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Lafayette Moraga Youth Association – Volleyball

LAFAYETTE, CA – LMYA is a non-profit organization providing year-round athletic programming for school age children. In addition to the traditional athletic experience, the girls’ volleyball program offers a unique combination of sports, staff management skill training, and technology training to their high school aged participants. The full program consists of over 500 athletes playing club recreational volleyball, 80 volunteer parent coaches, 60 fourteen to eighteen year old volleyball club girls who partner with the coaches as paid trainers, and 10 girls who are paid to run the business portion of the organization. The goal of this unique program is to provide teenage girls with an opportunity to learn to be assertive in the workforce, and to develop real life management and technology experience in order to be better prepared for fields in which women are often underrepresented.
Eric Standring, the LMYA volleyball Commissioner, believes that programs such as this one take steps toward addressing the gender inequities so prevalent in the technology industry, as well as provide the participants with an opportunity to make a return on their monetary investment in club volleyball, and deepen the family connections between trainers, players, and their parents who volunteer with the program.
In the early phase of the program, Standring is focusing on building resilience in the young trainers and office staff, as well as in the volunteer parent coaches. As a first step, they will practice Valuing Process Before Results through collaborative goal setting and the development of benchmarks on the path to those goals. Both trainers and coaches will work on cultivating a Soft Zone approach to meeting their goals with an understanding that they may need to change their focus as they progress.
“I’m blessed to have two things come together in my life right now: TAOL and Strata Data Conference Chairman, Roger Magoulas. The chance to hear how ideas on learning resonate between these two camps, is inspiring. Particular to TAOL, having the foundational learning principle off which to dialog provides stability but at the same time, direction.” Standring says.
Ultimately, Standring hopes that incorporating the learning principles into the work of the Trainers and Coaches will deepen their relationships, encourage greater engagement for all participants, and improve the overall experience of everyone involved.

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.

MP4P – Mental Practice For Performance

RICHMOND, VA – Scott Rohlwing created MP4P to address what he saw as the lack of emotional intelligence and performance psychology instruction for adolescents in both athletic and academic environments. “As a society, we’ve become so busy that tasks supersede just about everything. Many people are growing up not understanding Emotional Intelligence, relationship skills, coping skills, and mental strategies,” Rohlwing told the JWF. “I thoroughly believe that emotions are extremely important and the more we are educated on emotions, the more aware we are, and the more we can manage emotions, the better performers we will become and ultimately, better people. Embrace your emotion, acknowledge it, enhance it.”

Rohlwing is currently teaching a Mental Performance course to adults at the University of Richmond’s School of Professional and Continuing Studies. In this course his students explore the ideas of Emotional Intelligence and Performance Psychology through learning principles such as Investment in Loss, Beginner’s Mind, Using Adversity, Making Smaller Circles, Downward Spiral, Stress and Recovery, and Power of Presence.

He is further developing the MP4P program with a local volleyball club, and plans to expand to a variety of youth programs such as gymnastics, soccer, and football. Ultimately, he hopes to expand to offering elective courses in middle schools and high schools through mobile learning and online micro-lessons.

Cascade Volleyball Club

SEATTLE, WA – Cascade Volleyball is a member of USAVolleyball, a Gold Medal Squared Certified Club, and has earned the Seal of Commitment from the Positive Coaching Alliance.  Dan Urrutia is a U14 coach with the club and works with athletes with a range of experience and skill levels.  He is committed to creating a positive athletic environment for his athletes and has a history of helping his players develop resilience with a strong focus on Investing in Loss and Valuing Process Before Results.
Coach Urrutia explains that he became interested in developing a program with the JW Foundation because “The Art of Learning and the guides provide the best catalog of the different mental and emotional elements of learning that I’ve ever seen.”   Though many of the learning principles are of interest to him, he will focus on the Power of Presence and the Downward Spiral with his current athletes.  He is beginning by incorporating a regular meditative breath work routine into each practice in order to help his players develop the skill of calming the mind and focusing on the present moment.  Through this breath work, as well as visualization, stress and recovery interval training, and kinesthetic introspection the athletes will begin to develop the skills of maintaining focus in challenging situations, identifying when the quality of their presence is beginning to slip and returning to presence in order to maintain the quality of their performance.

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.”