Clyde Street

Learning, Teaching, Performing


Goal-Line Technology Update: December 2012

_48189916_lampard_nogoal640I have been keeping an eye on the goal-line technology debate in football this year.

A Wikipedia page for Goal-line technology was created in October 2008. It has been edited over 100 times in 2012 and provides an excellent overview of the topic.

Goal-line technology has been in the news over the last week.

It is in use at the 2012 FIFA Club World Cup. GoalRef  has been installed in Yokohama and Hawk-Eye at Hiroshima.

A Michel Platini press conference has attracted a lot of comment. At the conference he is quoted as saying:

It is not a question of goal-line technology, it is a question of technology. Where do you begin with the technology and where do you end with the technology? Technology is helpful but we have to draw the lines on certain things.

To put goal-line technology in our competitions would cost €50 million in five years. I prefer to give €50m to the grassroots and development in football rather than to put €50m into technology for perhaps one or two goals per year. That’s a lot of money per goal.

We supported the additional referees which are now accepted by the international board, and with the referee one metre from the line I think if he has good glasses he can see if the ball is inside the goal or outside.

It is an interesting coincidence that Chelsea are playing in the tournament. One of their team, Frank Lampard, has been an advocate for goal-line technology. His ‘goal’ in the 2010 World Cup amplified the debate about how officials make decisions about a goal being scored.

Photo Credit

Lampard effort not given (BBC, 28 June 2010)

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Online Resources for Coaches

4344268766_1ae903c997_bIn the early days of public Internet access I found my way to Brent Rushall’s Coaching Science Abstracts. In the mid and late 1990s I found it a revelation to be able to access curated resources that saved me time and introduced me to a range of topics I may not have considered.

Volume 1(1), Training Principles, was my induction to online sharing. Between 1995 and 2002 I monitored Brent’s summaries with great interest. On the current welcome page to the Abstracts, Brent notes:

These abstracts interpret research articles for practicing coaches and others interested in applied sport science. They are drawn from the personal files of Professor Rushall. Some dated articles are included because their content is still current. Most articles are interpreted for coaches of elite athletes and programs. The contents are changed monthly and may or may not be thematic. Usually six issues per year will be provided.

Since Brent’s retirement from San Diego State University in 2004, abstracts included in Coaching Science Abstracts:

have increasingly come from the annual ACSM conference. The scope of other reading sources has diminished. ACSM contributions represent a wide variety of very recent works. Often they go on to become published articles in formal journals. It is my belief that what is presented now on this web site remains a good cross-section of the current thinking on the many topics covered. The standards for inclusion of referenced works remain high because each is originally supervised by at least one ACSM Fellow and this editor retains high conservative standards for evaluating the scientific rigor of each abstract’s origin.

In 2000, the International Society of Biomechanics in Sports (ISBS) launched the Coaches’ Information Service. I thought this was an outstanding initiative and was particularly impressed by Ross Sanders’s work in sharing information with coaches. The current version of the service,, shares research from sixteen sports.

Back in 2000, the Coaches’ Information Service aimed to present scientifically sound information in an appealing and coach-friendly way. The site had scope for scientific contributions based on research and ideas expressed by coaches and sports participants.

Memories of Brent and Ross’s work came back to me this week when I received an alert to the International Rugby Board’s Coaching platform. This online resource “designed to help coaches and match officials get their hands on essential and up-to-date information for improving their coaching and officiating”. The site provides opportunities to:

  • listen to and watch coaches explaining their practices
  • plan sessions on-line and share them with fellow coaches and players

The resources on the site are available in English, Spanish and Cantonese.

IndexMy memories were stirred further by the work Stephen Mellalieu, Keith Stokes and Grant Trewartha are doing as Network Editors of the IRB Rugby Science Network. The Network is “a global network of researchers who are interested in the study of the Rugby Football codes”. The Network was launched in November 2012 at the IRB Medical Conference.

The aims of the Network are to:

  • Promote the scientific study of the game and the transfer of scientific knowledge into professional practice through international collaboration.
  • Provide an international forum for the interaction between people interested in the science and practice of Rugby Football.
  • Work towards the establishment of a periodical conference and publication for academics and practitioners interested in Rugby Football.

