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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

GatorMan - Fittest Man on the Planet & Skill Development (625)

You might ask yourself what does this E:60 report on Paul Bedard, more than just your average alligator wrestler, have to do with motor development... but keep watching and from 3:43 on you will start to see a clearer picture. How could the "Fittest Man on the Planet" recover from a tragic accident that confined him to a wheelchair, require extensive rehabilitation just to walk and move around, then continue to compete in ultramarathons?
Both cycling and interacting with animals would always be a big part of Paul's life. In his early twenties while earning a BA from the University of Massachusetts Paul became an elite level triathlete. At the age of 24, Paul became the youngest athlete (at the time) to finish a Double Iron Triathlon (4.8 mile swim, 224 mile bike and a 52.4 mile run; all done back to back without stopping). By 1998 Paul's weekly training regiment often consisted of 5 to 10 miles of swimming; 500 to 600 miles of cycling and over 100 miles of running. In 1999 the long training helped him win the Oddessy Double Iron Triathlon.
Let's keep his story in mind as we continue our journey to examining how motor development never ends throughout the lifespan and how we are constantly affected by our genetics through affordances and rate-limiters, although neither of those components determine outcomes on their own.

I also wanted to highlight one of my all time favorite videos from TED Talks looking at skill improvement though classical piano playing until you get to the "One Buttock" position with only one impulse in the phrase. Check out the second video with Ben Zander this time with a young cellist Nikoli, working on very specialized skills, albeit in the musical realm; however, teaching is teaching. My use of these comparisons and metaphors is to expand your view on how passion, intent, and honest feedback can inspire all of us to teach high-quality education through the physical and to teach students about POSSIBILITY.
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