Image by Ali Saadat

If we are only learn by following instructions we are likely to learn to fear mistakes.

If we fear mistakes we can learn to not do anything unless we are 100% sure it is correct and that we can do it. Anything less is failure. Anyone less is a failure. It is stressful, exhausting, and harmful way to live. It stops us exploring our potential.

It's also dangerous. We don't learn how to deal with mistakes. When things go wrong, we can make things worse.

@ LifeSkills21.club we use sports to give everyone, all abilities, all ages, from beginners to pro's an experience of the opportunities of being a little less perfect. A real-time, in the moment experience of learning through trial and error to make a moment of it going wrong ... a moment of success.

This helps everyone to reduce their fear of failure. To see that mistakes are opportunities to learn what we didn't know we could do. 

 

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We are agile thinkers when we can think on our feet to turn a moment of struggle to a moment of success

Coach Jon Thorne
Playing sports to coach agile thinking
Founder of LifeSkills21.club

 

"Most of us want to avoid things going wrong. It's why most of us put most of our energy into making things go to plan. And less effort into improving our ability to handle the moments it goes wrong.

But things go wrong. It is a truth of life.

We all struggle at times. Nothing always goes to plan.

This is where we come in. We use sports to help players practice for the moments it goes wrong. To think on their feet to turn a moment of struggle to a moment of success. To trust their struggle. To go with their struggle. To see where it takes them and not be scared of things not going to plan"

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"EVERYONE HAS A PLAN TILL IT GOES WRONG"

Our events have coaches who use a quicker bite-size version of the trial-and-error learning process used by many elite sports coaches. They break a sport down into bite-size actions that end with a pause point. Coaches coach players to use these pause points to learn moment-to-moment. To think and act in an agile way. In the moment it goes wrong, players think on their feet to build their own unplanned sequences of bite-size actions to create a moment of success. Players turn a moment of struggle to a moment of success.

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“At first glance we look like sports coaches but our sessions feel very different. Our coaching CV is all agile thinking. A sports coach's CV, say a basketball coaching CV is about what teams they coach.

Our goal is good agile thinking. The sport is a means to an end. The end is better agile thinking. The quality of play is less important to us.

A basketball coach wants good quality basketball. Agile thinking is their means to their end. The quality of agile thinking is less important to them.

I would expect a good basketball coach to get their players playing basketball to a higher level than I could. I would expect to get the same players to a higher level of agile thinking than a good basketball coach could.

A technically good basketball coach and a technically good player will achieve higher performance if they are better at thinking in an agile way. We can come in. Lift agile thinking and leave.”

 
Game Strategy Plan

"When we are over coached, over taught, over managed we tend to become good at following instructions 

We tend to over plan, over control, and over stress. We tend to under perform when things don't go to plan


It is a truth of life. Things go wrong.

We all struggle. Nothing always goes to plan"

Coach Jon Thorne
Playing sports to coach agile thinking
Founder of LifeSkills21.club

 
Image by Patrick Perkins

PLEASE NOTE

WE ARE EMPLOYED AS AGILE COACHES. NOT SPORT COACHES. WE MIGHT LOOK THE SAME, BUT WE PLAY TO COACH AGILE THINKING. WE ARE LESS TECHNICALLY FOCUSSED. OUR SESSIONS FEEL VERY DIFFERENT.

 

"Our world is full of ever more ways to coach us, teach us, manage us giving us less space to grow life skills to make our own effective, connected, micro-decisions. When we make poor micro-decisions we are often subject to more coaching, more teaching, more managing. This lowers our performance and it will fail because no one has enough control to make everything always go to plan.

Image by Rohan Makhecha
 

"Our world is full of ever more ways to coach us, teach us, manage us. This is stopping us from growing life skills to make our own effective, connected, micro-decisions. The resulting poor micro-decisions are often used to justify more coaching, more teaching, more managing.


This lowers our performance. It is harming us. Killing us even. We are not meant to be this controlled. It will also fail because no one has enough control to make everything always go to plan.


We provide an alternative to more coaching, more teaching, more managing. We help everyone grow life skills to make effective, connected, micro-decisions"

Image by Rohan Makhecha
 
Image by Adam Le Sommer

"As well as our own events we run agile thinking programs for schools, the workplace, and sports clubs.

We play games to coach agile thinking.


Our goal is play sport to coach players to become effective, connected, micro-decision makers. To think on their feet - to turn a moment of struggle to a moment of success.

We give schools more agile students. Employers more agile employees. Sports coaches more agile players. 

The agile are far better at not over planning, not over controlling, and not over stressing. They are far better at performing. Far better at finding a way to make things work when they go wrong.

