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St. Mary’s Junior Football Club

img_9219GREENSBOROUGH, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA – Leon Harvey coaches the 7-9 year old “Tackers” group in this Australian junior football league. As a coach, he is not only interested in teaching his athletes how to improve their football skills, but to use their love for the game as a platform to teach skills that will improve their lives overall. “I want the kids to get the most out of this possible,” Harvey explains. “I see football as a ‘gateway drug’ to learning and self-development. With Josh’s material I have taken advantage of the learning opportunities in sport that can apply to all parts of their lives”
For many of the children on Harvey’s team, football is much more than an extra-curricular activity. “For some, their hopes and dreams are based on their ability to perform and win, potentially creating unrealistic self-expectations,” he explains. “Some kids are quiet and reserved and suffer low self-esteem. Some are kinesthetic learners or challenged by learning difficulties, where traditional classroom teaching doesn’t work, and some are going through a rough time at home. Football is their passion and outlet, and so being a coach presents a huge opportunity to do so much more than just teach sporting skills. I use The Art of Learning as a framework that supports me to tackle these issues to build resiliency in our kids.”
“Competitive sports, like football, are a great platform for coaches to translate Josh’s material. I go back to the resources regularly to help me see the learning opportunities that present themselves on the field. There are many ways to turn experiences in the field into positive lifelong lessons using Josh’s themes: I use game defeats to teach about Investment in Loss, bad referee decisions to describe The Downward Spiral, quarter time break to practice Listening First, and the simple act of kicking a ball to teach The Power of Presence.”
In addition to exploring the learning principles with his athletes, Harvey believes it’s important to share the concepts with their parents in order to reinforce the learning at home. He sends an email to each child’s parents after every game in order to re-frame the events of the game within the context of The Art of Learning principles and highlight the learning opportunities they presented to the kids.
“I wish I had access to The Art of Learning when I was competing as a kid. I want the kids to see even when the stakes are high and the pressure is on that it’s okay to lose. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s all part of the journey of learning, trying, failing, and succeeding. I hope that my team can learn more about footy and themselves by the end of the season. Game after game the patterns will start to emerge. Even if they don’t ultimately go on to enjoy a football career, the lessons can apply in all parts of their lives.”

Lakeside School

Seattle, WA – Lakeside School is an independent school serving 800 students in grades 5 through 12.  Derrek Falor, the Girls Soccer Program Head, previously worked with The Art of Learning Project in his position as the women’s soccer coach at Cleveland State University in Ohio.
Coach Falor gave his Varsity Soccer team at Lakeside an assignment to read The Art of Learning over the summer and explore the correlation between Josh’s experiences with chess and Thai Chi and their own experiences with soccer.  This assignment provided his athletes with the opportunity to develop an understanding of their relationship to the learning principles and gave Coach Falor a window into their own perceptions of their strengths and challenges on the soccer field.  He has shared a collection of student responses to chapters 4-6, chapters 7-8, and chapters 9-11 on our Resources for Educators page.
In response to the challenges that arose on the playing field as well as the ideas that came up in the student responses, Coach Falor developed a season-long, holistic program focused on examining how the players handled moments of transition throughout their days and developing strategies for working on Stress and Recovery in all aspects of their academic and athletic lives.  In future seasons he plans to work on The Power of Presence and The Downward Spiral to help his athletes remain in the moment rather than focusing on what just happened or what will happen next.  He is also hoping to expand the program to include Program Heads from a range of athletic departments in the school so that the students will encounter these learning principles across the various sports they play throughout the year.

Oberlin College

OBERLIN, OH: Costantine Ananiadis is a former D-I tennis athlete, tennis coach, martial artist, and chess player and coach. He has used The Art of Learning concepts in his teaching and his own competition. At his suggestion The Art of Learning was the topic of conversation for the book club in the athletics dept at Oberlin College. He also has all his tennis players read it.

Coach Ananiadis says, “I use Josh’s principles daily in my practice plans for my team and in my long-term mapping for our team’s improvement and skill development as well. It works wonderfully for both. As a former high level tennis player, and as I currently strive to reach master level in my “chess career”, I find that these principles are very practical and therefore easily incorporated into anyone’s developmental plan. I find myself re-reading the book over & over and learning/discovering new things (or rather understanding it at a deeper level) each time.”

Gregorio Luperon High School

NEW YORK, NY-The mission of the Gregorio Luperon High School is to prepare a community of children with the tools to become productive members of society. The HS motivates the students to be the best they can be. School Guidance Counselor and baseball coach, Ricaulte Pena, will use The Art of Learning books with the baseball team and in group counseling sessions (two groups with 8-12 kids) to encourage better decision making skills and alternative teaching methods.  Pena is sharing the book with the school’s principal and assistant principle in an effort to integrate its worthy teaching methods into the broader curricula.

The Taft School

WATERTOWN, CT. Ginger O’Shea is a teacher of psychology as well as a volleyball coach at The Taft School and is using the book with 30 students and athletes. “By offering [methods for] introspection and self-awareness I can help my students learn more about who they are and where they are going in life to be a difference maker… My classroom extends out onto the playing fields and into the dorms. High school students are looking for something like this.”

Mount Vernon High School

MOUNT VERNON, NY – Patrice Wallace-Moore, a former basketball star at MVHS in New York, and the present team coach, has given 15 books to her players and volunteer facilitators. The facilitators will use The Art of Learning with the students both on and off the court to help them with their athletic performance as well as their reading and writing skills.