The Network has an application process. Network editors respond within seventy-two hours to an application to join. I was very impressed by the speed of response to my request to join. I was able to acquire an IRB passport to the site within twelve hours.

There are nine Digest Sections available in the Network. I am keen to see how all of them develop and I have a particular interest in the Match Analysis Section edited by Ken Quarrie and Simon Roberts.

It is fascinating to see the seventeen-year evolution of online resources from Brent to the IRB. I think other services like the Clearinghouse for Sport in Australia and the England and Wales Cricket Board’s new Hub Application for high performance coaches will continue this transformation.

Photo Credit

Coaches watching the fight (Michael Heiniger)

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Sport and Technology Research Group: December 2012

The Sport and Technology Research Group met at the University of Canberra this morning.

There were two presentations of work in progress:

Stephen used his blog, Swimming Bird, to share his work with the Group.

His talk included reference to:

Slide 1Gordon and Tracey shared their research on Snow Sports data acquisition. Their presentation (Personal Speed in Snow Sports) was a follow up to their attendance at the 5th Asia Pacific Congress on Sports Technology (they have published two papers from this conference: Evaluating the use of a GPS data logging device; Investigating head impacts).

The presentation has been published as a paper (2012). Gordon and Tracey have work together on other snow sports projects including this study of hydration.

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Four Weeks at the SOOC


Earlier this morning I wrote my final Daily Wrap for the Observing and Analysing Performance in Sport small open online course (SOOC).

What a wonderful month it has been at the SOOC.

During November in Australia, Mark and Danny have been with me on the day shift in the Southern Hemisphere. In the Northern Hemisphere, Darrell and Adam have been the custodians of the SOOC.

As I was compiling the Wrap I received a link to a new version of Burn Note. This application takes communication to a different level. What’s a Burn Note?

A Burn Note is an online message which can be viewed only one time by the recipient. Each Burn Note is displayed using our patent pending Spotlight system for resisting copies. A timer starts when the recipient opens the note and automatically destroys the Burn Note once the recipient is finished reading it. Once a Burn Note has been deleted it cannot be viewed again.

In contrast, the Observing and Analysing Performance in Sport course will remain online and available. Adam Brimo writes:

The course will remain at the same url. What we can do to make it more open is remove it from the our homepage and remove or change the landing page to reflect that the course is open but no longer facilitated.

My hope is that more visitors will find the content relevant and interesting as it remains open. I am thinking it has the potential to become a dynamic wiki so that it updates links and references. We planned the course to be an introduction but we hoped there would be something for everyone.

To my knowledge this was the first SOOC of its kind. We aimed to present a fallible mode of sharing and to learn from the experience. I particularly liked the idea that it was an open course that encouraged non-linear journeys. I did enjoy the excitement of having Augmented Reality available from the first day if you chose to go there … as many did.

Whilst writing the Wrap, I received some timely links about massive open online courses (MOOCs).

Alan Levine (via a Stephen Downes alert) points out that in a recent Coursera Social Networks Analysis class:

61,285 students registered, 25,151 watched at least one video, 15,391 tried at least one in-video quiz, 6,919 submitted at least one assignment, 2,417 took the final exam. 1303 earned the regular certificate. Of the 145 students submitting a final project, 107 earned the programming (i.e. ‘with distinction’) version of the certificate.

He adds:

You see, the course moves at the speed it wants to, not mine. This mode does not use any of the affordances of online learning to be able to flex time and space for me to do work- it just marches on everyone rowing the boat together (or falling over).

Ryan Stacey discusses 15 ways MOOCs will change education. Item 7 on pedagogy is:

While MOOCs typically comprise video clips and perhaps a quiz, they will inevitably include more instructional devices to assist distance learning (and remain competitive). Over time, content providers will supplement their core offerings with live webinars, interactive exercises, discussion forums, wikis, social networks etc. Some may even organise real-life meetups at selected sites around the world.

As of today we had 517 enrollments on the course. It has been the most delightful month of meetings and glimpses.

We had a total of 23,490 page visits from 91 countries.

32% of the visits were from Australia, 27% from the UK, 8% from the USA, 7% from India, 5% from Ireland, 2% from France, New Zealand and Greece.The Seeing and Observing and Augmented Reality pages proved particularly popular.

