Two new papers published

I am delighted to have published two papers together with some inspiring colleagues over the summer.

Theory to practice; performance preparation models in contemporary high-level sport guided by an Ecological Dynamics framework  is published in sports medicine.

Conceptualizing Physical Literacy within an Ecological Dynamics Framework is published in Quest.

Theory to Practice: Performance Preparation Models in Contemporary High-Level Sport Guided by an Ecological Dynamics Framework

This paper was written together with some colleagues in the UK and Australia and is partly a collaboration with Port Adelaide FC (Aussie rules) and AIK Research & Development department (Stockholm).

You can get access to the article here

Carl Woods (twitter) excellent work at Port Adelaide is  featured in the article and is a powerful example of how they are utilising an ecological dynamics approach in high performance Australian Rules Football. While the work being done at AIK youth football (8-12) can provide some insights how adopting and ecological dynamics perspective is helping the club to re-conceptualise youth player development.

The paper gives some insights in to practice environments that are

  • utilising empirical and experiential knowledge sources within a Department of Methodology to inform present and future practice
  • repositioning the coaches role to one of an environment designer, who facilitates athlete- environment interactions
  • embedding a constraints led approach

we also look at how

  • coaching skill was being developed and shaped by the landscape of traditional coaching practices and coach education programmes,
  •  attributes and skills appreciated in players were culturally embedded in traditional pedagogical approaches, organisational settings and structural mechanisms founded upon specific socio-cultural and historical constraints.
  • training designs  have typically been underpinned by a culturally dominant planning paradigm pervasive in traditional educational approaches (e.g. coach determines in advance the specific theme, presents predetermined coaching points and controls the sequence and duration for each part of the session)


Screenshot 2020-08-22 at 19.36.04

“Do players have the freedom to explore solutions to problems designed? Youth players should not be ‘props’ in some type of coach-conducted orchestration, where players learned to play an idealised model of the game as opposed to functioning in the game itself, limiting player autonomy and self-regulating tendencies” (Woods, C.T., McKeown, I., O’Sullivan, M. et al. Theory to Practice: Performance Preparation Models in Contemporary High-Level Sport Guided by an Ecological Dynamics Framework. Sports Med – Open 6, 36 (2020).



Conceptualizing physical literacy within and Ecological Dynamics framework

“The shared intentionality across sporting and physical activity landscapes should be about supporting self-regulation, thus supporting the individuals’ continued physical literacy across a lifespan.”

Article can be sourced from here:


This paper has an interesting history. In March 2019 I presented together with colleagues James Vaughan (twitter) and Jean Cote (twitter) at a Riksidrottsförbundet (Swedish Sports Confederation) conference in Stockholm. There was a lot of talk about physical literacy, from measuring it, to how it should be central to school physical education, to even commercial organisations selling physical literacy as a product. What I realised was that there was no clear consensus of what Physical Literacy actually is and how it can be implemented. I had some great conversations with James and Jean about this that inspired me to dig a bit deeper.

I originally wrote a blog about this rather promiscuous (thanks Richard) concept called Physical Literacy  and just before the summer together with some great colleagues we put together this paper.

The abstract will give some insights with the intentions of the article.


Screenshot 2020-08-22 at 18.54.45

We look in to

  • the definitional vagueness
  • problem with how it is being promoted through national governing bodies
  • the problem with the idea of Fundamental Movement Skills and how physical literacy is measured
  • how  the lack of a theoretical framework underpinning the concept has been an issue

We recommended a way forward for the concept by utilising the Ecological Dynamics framework

These are the concussing remarks:

Screenshot 2020-08-22 at 19.44.25


As a complimentary to this paper, I highly recommend listening to James Rudd (twitter) on the Perception Action Podcast (see here)



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