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  • Writer's pictureCreative PhysEd


My latest read.

Recommended to all those who are teaching invasion games with dribbling of any kind. The ideas in the book is largely not new to me since I have been designing my practice sessions largely based on the same theory over the last 3 years. I spend hours and hours refining my approach to environment design. If you are familiar with the constraints led approach, you would have heard of the 4 environment design principles. But for those of us who are new to ecological dynamics and don't know what this theory means in practice, this book could be a good start. Below is an excerpt from the book....

Light reflects off an object, the reflection of light plus the rate of change provides us with real-time information. If a person throws a baseball at your head, the ball will reflect light, as the ball gets closer, the reflection of light from the ball becomes bigger (rate of change). The information from the reflection of light will tell the person the speed and direction of the ball that is propelled towards their head. This formula works when the object is moving and the performer is stationary, when the object is stationary and the performer is moving, and for all the combinations of performer and object movements. The person who had the baseball thrown at their head, will automatically couple their physical actions in real-time to the information from the reflection of light. Ultimately, the person will move their head, coupling their physical actions to the current information from the reflection of light and its rate of change. People do not need to be trained to move their head out of the way from the baseball, this is purely the interaction between the human and the environment. This can all be proven by mathematics using the theory of “Tau” formulated by David Lee. The environment itself is information rich, it holds all the information the athlete needs, if they are attuned to the right areas.

The next part of theory of ecological dynamics relates to the decision-making process. Ecological dynamics tells us that players are not making decisions based upon the retrieval of past memories, or by saying if A + B then the player executes action C. The game is so fast that players need to change their intentions for action many times in a fraction of a second. When Xavi is dribbling trying to penetrate the defense, his intentions for action are always changing, as invitations for actions are opening and closing at ultra-fast speeds.

Ecological dynamics views decision making as a real-time feedback-loop between the environment and the athlete. Information from the environment specifies invitations for action, which are called affordances. These invitations or opportunities for action are athlete-specific and emerge and decay quickly in the game. Let me give you some examples to illustrate the point more clearly. A player that can do a bicycle kick may look at a crossed ball as a chance to perform a bicycle kick. But a player who has never done a bicycle kick will look at the same crossed ball, and not see that opportunity for action, because they don’t have that skill or affordance. This is the difference between player affordances, perceived affordances, and opportunities for action. A slow player will not see the same opportunities for action compared to a faster player when dribbling the ball.


side note. Do join me on 20th May for an online webinar to find out more! Sign up by fill up the form at . See you there!

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