The wonderful thing about an open world is that we do not have to say we will be back … we will always be here.

Photo Credit

Souq Waqif (Laika, CC BY-ND 2.0)

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Ecologies in Danger: Part Two

4568873503_1ee5c98d0c_bOn Saturday I wrote about some parallels I saw between the Australian Sports Commission’s (ASC) announcement of The Winning Edge and Tim Flannery’s Quarterly Essay.

Overnight I have been thinking about the role lifeboat islands play in preserving eco systems and enabling them to flourish. I see further parallels between The Edge and The New Extinction Crisis.

In his essay, Tim writes about the work of the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC).

In little over a decade the AWC has grown to the point where it manages over 3 million hectares. Its reserves are scattered throughout the nation, with particularly significant holdings in the tropical north and centre. On this land, the organisation conserves around two-thirds of Australia’s threatened mammal species, and 70 per cent of its threatened mainland bird species. And it manages to do this on an annual budget of around $12 million (page 61).

Tim points out that the AWC:

  • Has a clear vision: the protection of Australia’s biodiversity
  • Is committed to creating and maintaining a strong scientific base
  • Establish goals, monitor progress and report accurately


The AWC employs twenty-five ecologists and has fifteen students at work at any time. There is an internship program too.

Tim adds that:

A strong scientific basis means that the AWC an account for its successes and failures. It also means that it is today the only conservation organisation in Australia able to provide reliable estimates of the population sizes of each endangered species in its care. The ability to demonstrate the success of its operations is also a great magnet for staff: talented young people are keen to work for such a body (page 67).

In the Winning Edge, the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) is identified as Australia’s strategic high performance sport agency with responsibility and accountability for leading the delivery of Australia’s international sporting success. The AIS works in partnership with National Sporting Organisations (NSOs), state institutes and academies of sport (SIS/SAS)  and other sport partners to deliver international sporting success.

The AIS partners with NSOs to position high performance investment in order to support coaches and athletes to deliver Australia’s collective ambitions. This involves providing expertise in athlete preparation, performance science and medicine, innovation, coach and leadership development, performance strategy and planning, pathway support and athlete career and education. The AIS also works closely with the SIS/SAS to develop systematic national support for NSOs to deliver the daily training environment for Australia’s elite athletes. (Page 10)

The Winning Edge positions the AIS to grow its role as Australia’s national high performance agency. This involves:

  • A sharper focus on true podium potential athletes
  • Responsibility for all high performance funding within the ASC
  • Empowering sports to determine optimal high performance program delivery
  • A focus on: Strategy/Investment + Athlete/Sport Services + Research/Innovation


I thought there was an interesting example in Tim Flannery’s essay of how an agency can transform an eco system. In contrast to the Christmas island Pipistrelle, the Gouldian Finch is flourishing.

AWC research indicated that the threats to the Finch were linked to changed fire patterns “which had altered the availability of the grass seeds upon which the species feeds” (page 66). This meant that during the breeding season “birds were becoming stressed by the great distances they had to travel between their nesting hollows and the nearest seeding grasses” (page 66).

With research completed, AWC staff started to burn parts of their properties in ways that encouraged the seeding of grasses near nesting hollows of the finches. Today as a result of the program, Gouldian finches are thriving on Mornington, and blood analysis shows that nesting females are far less stressed than in years past and therefore more likely to survive into a second breeding year. (Page 67)

I do think there are enormous synergies between the work undertaken by AWC and the AIS. The flourishing of both requires a sensitive understanding of context and environment. The Edge is about Finches!

Photo Credit

Portrait of a Rainbow Finch (Raymond Larose, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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Australian Eco Systems in Peril

WEI spent much of yesterday following up on the High Performance Plan, The Winning Edge, announced by the Australian Sports Commission. Towards the end of the day, I wrote this summary.

Since posting the summary I have been thinking about performance ecologies. During the last three years I have explored ecology ideas and their relevance to sport. I am particularly interested in island sanctuaries and Don Merton’s work. I have had a look at Coral Reef research too.

So it should come as little surprise that I started to contemplate the connections between The Winning Edge and Tim Flannery’s recent Quarterly essay, After the Future: Australia’s New Extinction Crisis.

