Rob Gray’s How We Learn to Move is sure to become the go-to resource for any coach interested in the Ecological Dynamics approach to skill acquisition.

The book is sub-titled “A revolution in the way we coach & practice sports skills”, and this is no exaggeration.

A quite brilliant, inspirational read, for anyone who has ever wondered if “learning by rote” and “repetition, repetition, repetition” were the only way to develop sport skills, this book provides an answer.

Gray begins by outlining the underlying science behind the approach — how the concept of “the one ‘correct’, repeatable technique” is a myth. In fact, the human body has evolved to produce and detect (and respond to) variation, both within itself and in the environment.

And that response to the environment is the core element of how we learn to move.

Chapters on the application of theory to coaching bring it to life for the coach and athlete.

Learning a movement skill is about finding a way to solve a challenge, not replicating a movement mandated from a coaching manual.

And the role of the coach is to create and continually adapt the learning space in which those movement skills can emerge, not to insist on “doing it properly”.

“When kids struggle to master the “fundamentals”…they typically drop out of sports.”


Especially sad, when the very existence of some of these almost mechanical “fundamentals” is questionable! (See “A ‘Fundamental’ Myth of Movement with a ‘Functional’ Solution”, Rudd, Foulkes, O’Sullivan & Woods in Myths of Sport Coaching, ed, Whitehead & Coe)

Published by Andrew Beaven

Cricket coach, fascinated by the possibilities offered by the game. More formally - ECB level 2 cricket coach; ECB National Programmes (All Stars & Dynamos Cricket) Activator Tutor; Chance to Shine & Team Up (cricket) deliverer; ECB ACO umpire.

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