David Beckham once lived in Leytonstone, East London in an area not unlike Piccadilly in East Port of Spain. His home was a mere stone’s throw from a dual carriageway and a railway track. The Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) ranks Leytonstone as 15,378 out of 32,844 where a score of one (1) represents the most deprived. The IMD is a composite index that takes into account measures of: Income Deprivation, Employment, Health, Education, Barriers to Services, Living Environment and Crime. At the age of six, David would go to the slim backyard of his inner-city home and spend the afternoon with a football practising keep-me-ups. He was average. His mother Sandra peered at him through the window as they both waited for his father to come home from work. With every mistake- no one corrected him.
Wolfgang Schöllhorn, the high priest of football coaching, rejects the idea that skill augmentation is rooted in correction of errors and that learners must struggle to mimic some ideal movement like Nadal’s majestic banana shot. Instead, Schöllhorn’s differential training methods embrace the fluctuations in human motor behaviour to induce a self-organising process in the learner that takes advantage of unique individual movements and learning characteristics. Schöllhorn rejects repetition of drills and ceaseless corrections. Players are encouraged not to think about what went wrong if they made a mistake. There is no touchstone technique because the technique is always different for each person and is always changing even for the same individual.
During the Global Financial Crisis, Arthur Lok Jack remarked at a business forum that – ‘There is no best Global Practice; only- The Next Practice’. Lok Jack observed that the pursuit of good consequences is not delinked from constraints but international corporate governance, international banking regulation, and accounting and reporting schemes across diverse domains coalesced into a global ethical and financial collapse. There was no diversity; only conformity.
Cristiano Ronaldo does not shoot exactly the same way twice and he is not mimicking Messi. Ball movement, wind, grass, shoes, everything basically, forces Cristiano to adjust the shot each time. All reflective athletes are challenged to decipher complex messages through the introduction of kinaesthetic ‘noise’, according to Schöllhorn, as they become creative problem solvers who embrace the naturally occurring instability and fluctuations in their personal catalogue of moves. Donald Schön was a deeply original thinker working on change, education, design and learning. His work on the reflective practitioner formulated a new epistemology of practice founded on ‘knowing-in-action’. Baroness Hale of Richmond, DBE, PC, the current President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom is a reflective practitioner, and like the late Sir Fenton Ramsahoye, QC, SC, of the West Indies they both exhibit this rare ability to literally ‘Think on your Feet’. Over the years such reflective practitioners build up a rich repertoire of moves from which they make selections and combinations.
In his East London backyard, David was not corrected or criticised by any Gandalf of football wizardry; so he was less critical of himself and took more risks. He spent afternoon after afternoon after school making mistakes and exploiting the fluctuations and the potential they carry with them. This destabilization process led to instability that had the advantage of amplifying the observed fluctuations as he confronted the potential limits of possible performance solutions. One consequence of this learning environment was that David was forced to instigate new coordination strategies which typically resulted in the emergence of more effective or more stable movement patterns that are distinctive to his own body. For three years, his mother looked at him through the window. She saw every failure. Frustrations and disappointments piled one on top of the other and she saw how David learned from every one of them. Like every loving mother – Sandra looked at her child with future-filled eyes under the grey rainy sky of London through the window pane as her son played in the yard. After six months, he could get up to 50 knee-me-ups. After one year he was up to 200. By the age of nine (9), he had reached a record of 2,003 that took fifteen minutes to complete. In 2003 he decided to work on his free kicks with Ted, his father, aiming at the wire meshing over the window of a shed in the park. Ted would stand between David and the wire meshing forcing David to bend the ball around him. David took more than 50,000 free kicks at that park and with each kick Ted would place the ball farther and farther back. David had to deliver with greater power with every kick. Due to the difference in air speed and shear between the two sides of the ball, a pressure difference is built up known as the Magnus force that sucks the ball towards the side where the air velocity is higher. Onlookers marvelled at David’s dedication, unaware that every shot was undergirded by lasting memories of mistakes. Later on, David lived in Rowneybury House, popularly called Beckingham Palace before moving into his $45 million fashion forward mansion in Holland Park, West London. Victoria and David also own an $8 million barn in Cotswolds where they are neighbours to His Royal Highness Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex.