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Dislocated Expectations - Lewis Craig

Dislocated Expectations using military training ideas to develop interventions that challenge the application and thinking of athletes - Lewis Craig

Before starting I must state that I can’t take the credit for developing this idea or method of coaching, if that’s what we would like to call it. But as any coach would do, I have been a thief and stolen an idea from another, more experienced and more knowledgeable coach and added it to my growing toolbox. I was on a course around four or five years ago now and was lucky enough to be coupled up with Brian Ashton. In my eyes, and a lot of people’s eyes, a legend in the field of coaching. However, I quickly realised that he was just a great person, and a great personality with a wealth of experience in his field who just loved talking about coaching. And when I say coaching, 99% of the time was usually spent discussing how to develop each individual as a person, but is that coaching?

We were talking about how to develop resilience, leadership skills and how to ‘keep going’ in individuals within a team setting and he started to talk about ‘dislocated expectations’ - so at this point and sat back and listened.

“The marines and the military use this as a part of their training”

“They prepare participants for a particular mission or a particular task and give them the appropriate training over a period of time”

“Then they send them out to complete the mission”

“…but, when they get there, everything has changed. Everything is different”

“That is where the real mission begins”

“Who can adapt? And who can’t?

As he was describing this, I was immediately thinking of how to adapt session and games in my coaching practice in order to get these outcomes.

“This serves as a warning to recruits, that if things are currently going smoothly, it may be because the training term have made it so. Lulling the recruits into a false sense of security, and putting them into some harsher circumstances in order to provide stress and difficulties to their training…”

We started to take past sessions and re-write them in a different way to try and get these outcomes. He told tales of how he would ‘disrupt’ the flow of training in order to get these psychological and social returns. Also, you must adapt your style as a coach and be more reserved and allow for things to happen. Too often we want to ‘help’ and sort out the problems for the players. Have we got the correct level of discipline and belief in our own process to allow the outcomes to take their own path and just see what happens…

“It can be stressful, not knowing what will happen next, because we are not in control. Yet worrying about what we cannot affect is no use. Especially when there is something we can do to mitigate the uncertainty - two things in fact. One is attitudinal: to expect the unexpected. The other is behavioural: to enhance our skills, so we are better prepared for recovery when things go wrong…”

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