 
Basketball Game

WE OPERATE UNDER OUR "BE KIND" RULE

The opposite of agile thinking is to operate on the premise that not getting it wrong equals getting it right. To think that if we can eliminate all mistakes we will get everyone performing at their best. BUT, the absence of mistakes doesn't equal the presence of success. It never has.

Our "be kind" rule means we give ourselves and others room to perfect what we know works AND room to stand back to use our intuition and empathy to respond to the dynamic, evolving, living, changing interconnections between individual players that none of us perfectly understand or control.


Our "be kind" rule means we can be both technical AND intuitive. Practical and empathic. See the detail AND the bigger picture. We give ourselves room to think in an agile way.

 
Image by Alice Dietrich

WORKSHOP ON HOW TO AVOID BEING
ANTI-AGILE

Anti-agile is the belief that no mistakes equals getting it right. If all mistakes can be eliminated everyone will perform to their best.


The opposite of anti-agile is NOT all mistakes are allowed. To be agile is to perfect what we know works AND stand back to use our intuition and empathy to respond to the dynamic, evolving, living, changing interconnections between individual players that none of us perfectly understand or control. It is to be both technical AND intuitive. Practical and empathic. To process detail AND the bigger picture.

Given similar athletic abilities an agile team will beat an anti-agile team any day of the week.

 

THE AGILE SPECTRUM

Anti-agile is the belief that no mistakes equals getting it right. If all mistakes can be eliminated everyone will perform to their best.


The opposite of anti-agile is NOT all mistakes are allowed.


The opposite of anti-agile is to perfect what we know works AND stand back to use our intuition and empathy to respond to the dynamic, evolving, living, changing interconnections between individual players that none of us perfectly understand or control. It is to be both technical AND intuitive. Practical and empathic. To process detail AND the bigger picture.

 
Image by United Nations COVID-19 Respons

"Most of us want to avoid things going wrong. It's why most of us put most of our energy into making things go to plan. A common response to things going wrong is to increase our control over events and people. Taken to the extreme the ultimate project manager tracks and traces all tasks. They control who does what tasks, when and to what quality. Avoiding mistakes equals getting it right. 

Agile project management is about working flexibly within a plan. Agile project managers accept that mistakes happen and nobody can or should ever have absolute control over everything and everyone. Nothing always goes to plan. Things will always go wrong. It is a truth of life. We all struggle at times. Our struggles often lead to better.


An Agile project manager has a plan, and within that plan they help people to flex what they do. They help people make their own effective, connected, micro-decisions. To be good at think on their feet to turn something going wrong into a success. It works because it is how life works. Complex projects are delivered on time and on budget"

 
Image by JC Gellidon

APPLY AGILE THINKING SKILLS DEVELOPED MANAGING COMPLEX TECHNOLOGY PROJECTS TO THE WORLD OF SPORT

BY JON THORNE

Agile coach operating in the world of sports 
Founder of LifeSkills21.club

 
Image by JC Gellidon

LIFTING PERFORMANCE LOWERED BY
OVER-COACHING,
OVER-TEACHING,
OVER-MONITORING

BY JON THORNE

Agile coach operating in the world of sports 
Founder of LifeSkills21.club

 
Image by Johann Walter Bantz

"EVERYONE HAS A PLAN TILL THEY GET PUNCHED IN THE FACE"

 

"The world of sports has ever more ways to coach us, teach us, monitor us in the technical aspects of the sports we play. But, when we are over-coached in the technical parts of a sport it is easy for us to think it is more important to get our technical skills right than to think in an agile way to flex what we are doing to connect to teammates.


The absence of this connection lowers team performance. It makes playing sports less fun. Boring even.


We might make fewer technical mistakes, but we are predictable, isolated, and easy to disrupt and upset.


We can struggle to make meaningful connections with our teammates because all we want to do is fix our teammates technical problems, which often triggers ego’s and disputes. We become more disconnected and team performance drops further."

 
Image by Howard Chai

"Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships"

Michael Jordan

 
Image by CHUTTERSNAP

"Learning technical skills relies on understanding reasoned practical details that can be measured

When technical skills are over-coached we tend to fix our teammate's technical problems. We don't see the bigger picture of what is happening to our teammates

We lack the imagination, intuition, empathy to be agile thinkers to connect to our teammates in a kind and meaningful way

We might end up being technically talented but we lack the agile intelligence to be in agile teams. We can win a game but not a championship

My workshop will show you how to avoid the limiting effects of technical skills being over-coached"

Jon Thorne - Agile coach operating in the world of sports

 

"Unfortunately, there are lots of coaches who are overly focused on coaching technical skills. This tends to create teams that are good at pointing out the mistakes of others in a way that lowers performance, connection, and participation.

