Athletic Team Notebooks and Journals
-Writing advances learning and performance in sports and
helps athletes become 'Students of the Game.'-
What do Wimbledon Champion Serena Williams, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, pro golfer Maverick McNealy, and Olympic skier Mikaela Shiffrin have in common? They all write to improve as athletes.
A little background about writing & athletics–
Sports psychologists have used writing activities with athletes for decades. Many coaches have, too. I started using writing activities with my own athletes in the 1980s. Since 2005-06, as a professor at the University of Maine, I've been researching writing to learn in the form of Athletic Team Notebooks and Journals. What have I discovered so far?
As learning tools, these notebooks and journals serve as a place for athletes to analyze and reflect. They engage seniors and first-year students, all-stars and benchwarmers—in different ways. And that difference is the beauty of such a learning activity. In terms of learning, player development, and communication, writing has the potential to offer a powerful difference for teams and athletes.
I have witnessed, as other researchers have attested, that writing can help athletes
-reduce stress and anxiety,
-sharpen mental skills, and
-strengthen coping abilities.
For the NCAA's 2015 Player of the Year in golf, Maverick McNealy used his notebook to analyze his game in an effort to seek continual improvement. Check out an interview with McNealy as he talks writing.
“Writing organizes and clarifies our thoughts. Writing is how we think our way into a subject and make it our own. Writing enables us to find out what we know—and what we don’t know—about whatever we’re trying to learn.” –William Zinsser, Writing to Learn
Writing Our Games
I've captured the essence of this work in an eBook titled Writing Our Games. The article is posted on this site under "Other Articles."
This Resource Website
For information, click on the cover.
In the menu bar at the top, you'll see resource pages such as "What's a Team Notebook?" and "What's an Athlete's Journal?" Here, you'll find models plus drop-down menus that will provide further information. I've also included a "Contact Rich Kent" page. I'd love to have you drop me a note telling me who you are and for you to share questions or suggestions.
The research book I wrote as the result of 6 years of study is called Writing on the Bus. This book is for coaches and serious athletes. I've also written a number of companion books. If you'd like to order individual copies or receive a Team Discount, just click on "Books & Journals."
Read through this website to discover how writing can help athletes become..."students of the game." And if you'd like to hear athletes talking about their experiences, listen to "Writing Boosts Performance of Student-Athletes," a 5-minute program from National Public Radio.
Finally, my sincere thanks to the National Writing Project for its support of this work. For you teachers, NWP is the best professional development out there! Find a local NWP site and go visit. Click here for the NWP Site near you.