There is Genius in Passion - Reflections on developing competence and self-belief through human movement, is Ad Rem Publications first project
Gordon Paterson reflects on the life experiences that led him to the threshold of his doctorate that focused on youth sport coaching strategies conducive to strengthening the self-esteem of school sport participants. His story covers the: impact of his teacher-coach parents; influence of school teachers and coaches including a year in New Zealand as an exchange scholar; university Physical Education lecturers and the many coaches and sports teams encountered; fourteen years teaching and coaching at Michaelhouse, an independent boys’ school in the Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Gordon’s enquiring mind and passion for educating adolescent boys through human movement experiences derived from play, results in a fascinating account of his evolving philosophy and practice to develop competence and self-belief in those he taught and coached.
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As a professional cricket coach at a leading College here in Auckland I found this work has stimulated me in many ways, but two aspects stand out for me;
1. That it serves as an affirmation on certain aspects of my coaching style and philosophy and that I am still on course with my delivery style BUT;
2. The work has also stimulated me to continue to investigate further how to improve and work on being a better coach each day, with an emphasis on the human interaction side of coaching. This is an area that we all need to develop and improve to ensure that the message we give is more about developing the person as a whole as opposed to purely the technical cricketer. I believe it is important as a coach to leave our “Ego” at the door.
To sum up Gordon’s work, he wrote very succinctly the following:
“Pride lay first and foremost in the HUMAN VALUES that were lived out both on and off the field.”
- Gordon’s journey as a coach and how his philosophy of coaching evolved is, in my opinion, a must read for all those involved in the coaching of sport with particular emphasis on youth coaching.
- I would go so far as to say that every school should use the book as a reference to assist in the coaching process.
Roy Goodyear, 1st XI Cricket Coach and Player Development, Kings College, Auckland
13 October 2014
This is a challenging book and I find it a challenge to review. I must declare that I describe myself as non-religious so a significant component of the book is not part of my thinking or world view. Gordon has written essentially a memoir which will be inspirational for readers in institutions similar to the one Gordon taught in for many years. In particular, the boys he coached will enjoy Gordon’s observations. He has also written about his own growth and understanding of the teaching coaching field. This provides an insight into how his thinking changed over time.
The book is remarkable for the careful and explicit documentation of Gordon’s development as a teacher/coach. He demonstrates a truly elephantine memory for detail of players, matches and events, across his teaching/coaching career. The development of his philosophy is a strong feature of this book. He is fearless in describing doubts and hesitations and events leading to success and sometimes failure and he continues to learn from both the ups and downs of competitive sport.
For past students and staff of Michaelhouse the book will be a valuable window into sustained teaching and quality performance. It should be readily available to staff at the school for enlightenment and personal education. In this respect, the book should have ready acceptance in South Africa. It will be of interest to physical educators who will compare their own growth and development with Gordon’s.
I found it somewhat repetitive in the description of matches and would have liked Gordon to move from his observations, more quickly into physical education theory and to link more with international developments and international theorists. Mosston and Siedentop are mentioned but I thirsted for more. I wished the diagram on page 327 had been explained and integrated into the theoretical discussion. Perhaps this will be the basis for another book? In this respect I found the bibliography surprisingly brief.
There is no doubt that Gordon’s passion comes shining through every page of this publication. He is clearly dedicated, earnest, industrious, inovative and he is obviously able to establish sincere empathy with his students.
As an aside, I found the descriptions of the initiation ceremonies chilling.
Bob Stothart M.A. Dip Tch., Fellow PENZ
Life Member PENZ
21 May 2015
I would like to start off by saying how much I enjoyed the book. Being a Michaelhouse Old boy and having the pleasure of experiencing Gordon's coaching first hand at U14 and 1st XV Rugby and 1st XI Cricket made this book especially relevant as it gave me the opportunity to reminisce about those great experiences and to be thankful for the opportunities that were made available to me. It also encouraged me to relect on sports coaching and what it is that really benefits the players and enables them to reach their potential. Whilst his book focuses mostly on Gordon's experiences coaching and teaching Secondary School boys, many of the messages are valuable for team coaches of various levels and genders. Coaching the individual, getting to know them, what and how they respond in a team environment and to difficult situations (on and off the playing field), developing good individuals are all themes which continually come through in the book. Another important theme which resonated with me was that players like to be challenged, whether it be in training or games. From my experience this is also common in many athletes from pre adolescents to adults. Gordon's coaching, his personal values and the values he instilled in us as impressionable young men have played a significant role in shaping how we are today. I thoroughly recommend this book to all coaches.
Richard Pithey- Director of Amateur Cricket
Coach -Canterbury Magicians