- Hardcover: 194 pages
- Publisher: Peter Lang Inc., International Academic Publishers; First printing edition (December 14, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1433116847
- ISBN-13: 978-1433116841
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,647,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Writing on the Bus: Using Athletic Team Notebooks and Journals to Advance Learning and Performance in Sports Published in cooperation with the National Writing Project First printing Edition
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"I like to have my student-athletes write about their experiences, be it about practice, a game, or even an injury. Writing helps them to analyze their play, thought processes, and feelings. It brings more meaning to what they are experiencing. Writing ... is a reminder of what we all are playing for and working towards." -Coach Nicole Moore, Stetson University
-David Chamberlain, Nor/Am SuperTour Cross-Country Ski Champion
«If this book did nothing else other than lay out […] opportunities for reflective writing, it would be a useful guide for coaches. But the book is more than a set of suggested practices; it is filled with examples of Richard Kent and other coaches interacting with their athletes. We get excerpts from the writing of coaches at all levels, and from athletes - high school soccer players to world class skiers. […] Through his own example, Kent teaches us how to read this writing - generously, thoughtfully, learning from the experiences of his athletes, even appreciating their goofy humor. He has the ability to pull nuggets of insight from writing that a less alert and sympathetic reader would miss. He is the kind of teacher who makes you feel smart.» (Thomas Newkirk, University of New Hampshire, from the Foreword)
«Leading us outdoors and onto the playing field, Richard Kent offers a systematic approach to writing that has already assisted coaches to cultivate athletes’ reflection, shared consciousness, and improved performance. What an athlete needs, he makes clear, is writing.» (Julie Cheville, Illinois State University, Author of ‘Minding the Body: What Student Athletes Know about Learning’)
«‘Writing on the Bus’ illuminates a largely hidden side of coaching and athletics, one where writing is increasingly a part of the cultural norms for coaches, individual athletes, and entire teams. Richard Kent brings the powerful combination of sport and writing to life throughout the book by smartly weaving the literacy production of athletes into the discussion. Educators and coaches alike would do well to learn from the insights provided in this book […]» (Jeff Duncan-Andrade, San Francisco State University, Author of‘ What a Coach Can Teach a Teacher’)
From the Author
I've put together a Resource Website that should help you come to understand the value of writing to learn in sports through the use of athletic team notebooks and journals. You may find that website at WritingAthletes.com. In addition, if you have any questions, use the Contact Page on the Resource Website to send them directly to me.
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Who else should read this book? Everyone. Let me be more specific.
Obviously, coaches should read this book. (And they may want to check out the accompanying website, too.) Rich explains the how's and the why's of using athletic team notebooks and journals. More importantly, he unpacks the implementation of using notebooks and journals. He doesn't simply say you should, and give you samples, but rather, he unpacks his own (and others') practices in using notebooks-how he responds to notebooks and uses them in coaching and team building. What his athletes learn from different kinds of writing, what he, as a coach, learns from his players' writing, and, maybe most importantly, what he does with all that writing, and what he asks students to do with it.
And let's not construe coaches too narrowly. I'm giving this book as a gift to my daughter's ballet teacher at the end of this year's ballet season (do they call it a season?). My daughter, also not a team-sport athlete, is involved in drama and dance -- both of which give her but a single weekend of performance in which to show all that she's learned over a `season.' It's a fact of these activities that has bothered me since she started performing. Reading Rich's book, I couldn't help think about how much keeping such journals and notebooks could help her reflect on and grow in her performances. So, let's add parents of athletes and other performers to the audiences for this book. Do you watch your kid play from the sideline or the center aisle and wonder how best to support them, how to talk to them about their performances? This book will give you ideas about that, too.
Let's not forget the athletes and performers themselves. This is a great book for student athletes. What if your coach doesn't use team notebooks or journals? That doesn't mean you can't learn to use this tool as part of your own training. With loads of examples and prompts, this book could be a great way to get started.
But I read this book, as I read most books about teaching and learning, as an English teacher, and I think all writing teachers should read this book too. At least they should if they think of writing as a performance that can be coached. The book suggests that athletes complete two kinds of `competition analysis: one that helps 'tell the story of your game' and one that helps `tell the story of their game.' I couldn't help translating these into what they might look like in an English classroom. How could you construct similar classroom activities that would help students read and write like writers? What activities would help them unpack the craft of a piece of writing in front of them, to give that kind of writing a go, and to analyze their own performances as writers in that genre?
One of the suggest activities to come out of Competition Analysis I (telling the story of your game) writing is to write a letter to someone based on your analysis (an opponent, a team member, the other team's coach...). If I were writing a letter about this book to Rich (which I really should do), it would go something like this:
Congratulations! Your new book is amazing! It really made me happy to think about you out in the world, coaching student athletes and, more importantly (to me, at least) coaching new English teachers into our profession. Keep on writing on the bus, or wherever you are.
We all know that writing is introspective and clarifying. We know that a consistent writing practice can help a writer think clearly and articulate new ideas. So, if writing is learning, and coaching is teaching, and if athletes by nature are motivated to improve their skills, it does not require much of a leap to see the role for writing in athletics. Kent clearly makes the connection that notebooks and journaling enhance an athlete's learning and performance, and reap benefits in all sports, both team and individual.
Amy Edwards, Head Coach of Gonzaga University's Women's Soccer, describes the season she implemented team notebooks. "Our team had never been so in tune with themselves . . . with team notebooks the players took ownership of their team and destiny. We had the most successful season in program history."
Kent clearly makes the connection that notebooks and journaling enhance an athlete's learning and performance, and reap benefits in all sports, both team and individual.
In a voice both humorous and instructive, Kent offers a balanced presentation of writing with athletes, including successes, missteps, and lessons learned. Throughout the book, Kent weaves lively stories of his own athletes and their experiences, confirming that the practice really works. You see kids writing on the bus, squatting on the playing field, or sprawling in the hallways of dorms, scribbling intently into their notebooks. Excerpts from athletes' journals and separate inserted illustrations show the reader what an athlete's journal may actually look like.
Adding writing to your coaching program, Kent makes clear, does not mean you change everything that you do as a coach. Rather, this book will help you add an additional layer to all that you already do with your athletes. " . . . Writing will complement an athletic program and add a new level of understanding for athletes and team staff members." Kent offers a wide range of ideas on how to actually get kids writing, from simple individual goal-setting prompts or team-building exercises to complex theories on team development and systems of play (SOP). Kent emphasizes flexibility, noting that while some coaches may choose to incorporate journals in moderation, others will use them more expansively.
The addition of writing, according to Kent and the many athletes and coaches whom he interviews, will benefit athletes before, during, and after competitions. Carter Robertson, Alpine Ski Racer, explains, "No one likes skiing with a cluttered mind, so put it on paper and free some space." A writing regimen trains athletes to reflect on their skills and think on their feet. After a game or a race, athletes who write analyze their own performance with more than "we won" or "we lost." Team notebooks and journals can nurture the coach-athlete relationship too, as in the privacy of their journals athletes may pen their frustrations, secret goals, or issues at home.
When you finish reading Writing on the Bus, and you are intrigued enough to try adding writing to your program, you will also be holding in your hands a practical and customizable manual, complete with directions on where to start, what to do, what not to do, and pages and pages of ideas for writing prompts.
Implementing team notebooks or journals will make for sharper and more thoughtful athletes; Rich Kent's book will make you a more effective teacher and a smarter coach.