QE31Like Phillip Adams, my breath was taken away by Tim’s opening paragraph (page 6) in The Extinction Problem part of the essay:

In late August 2009 a tiny, solitary bat fluttered about the rainforest … We don’t know precisely what happened to it. Perhaps it landed on a leaf at dawn … and was torn to pieces by invasive fire ants; perhaps it succumbed to a mounting toxic burden … Or maybe it was simply worn out with age and ceaseless activity, and died quietly in its tree hollow. But there is one important thing we do know: it was the very last Christmas Island pipistrelle on earth. With its passing an entire species winked out of existence.

The second paragraph of the section has an eerie resonance with The Winning Edge:

Two decades earlier the island’s population of pipistrelles had been healthy. A few scientists watched the species’ decline with concern … they could see that without action its demise was imminent.

In the Winning the Next Race section (page 2) of The Edge:

Australia’s international sporting achievements … over the past 30 years have been impressive … But the world is changing. International competition is intensifying and improving all the time. Many other nations have now replicated our innovations, tapped into our expertise and made strategic investments, and as a result have become strong competitors in international sport. This is true of developed and developing nations alike. … Our Olympic performance peaked nearly a decade ago. Since Athens in 2004 our place in the upper echelons of medal-winning nations has drifted downwards. The London Games provided clear signs that even in sports where we have had great success, there are new and re-emerging competitive challenges.

In his conclusion (page 76), Tim observes:

But what we need to remember is that we know how to solve this problem. It is not like many complex and social issues, where key factors lie outside Australia’s control. Furthermore, the costs are not great, and the expertise requires is in place. Nothing is keeping us from success except our failure to be accountable – to ourselves and future generations.

He has a way forward:

Quantify the problem, devise a plan to deal with it based on sound science, and report on the outcomes. And keep politics out of it.

The Game Plan (page 5) for Australian sport in The Edge:

  • Invest for success
  • Plan to perform
  • The right support
  • Good governance and capability
  • Evidence-based decisions


Both ecologies require us to accept their intrinsic value. Both are fragile. Both can flourish if we are prepared to defer and cooperate. There are enormous lessons to learn in sport from the experiences and expertise of ecologists.

Supporting either or both these ecologies requires enormous faith and trust. Imagine the conversations that the Australian Sports Commission Board could have with Tim Flannery as a member!

These conversations might start with the quote from Keith Hancock that Tim uses to introduce his essay (page 1):

When it suits them, men may take control and play fine tricks and hustle Nature. Yet we may believe that Australia, quietly and imperceptibly … is experimenting on the men … She will be satisfied at long last, and when she is satisfied an Australian nation will in truth exist.

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Reading The Winning Edge

I have had an opportunity to read through the the High Performance Plan, The Winning Edge, announced by the Australian Sports Commission earlier today (webcast).

A number of people have tweeted about the announcement at #winningedge.

I thought I would share some of the details of the Plan as I did with the Crawford Report.

My take on The Edge is …

High Performance (page 1) is about:

  • Consistent and sustainable success for Australian athletes and teams on the world stage
  • Greater levels of accountability for performance results
  • Improved governance structures and contemporary reporting and monitoring of performance
  • Engaging, uniting, inspiring and motivating all Australians.


Winning the Next Race (page 2)

 “Our Olympic performance peaked nearly a decade ago. Since Athens in 2004 our place in the upper echelons of medal-winning nations has drifted downwards. The London Games provided clear signs that even in sports where we have had great success, there are new and re-emerging competitive challenges.”

We are:

  • Winning fewer gold medals
  • Winning fewer total medals
  • Achieving less top-eight placings
  • Below the average of the top 15 nations at the Games for conversion of top-eight placings into medals

“The other measure of sustained success — annual world champions — tells a similar story and extends beyond Olympic sports. There is a trend downwards in priority sports, with 2012 likely to be the lowest result in the last 12 years.”

2012-2022 Performance Targets (page 3)

  • A top five nation at the Olympics and Paralympics
  • A top fifteen nation at the Winter Olympics and Paralympics
  • Number one at the Commonwealth Games
  • Have more than 20 world champions annually.


