I don’t know why I was drawn to skills development as a subject or practice but I know that from early on I was fascinated by the ability of the body/brain to learn. Some of my early experiences were based on what I did every day.
One was cycling to school. The Pietermaritzburg Corporation changed the joining of Morcom Road to Zwartkops Road. They got rid of the stop street and build a cambered curve that ran down to next intersection. I chose to cycle down that road to school. It was safer than my usual route.
I was entranced by the easy way in which I directed the bicycle around this new curve at a fairly high speed for the first time. I wondered about where this ability came from.
I noticed the same thing in other activities such as playing tennis. I would be at the net during a doubles game. The return of serve would come at me and I would direct a volley across court. The bounce and direction of the ball was such that the player there couldn’t return it. The shot was carried out without conscious thought.
I eventually wove the cycling experience into a poem – part two of a sequence called Who am I? What fascinated me was the mind-body relationship. My conscious mind wasn’t directing the bicycle. So who was making those decisions?
Later when I started teaching and had to coach athletics and other sports I read Timothy Gallwey’s books on the Inner Game I started understand more.
Skill arises as an internal impulse, not from deliberate instruction.