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University of California, Berkeley

BERKELEY, CA – Owen Monroy, Assistant Coach to the Cal Women’s Beach Volleyball team, contacted The Art of Learning Project after several years of experimenting with, adapting, and applying the learning concepts in his coaching. “The Art of Learning closely resonated with my instincts as a learner, and Josh’s experience and credibility increased my courage to re-imagine much of my coaching process,” Monroy says. After years coaching at the collegiate level (University of Illinois, Penn State, Saint Mary’s College of CA, Westminster College), Monroy returned to California with the hope of developing a better framework for skill acquisition and performance focused on beach volleyball, the fastest growing sport in the NCAA.
At Cal Berkeley, Monroy is engaging the team in a series of presentations and discussions, laying the groundwork for a culture and methodology which aims at feel-based learning, a mechanism for what they refer to as “dynamic response.” It is an incremental learning process, which pulls from concepts such as Form to Leave Form and The Soft Zone. “We try to limit rigid ideas around performance. Form, or technically explicit cues are not the norm here. We are focused on preparing well and allowing the body to shape movements in response to situational demands. The thing is,” Monroy points out, “encouraging athletes to color outside the lines of technique is counter-intuitive and often feels risky, yet our athletes are adapting to this approach incredibly well. Our ability to stay loose and produce dynamic results in chaos is taking off.”
With the support of the JWF, Monroy is developing a community of coaches, educators, and learners to discuss The Art of Learning principles and their role in athletics and education. If you are interested in joining the conversation, contact Coach Monroy.

National Soccer Coaches Association of America

KANSAS CITY, KS. The NSCAA is the largest coaches’ organization in the United States with more than 26,000 members who coach both genders at all levels of the sport. The Art of Learning was reviewed in the fall issue of Soccer Journal, the official publication of the NSCAA, which is sent to their entire member base. The article mentioned the URL of our site, enabling readers to order copies of the book.

Bud Lewis, a men’s soccer coach and a director of wellness programs at Wilmington College in Ohio, read about the book in NSCAA Soccer Journal and is now studying The Art of Learning with the intention of using its concepts to further teaching and training skills for on and off the field player development. Eric Ritter, Director of Girl’s Coaching at the North Atlanta Soccer Association (a 4,000-member organization of three- to 19-year-old players), read about the book in Soccer Journal and is now using it to expand his girls coaching staff’s understanding of the mental process as it relates to the sport. Over a year’s time, Ritter intends to extend the program to the boys coaching staff and to the recreational staff.

Public School Athletic League

LONG ISLAND CITY, NY. PSAL is the longest running scholastic athletic program in the country. Their five coordinators orchestrate interscholastic competition in 21 sports for 40,000 student athletes attending 200 different New York City Public High Schools. To raise awareness of the book, we donated 50 copies to the PSAL Wingate Award dinner, which honored New York City Public High School seniors for outstanding athletic achievements.

The JW Foundation is now collaborating with one of the organization’s five coordinators to both identify and support coaches interested in applying The Art of Learning principles to their athletic programs.

Agoura High School IB Program

AGOURA HILLS, CA. Andrew Staiano is using The Art of Learning as a teaching tool in his Theory of Knowledge class and sharing it with the Agoura High School soccer team. Andrew says: “I would like to use these books with my soccer players in order to help explain the art of the endgame, the concepts of numbers to leave numbers, and entering the soft zone to help them not only become better players but also to make that ‘journey back to childhood’ where the love of the game is first and foremost.”

Bergen County Special Services

ROCKLEIGH, NJ. The Behavioral Skills Continuum is designed for students with emotional and/or learning disabilities who require ongoing educational and supportive counseling to develop positive social and emotional interactions and, ultimately, gain the ability to self-monitor personal growth and development.

Educator Raymond Zebro is heading up an initiative for sharing The Art of Learning with 50 of his students as well as his fellow coaches. Says Raymond: “Many [students] lack confidence and I want to change that! I think if the kids are taught how to learn and gain confidence, we win–and that’s my goal.”

Groton-Dunstable Alliance for Youth (GDAY)

GROTON, MA. This organization’s mission is to reinforce healthy and respectful behavior among children, teens and communities. Says Alice Anne Barbo, its former president:

“The Groton-Dunstable Alliance for Youth (GDAY) used the books donated by the JW Foundation as a part of our Parent-to-Parent Network book discussion series.  We provided copies to the libraries in our towns and each school in the district, and also distributed them at GDAY events leading up to our book discussion. We encouraged families to view Searching for Bobby Fischer as a gateway to familiarize people with Josh Waitzkin and plant the seeds about the Art of Learning.  Many staff members at the Groton-Dunstable Middle and High Schools used this movie as well to encourage student/parent/guardian discussion about balance, fair play, and family values.

After the book discussion, GDAY continued to provide the books to local organizations that support youth development in our communities. The Groton-Dunstable SPED-Pac (Special Education Parent Advisory Group), GD-STEM (Groton Dunstable Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education foundation), the GD Athletic Boosters, and GDAY all have copies available to loan to community members including and not limited to parents, teachers and coaches. Copies of the book and a list of discussion points used in our Parent-to-Parent Network event were given to each area principal for use by school staffs.”

Alice reports that those who read the book through the book discussion and movie presentation programs learned valuable lessons and, more often than not, passed the book along to others. GDAY continues to showcase the book at their events, back to school nights, and other community outreach opportunities. “It is often said that things happen for a reason. I am pleased that networking with The JW Foundation happened to GDAY,” says Alice.