The Game Plan (pages 4, 5 and 6)

  • Invest for success
  • Plan to perform
  • Support
  • Good governance and capability
  • Evidence-based decisions


Priority Actions (page 8)

  1. Introduce a sharper, more robust national funding and accountability model.
  2. Help sports reduce costs/complexity and grow their capacity
  3. Invest dividends from efficiencies into three key areas: better direct support for athletes; greater investment in coaches and high performance personnel; renewed focus on unearthing and nurturing Australia’s talent
  4. Refocus the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) to grow its role as Australia’s national high performance agency


Understanding High Performance Sport in Australia (pages 10 and 11)

 Australian Institute of Sport (“Australia’s strategic high performance sport agency with responsibility and accountability for leading the delivery of Australia’s international sporting success.”)

State Institutes and Academies of Sport (“provide high performance services and support in partnership with NSOs in their respective state and territory jurisdictions with a view to delivering high quality daily training environments for athletes and teams with podium potential.”)

Peak Bodies (“Australian Olympic Committee (AOC), Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) and Australian Commonwealth Games Association (ACGA) support sports to access significant international competitions, including the Olympic Games, Paralympic Games and Commonwealth Games. In addition, the APC manages high performance programs for several sports, provides direct funding to national federations and other high performance sector partners, and delivers programs that value add to this investment.”)

The Edge has a schematic for the High Performance System and Performance Outcomes (page 12):

There are four other documents available in The Edge announcement:


The AIS Centre for Performance Coaching and Leadership will be established to:

“improve and formalise a pathway designed for professional development for our high performance coaches and sport leaders, and drive research and innovation. The Centre will systematically integrate and build on successful approaches and programs, such as the National Coaching Scholarship Program, coach profiling and coach study tours, and provide a platform for long-term capability development, with a flexible approach to learning. The Centre will position the AIS as a global leader in high performance coaching and leadership development, acknowledging the potential for rapid growth in high performance coaching.”

The Athlete Pathway (Talent) Development Initiatives are:

  • Sports draft and second chance programs
  • Talent pool expansion
  • Full-time dedicated pathway managers
  • Talent enrichment team
  • Multi-sport centre of excellence


The Innovation Funding Pool aims to:

“encourage innovation and a greater commitment to investment in coaching and high performance personnel, a new pool of funding will be set aside for competitive bids from national sporting organisations (NSO) in high priority sports. The focus of the funding will be on new proposals, and is in addition to a sport’s existing investment in coaching and high performance staff. Funding will extend to encourage technology-related initiatives that will benefit in the areas of coaching and on-field performance. Depending on the nature of proposals, NSOs could be supported for one-off initiatives or multi-year initiatives where evidence of need is justified.”

There are eight High Performance Investment Principles:

  1. The ASC’s investment objective is podium-level results for Australians in international sporting competitions consistent with the targets set out in Australia’s Winning Edge. Investment will be directly linked to a sport’s ability to provide evidence of how it will contribute to the targets in Australia’s Winning Edge.
  2. ASC investment is dependent on sports, athletes, coaches and support personnel demonstrating the highest possible standards of integrity in sport, including anti-doping, that will enhance the reputation of Australia internationally and provide a positive example to all Australians.
  3. Sports must operate with high quality governance, administrative and financial practices that will give the ASC confidence that public funds will be spent effectively. The ASC expects sports to operate at best practice, taking account of an individual sport’s particular circumstances.
  4. The ASC will only invest in sports that have best practice high performance plans in place with clearly agreed key performance indicators across a range of areas. Once agreed, sports will be accountable for achieving progress against milestones.
  5. Sports must co-invest in high performance and will be expected to grow their share of investment over time from other revenue sources such as commercial, philanthropic and sponsorship opportunities. The ASC will work closely with NSOs to assist in achieving progress.
  6. In making investment decisions, the ASC will consider the totality of a sport’s funding position, including broadcast revenues and the efficiency with which funds are being spent.
  7. In making investment decisions for NSO high performance plans, the ASC will consider a sport’s international competitive environment, including differences in competition opportunities, medals available, the differing needs of teams and individual athletes, depth of fields, and athlete pathways.
  8. ASC investment seeks to achieve sustained success aligned to Australia’s Winning Edge targets. The ASC will invest over the long term where a sport can demonstrate a strong talent pipeline and a support structure to help athletes realise their potential.