the desired result.
Mastery of the Game Within + High Technical Skill = High Quality Influence on the Game Around Us.
The Application..
Children must be allowed to connect with their innate talents, by mastering the game within them.
Only then can they feel comfortable in their own abilities to influence the game around them.
By experiencing real game situations time and time again, we build a mental 'playbook' which allows us to respond faster and make better decisions.
All of which is useless, unless the player understands the creative process behind the skills, as well as possessing the, practiced, technical ability required to employ them.
The best innovators in the game, understand the processes behind it.
The most skilled players, have learned to emulate through hours of
practice and hard work.

The best footballers, those who push the game forwards, have accomplished both.
Prezi by Connor Natella
@CNatellaAFCB
afcbcst.co.uk
Full transcript