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I’m David Farrokh, creator of the Big Picture Soccer Coaching blog. In addition to blogging, I also coach youth soccer and work in EEG technology doing neurofeedback and brain imaging. The common thread that runs through most of what I get into is curiosity. If I can look at something the way a three-year old looks at a bug it’s a good day.
I started playing soccer at three, continued on through college, and still try to get out and play a few times a week. Over time I came to realize that it wasn’t exactly the sport I was obsessed with, it was the state I got into when I played. When I started in youth coaching I could see that children who spent more time in those flow states flourished, but the methodology I had inherited wasn’t conducive to that experience. I was fortunate enough to have several coaching mentors who steered me in the right direction and my curiosity has kept me going deeper down that rabbit hole ever since.
My attitude towards sport and coaching is, again, one of curiosity. Sport is an emergent global phenomenon that attracts an amazing amount of energy and resources, and my feeling is that we don’t really understand the role it’s playing in our evolution yet. It saddens me to see how much arrogance there is in coaching, which is why I’ve been repeating that coaches need to pursue self-awareness and stay away from the moralistic high horse position. If we can stay humble and curious about where we can learn more, then we’ll not only be better coaches, but role models as well.
What’s most important to me is learning, but I’d like to expand the concept of learning past the connotations of school buildings and textbooks. To me, learning is the process of self-creation and autonomy; the ability to adapt ourselves towards objectives of our own choosing. I’m especially interested in the best experiences we have as learners – the flow states I mentioned above, wonder, awe, and other peak experiences.
I look at sport as a microcosm of society as a whole which means a utopian sports environment is just as unlikely as a utopian society. Coaching education, the economics of sport, and player-family relationships are all complex issues that resist simple solutions. In spite of these challenges, I think that by using sport as a platform to learn about learning and perception we might be able to contribute something of value to society and the coming generations.