On the wisdom of not-knowing: reflections of an Olympic Canoe Slalom coach

MORRIS, Craig E, DAVIDS, Keith and WOODS, Carl T (2022). On the wisdom of not-knowing: reflections of an Olympic Canoe Slalom coach. Sport, Education and Society, 1-12.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1080/13573322.2022.2140135


Never has the domain of sports coaching been so inundated with secondary information. In high-performance contexts, for example, coaches are routinely presented with detailed reports specifying features about an athlete’s or team’s performance. Here, we question whether such detailed secondary information has led us to know too much, obscuring what the world has to share directly with us. To over-rely on secondary information is to narrow in on certainty, on cause-effects that are oft-espoused through de-contextualised ‘performance’ tests and metrics. This indirect approach eschews opening up to uncertainty, to ongoing inquiry embedded in primary experience. For where certainty risks closures, uncertainty opens to the possibility of carrying on with and alongside others. We explore this thesis through the reflections of an Olympic Canoe Slalom coach, meandering through three sections: (i) on paying attention; (ii) on knowing better; (iii) on guidance without specification. In presenting this thesis, we hope to encourage others – in sports coaching and beyond – to embrace an ethos of not-knowing, opening up to the ‘goings on’ of what interests them, actively attending and directly responding with genuine care and curiosity. Indeed, while embracing an ethos of not-knowing can be unsettling, vulnerably exposing oneself to changing power relations in a world perpetually on the move, it can facilitate primary experience of the surrounding ecology. The accompanying growth of responsiveness to one’s surroundings emerges from listening to what it has share, joining in conversation to find ways of carrying on. It is in this responsiveness, we contend, that a wisdom can be found; a wisdom of not-knowing.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sport Sciences; 1301 Education Systems; 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy; 1303 Specialist Studies in Education
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1080/13573322.2022.2140135
Page Range: 1-12
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2023 13:24
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2023 08:17
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/31246

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