Things like:

  • Do it my way or the high way​


  • Intimidating those who don’t do as they say

  • Scripting everything players do

  • Punishing those who make too many mistakes

Etc...

These tactics can be effective in the short term, but any coach who uses them is putting their ego before the development of their players, and also stealing the “fun”, kindness and connection out of playing games together.

Which isn’t good.


So, here’s my goal today:


I’m going to show you how you can develop technically talented players with agile intelligence to make kind, meaningful, useful connections with their teammates.


As Michael Jordon says "talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships"


So let's make sure we don't stop players from developing the agile intelligence to connect with teammates by over-coaching the technical skills.

Jon Thorne - Agile coach operating in the world of sports

 
Image by paul wallez

DROP-IN
AND PLAY

MAKING KIND CONNECTIONS

All our events operate under our "be kind" rule

 
 
jon profile.png

JON THORNE

Jon has applied his agile thinking skills developed turning around failing technology projects to the process of learning. 

When we only learn technical skills it is easy for us to stay in the detail than it is to pull back and see what is happening to our teammates. It is easier to execute a technical skill than it is to flex what we are doing to help out a teammate. The absence of this connection lowers team performance.

We need the best of both worlds. Ways to improve our technical skills AND ways to improve our ability to connect to our teammates.

During his 5 years playing sports at Leeds Beckett University (Carnegie campus), Jon discovered that he was a little short in one or two of all the athletic abilities to make a top world class athlete. Not much, but enough to mean he would need a lot of luck, in terms of training and no injuries to make it. Jon also discovered that his best attribute is to read a game situation and think on his feet to find ways to turn an adverse situation to an advantage. This meant his best chance of being an international athlete was to play sports where his ability to read the game and think on his feet gave him the biggest advantage.  But when he left Leeds he bumped into coaches who would drop him from the team as soon as he didn't follow instructions to the letter. He was disciplined for thinking on his feet. Especially when it worked.

Meanwhile, in Jon’s working life, he was discovering that employers valued his ability to think on his feet more than his technical qualifications. Jon developed a career turning around struggling multi-million pound projects doing complex technical work that had never been done before or using technology to change how a workforce operated. Jon has never had a job that was being done by a predecessor. He is always the first. During this time the type of work Jon did, became known as agile project management.

When Jon’s children were being harmed by following the educational pathway, Jon gave up his career to home educate.

Jon found his children, when they where 8 and 10, would do nothing if they didn't have instructions to follow. Become overly stressed by an internal pressure to avoid making mistakes. They would only do what they knew they could do. They were inward and disconnected from the world around them. Jon found that their behaviour was based on a belief that making no mistakes equalled getting it right. This was why they would only listen to those who could help them get it right and ignore everyone else. Jon wanted more for his children. He wanted to add a sense of connection to their focus on getting things right. He knew that connecting to others means standing back from a need to get it right to use intuition and empathy to respond to the dynamic, evolving, living, changing, interconnections between people which no one can perfectly understand or control. Doing that required his children to become good at making effective, connected micro-decisions. Good at thinking on their feet. Good at converting a moment of struggle to a moment of success. Good agile thinkers. This became Jon's home education journey.

Jon set up a youth club and grew St Albans Lions basketball club to over 350 players and coached at Kardale Netball club. He learnt that playing team sports was the best way to coach the skills to learn in an agile way. To be effective, connected, agile thinkers. 

Jon is coming out of lockdown with LifeSkills21.club

https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonthorne/

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"We have used the left side of our brain to stay safe. Many of us have correctly followed scripted, standardised "right" ways to stop the virus from spreading. The price of staying safe this way is that we narrow our focus to the technical, the practical, the detail. We have dialled down our intuition and our empathy. Social media has created echo chambers to further feed our left-brain perception of the world. We spend less time looking at the bigger picture of what is happening to individuals around us who look like they are living in an unsafe changing, evolving, interconnected dynamic world that we can never fully understand or control. We feel safe but pointless. Safe but isolated. Safe but empty.

As we come out of lockdown our left brain can think we need to jump over to the right side of our brain to get some emotional connections. We forget about safety and feel a bit more connected. The infections go up and we return to the safety of left-brain thinking until we get to the point where we feel safe but pointless again. Then we go again. We can't live like this. We need to use both sides of our brain at the same time. To balance the virus risks with levels of emotional connection. And that balance varies on who we are as individuals in a given moment of time.

