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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.”

Hamilton Middle School

HAMILTON, MI. Ted Malefyt, read about Josh Waitzkin and The Art of Learning in an article that appeared in the NSCAA Soccer Journal, and was inspired to study its principles.  This Girls’ Varsity Soccer Coach and science teacher is now sharing The Art of Learning with fellow teachers, coaches and administrators who will convey the insights they’ve garnered to students to help them pave an individual path to success in the classroom and on the playing field.

North Atlanta Soccer Association

WOODSTOCK, GA. This soccer club shares The Art of Learning perspective that “what happens along the journey is more important than medals or titles” and aims to provide valuable life experiences for the players while striving to improve their skills. Eric Ritter, the Director of Coaching of the girls’ program for 13-19-year-olds, is using The Art of Learning to educate the 14 members of his coaching staff about the mental side of the game. He is working with the book’s principles to integrate a reflection piece into the coaching lesson plan. Eric intends to start with the girls’ program, then roll out core instruction for the boys’ and recreational staff of this 4,000-member organization.

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.”