“The effect of this first phase of learning seemed to be to get the learner involved, captivated, hooked, and to get the learner to need and want more information and expertise.” – Dr. Benjamin Bloom (p.175)

Chapter 8 Takeaways:

  • Master Coaches – Systematic, Meticulous, and Inspiring
  • John Wooden’s 2,326 Discrete Acts of Teaching

We are in the final element – Master Coaching – of The Talent Code. As a refresher, we started with deep practice that focuses on the participants (athletes) targeting mistakes to meticulously improve building myelin for skill-development. From ‘Deep Practice’ was the ‘Ignition,’ which fuels the fire in the athlete to embrace the process of improvement. Finally, and rightfully placed, lastly ‘Master Coaches’ that find the best approaches to limit impeding progress by allowing for deep practice, while inspiring how rewarding it is to find their way through mistakes.

There were a variety of coaches referenced in this chapter, from bank robbers to basement-dwelling piano teachers, and of course, the legendary John Wooden. From all of these considered experts in their field less time was spent acknowledging their acumen rather than their precision.

The John Wooden Discrete Acts of Teaching

Two educational psychologists (Ron Gallimore & Roland Tharp) were looking to identify teaching methods to improve reading comprehension in low-performing neighborhoods in Hawaii. Originally from Los Angeles, they were given access from Coach John Wooden – former English teacher himself – to observe practices throughout the year.

From their observations, Gallimore and Tharp “recorded and coded 2,326 discrete acts of teaching.” What was impressive is the percentages reflecting the feedback offered during those acts of teaching:

  • 6.9% Compliments
  • 6.6% Expressions of Displeasure
  • 75% Pure Information

The first impression would indicate that Wooden loved to hear himself talk. Gallimore and Tharp wrote,

“Demonstrations rarely take longer than three seconds, but are of scuh clarity that they leave an image in memory such like a textbook sketch.”

If we can fill-up practices rich with concrete content without disrupting athletes’ natural tendencies to learn on their own; coaches are likely to create optimal environments for improvement. This chapter looks to encapsulate how talent is best derived from coaching – targeting deep practices and igniting athletes with the right balance of love and motivation to flourish.

Coaching Application

Between the three concepts: System Installation – Teaching Deep Practice – Ignition

Where do you feel are your strengths and how do you balance/compensate for the areas where you are still improving?

[I’ll Just Leave This Here]



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