eta week September 4

Status quo, you know, is Latin for ‘the mess we’re in’.”
Ronald Reagan

Research and Development

We are continually striving to improve our courses to ensure that they are relevant and that the content, as well as the teaching and learning process, is world class. In addition, we want to develop new courses that meet current needs and anticipate new needs.

Thus far in terms of teaching and learning we have invested in a mixed mode with integrated technology. As far as new courses go, we have a Lifestyle coach course, a sport and recreation management degree for next year and an exercise degree follows. For the degrees you can use your exiting qualification to access the programme with the additional benefit of discounts and credit transfers.

What do you think? How can we improve our existing courses and methods of delivery? What new ones do you suggest?

Recommended reading

Surviving to Thriving – Mental Toughness (Steve Harris)

Chapter 1. WHY SURVIVING TO THRIVING? (Continued from last week)

Do not stand out for the wrong reasons

You may recall Euro 2016 when many English football spectators stood out because they behaved shamefully. The English team also performed dreadfully on the field. These are the wrong reasons to stand out. They went on to lose against the minnows – Iceland. You might also be critical of the way the English rugby team crumbled in the final of Rugby World Cup 2019 after being the most impressive team in the tournament.

Stand out for the right reasons

England produced a remarkably good performance at the 2018 FIFA World Cup by getting to the semi-finals. They performed superbly at, and won, the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

In recent Olympic Games many English athletes have produced outstanding performances.  Did the English selectors suddenly unearth better performers? I don’t think so. I am reliably informed that their sport scientists analysed every aspect of performance to identify where their performers could capture small gains. According to Jonathan Edwards, former Team Great Britain Olympic athlete, capturing those tiny improvements became the mantra of the team management (Kelso, 2016). In other words, they squeezed marginal gains out of athletes.

Improve everything you do by 1%

I will continue with England as our example. An English team cyclist had not won the Tour De France until 2013. It was then that, newly appointed, professional cycling manager, David Brailsford, challenged his cyclists to improve everything they did by 1%.

I have no evidence to prove that his challenge is directly attributable to their subsequent wins but there is certainly a correlation. They went on to produce many winning performances. If you calculate the winning percentages of their winners – Wiggins, Froome and Thomas – it is around 0.05%. The seventh winner in this sequence was Bernal, a Columbian not an Englishman this time, but also in David Brailsford’s team.

Former Jamaican sprinter, Usain Bolt, always stood out. Whenever he competed, he was inevitably the favourite to win the 100-metre race. On closer examination, you will find that his winning times were often close to the rest of the field’s.

Sport scientist, Professor Ross Tucker, claims that the winning margin between a gold medal sprint winner and the fourth-placed competitor is usually extremely small. Tucker writes that there is a 0, 5% difference between immortality and anonymity (Tucker, Immortality and Anonymity, 2013). The difference in success status is huge. The winner receives fame and fortune, and the medal less fourth-placed competitor usually remains anonymous. The question that begs is: Can you improve everything you do by 1%?

The inches we need are everywhere

Let us call these winning margins the inches that make the difference. In the movie Any Given Sunday (1999), Al Pacino plays the role of an NFL coach. He gives an impassioned speech at half time in a crucial game about the inches that make the difference between winning and losing. He claims, “In life or football, the margin for error is so small. I mean one-half step too late or too early and you do not quite make it. One half second too slow or too fast and you do not quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They are in every break of the game, every minute, every second. On this team, we fight for that inch. On this team, we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch, because we know when we add up all those inches that’s going to make the difference between winning and losing.”

Al Pacino may be right when he claimed the inches, we need are everywhere, but can we identify them? ​We need to respect that the concept of inches cuts both ways. A small change (warming) in global temperature can transform rigid ice into flowing water with disastrous consequences to the world as we know it.

Have you identified the “inches” that stand between surviving and thriving for you?  Write to us and let us know.

Regards, 

Dr Steve Harris eta College CEO

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