The Sky is not the Limit, There are Footprints on the Moon: The Benefits of Performance Analysis for The Dyslexic Youth Athlete

In our previous blog we explored the 4-Cs of positive coaching in a physical development programme. We proposed that the 4-Cs and their integration into physical training can provide rich rewards for the youth athlete later in their development journey. In this blog we explore and share our thoughts and beliefs on the role that performance analysis can play for dyslexic sports pupils and their active involvement in sport. We believe performance analysis can offer an opportunity to enhance this cohort’s engagement within this area and in doing so boost their confidence through empowerment; utilising and optimising their individual strengths.

There is growing evidence to show that individuals who suffer from dyslexia can often display abilities in creativity, visualisation, expression and cognitive flexibility. These can be considered core skills that make a great performance analyst. Being creative via ‘out the box’ thinking, problem solving skills and using visualisation skills to compile and generate data and video content are all important attributes of the analyst. Therefore, with this research area in mind, we believe that analysis allows pupils with learning difficulties, such as dyslexia to explore sport in a way that they may have not been able to do otherwise. Over the years several famous sports stars have highlighted their struggles with dyslexia. This shows how sport can played a significant part in their coping with everyday life, empowering them in ways a classroom could often not.

Sir Jackie Stewart, whose dyslexia went undiagnosed until years after he retired as a Formula One driver, was quoted in saying, “I was labelled thick at school, but sport saved my life.” This is likely to be down to the increased self-worth, confidence and inclusion that being part of a sport provided for him.  As performance analysts, we place a high value on, particularly with our pupils with dyslexia, ensuring pupils thrive in our learning processes particularly around self-worth, confidence and inclusion.

At Millfield pupils in sport actively review video footage during and post training sessions and post matches. We aim for this process to be empowering for the dyslexic pupil, providing a space for these individuals to utilise their visual learning ability and creativity as highlighted above. Through the process of analysing sport, pupils can better understand the challenges of development in sport, taking time and space to generate solutions to sporting problems and a platform to share these with other pupils and coaches. This approach allows pupils with greater cognitive flexibility, creativity and expression to show their true potential and build their productivity and their confidence in an environment which is often considered safe, fun and enjoyable. We hope that is provides an overall positive learning experience for these pupils

In conclusion we strongly believe that the analysis of sport can play a vital role in the development of the Millfield graduate and offers a dangerously modern learning environment which allows students to discover their brilliance and become modern disruptors in sport no matter what their ‘learning abilities’ are.

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