Another letter from the DOC – October 2009
Ok, I admit it. I am a newspaperoholic. What is better than a fresh daily, a hot cup of coffee and some quiet time? I know I share this passion for the latest information, the best analysis and the most informative articles with a dear friend of mine. It really does not matter what paper it is, even though I do confess that a bit of time with the old home town paper, Gefle Dagblad, is something to deeply treasure. It can be almost as exciting though to pick up a New York Times at an airport an early morning. I think it is the world that does it. That world outside my own little bubble that I can understand and relate to, the one where all these things happen, that need writing about.
This week an article in the International Herald Tribune catches my attention. It is about a new selling technique in Asia. Apparently it is called – talking! The article explains how various companies in Asia have discovered that a direct approach to clients costs less and yields more than the normal billboard type of marketing. Hence the waitress at a seafood restaurant in Taipei not only brings the beer to the table, she also talks about both its origin (Denmark) and its flavour (probably the best lager…). One of the interviewed company directors says, ‘An Asian speciality is that personal relations are more emphasised. In the west they think the internet can solve all kinds of problems’.
So what has this got to do with what you are doing? My wife is a teacher. She has had an incredibly busy autumn. When asked about what takes up most of her time her reply was – ‘filing reports on the students’. In a different paper I just read about some research carried out in schools on where the best results occur (test scores and grades). Not very surprisingly they occur in the schools where the teachers get to spend the most time with the students. Not where they write the most extensive reports. This research also showed that in schools where more money had been put into the system lately, the results had not improved. Guess where the money had gone to?
What has this got to do with sports? There is a tendency, also in sports, to, just because it is now possible in a different way than pen and paper, document and file what we are doing in perhaps a bit of an inefficient way. We are drowned under various ways to use the internet, with software more advanced than any NASA development, all said to be purposely built. The problem though is that if the coach (or the teacher) is not fully up to speed with what wonders this can do in his or her teaching – it will never be anything other than a time consuming element that drags him or her away from what should be at the forefront – the contact with the athlete or the student. Rightly used and fit for purpose though this system could be a fantastic way to increase the contact between the athlete/student and the coach/teacher. After all in golf, a player probably spends 90% of the time without the coach. It still takes time, as these contacts are just as demanding as a face to face intervention. That is the whole idea of it. What is difficult to understand though is why this would be needed in school where a teacher sees the students every day…
“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.”
– Leonardo da Vinci