Learning at the Olympics

I have been watching the Olympics on the excerable Channel 7 in Australia. See some of the complaints here. So jingoistic is it, that if the heat does not include an Australian, the channel cuts to an Ad break (of which there are many) so you never find out who was in the heat as only the first three are registered on the screen as the event finishes.

But what are the lessons about learning?  I have noticed a few things:

  • You might not get it right first time.  Even at Olympic standard, small errors are corrected in situ and minor improvements are made continuously.  Coaches take prodigious notes or shout instructions from the side-lines. And the athletes listen and act.
  • Praise constantly.  Team sports are a mass of congratulation and little recrimination.
  • Each outing is a new challenge and needs separate and unique preparation.  There is no such thing as a standard response.
  • The best performers are focused totally on the job at hand.  Phelps comes out to a race with his iPod on, looking like he is in another world, staring intently at nothing in particular, and totally calm.
  • They all readily acknowledge the hard work that has gone before, and the huge support they received. 
  • Noone takes anything for granted.  It is all in the details.
  • However good an individual is, he or she keeps and eye on the competition.  In the race itself they all appear acutely aware of the environment.
  • They learn from each other.

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