I have created LifeSkills21.club to help everyone develop the ability to learn using both sides of their brain. To find their own balance at any given time"

Jon Thorne - founder of LifeSkills21.club

 
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"When we learn technical skills we use the left side of the brain. If we don't also use the right side of the brain we can lose the connection to the bigger picture of what is happening to teammates. Performance drops. All the talent in the world won't take us anywhere if we can't connect to our teammates.

We coach players to be agile thinkers. To use both sides of their brain for everything they do, all the time, from the beginning. 

Agile coaches start from the middle of the brain. We start coaching players to make micro-decisions on when to act on the left brain and when to act on the right side of their brain. We then build outwards to increase players' ability to execute a bigger range of technical skills and a bigger range of ways to help teammates. Each player makes their own unplanned sequences of their micro-decisions that suit their circumstances of each given moment. All the talent, of all of us, is connected. We do what we never dreamed we could do. Connected brain, connected team"

Jon Thorne - founder of LifeSkills21.club

 
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We call ourselves Agile Coaches where "agile" is the ability to use both sides of the brain. The left brain We coach players to be agile thinkers. To use both sides of their brain for everything they do, all the time, from the beginning.


To connect all the talent, of all of us, to do what we never dreamed we could do. To be people of value rather than someone who wins. To be individuals who are part of a whole where the value of the whole depends on opportunity individuals have to grow. 

Agile coaches start from the middle of the brain. We start coaching players to make micro-decisions on when to act on the left brain and when to act on the right side of their brain. We then build outwards to increase players' ability to execute a bigger range of technical skills and a bigger range of ways to help teammates. Each player makes their own unplanned sequences of their micro-decisions that suit their circumstances of each given moment. All the talent, of all of us, is connected. We do what we never dreamed we could do. Connected brain, connected team"

Jon Thorne - founder of LifeSkills21.club

 
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"We believe we are in a *pandemic of left-brain thinking where we only do what makes sense to us, and if that doesn’t work, we keep doing it because we don’t know what else to do. It never occurs to the left brain to ask the right brain to imagine what else can we do?

We want to change this by building a network of events that help us all to use both sides of our brain. To connect all the talent, of all of us, to do what we never dreamed we could. To become people of value rather than someone who always does things correctly. To be individuals who are part of a whole where the value of the whole depends on the opportunity individuals have to grow"

Jon Thorne - founder of LifeSkills21.club

*If you want to know more about this left brain dominance we recommend reading Iain McGilchrist book called the Master and his Emissary

 
Image by Charles Deluvio

Jon Thorne - founder of LifeSkills21.club

*I recommend reading Iain McGilchrist book called the Master and his Emissary

"Accelerating technological advance has put machine guns in the hands of toddlers" Iain McGilchrist


When we use our left brain we look for what we think should be there. If we only use the left brain to apply accelerating technological advancement we use it to keep track of what we know needs to happen. We use technology to maintain control and order. To maintain what makes sense to us. To measure, monitor, and rank left-brain performance in education, the workplace, and increasingly in health management.


It becomes natural for us to see a lower ranking as a problem that we solve by working hard to avoid mistakes to lift our ranking.


It becomes natural for us to use social media to confirm to ourselves that we are correct, that everything does make sense, that we do know all that we need to know. We learn to distrust and doubt those who say things that don't make sense to us. It is this type of thinking that inhibits access to the right brain. We stop seeing the need to imagine what is beyond what we know. We forget about the right brain and become locked in our left brain. In this way advances in technology have created a pandemic of left brain thinking.


Left brain thinking will keep us doing what we know doesn’t work even when we know this will escalate situations into a major crisis. We do this simply because we can’t imagine that we can do anything else.


We know we are running towards a cliff, we know that if we don't do something different, we are going to die, but we keep doing it because we don't know what else to do. It never occurs to the left brain to ask the right brain to imagine what else? As Albert Einstein once said the intuitive mind is a sacred gift (the right brain) and the rational mind (the left brain) is a faithful servant. When the left brain dominates we create a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.

We have developed a way to use sports and games to coach players to use both sides of their brain and break free from the left brain trap. 

 
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"We start coaching from the middle of the brain. Everyone is encouraged to make lots of micro-decisions to execute technical details (left brain) and when to imagine other ways (right brain). Players connect the brain.  

Players who only use their technical left-brain double their potential. Teams reach levels of performance beyond the sum of  their left-brain technical expertise. Participation across all ages and all abilities increases because players enjoy sharing moments of kind connection.


Events will start to appear below all depending on lockdown"

Jon Thorne - founder of LifeSkills21.club