Proud to be back with SBS Sport as a cross-platform producer and editor

I’m thrilled to share that I’m back working 1-2 days a week with SBS Sport digital team. I worked with this team from 2013-2018 before a complicated injury to my pelvis and sacrum meant I had to dramatically scale back my work capacity for a few years. During that time, I was beyond glad to continue working in research, slowly lifting my hours as my health became more robust again.

In returning to SBS, I’m not only proud to be working with a team I really admire and look up to, but I also feel a strong sense of pride and contentment for what this signifies about huge health gains over the last five years and the steps it’s taken to achieve them.

The digital team creates and curates content in whatever form we think will best reach different parts of our audience: articles, video, social, in-app, basically anything you consume on some kind of screen.

I arrived just in time to get skilled up before the Tour de France as a digital domestique. In addition to pumping out cross-platform content on the Tour itself, I’ve also enjoyed creating content that shares a bit about the expertise and passion of colleagues who are creating it.

If you’re someone who is interested in learning more about the behind-the-scenes of work in media, you might enjoy these two articles:

The #SBSTDF team share their most anticipated moments of the 2022 Tour de France

The #SBSTDF team on the moments they are most looking fowrad to in the 2022 Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift

A lot has changed since I’ve been gone, but there is also a lot that is so welcoming in its familiarity: the rhythm of digital workflow routines, all kinds of stories to share from the sports world, and passionate, creative colleagues who are so motivated, collaborative and generous in their approach to content creation and distribution.

There is a much bigger focus now on video and on sports beyond, but still largely including, cycling and football. I’m thoroughly enjoying learning more about all of it.

To previous colleagues who are doing other things now: gee I miss you. I still draw on the many things I’ve learned from, and admire in, you all in roles outside of media as well. When it comes to article titles, subheaders, social media, and much more, one line that echos through my mind often is from my previous SBS supervisor Phil Gomes: ‘Just say what’s in the can.’

It’s such a joy to be opening up more cans again and sharing the contents that lie inside. I hope you enjoy some of this multi-platform content too.


On failing and learning. Together. Mit Elefanten.

An ethnographic method prioritises participant observation, the context which surrounds these observations, and how the events observed are meaningfully experienced by the participants themselves. This enables researchers to tell a story that reflects the interaction between events, in real-world situations, that happen over long and short timescales. This moves analysis away from a single moment, say an experiment in a lab, and opens it out to consider how something that happened a day, week, year, or more ago may have contributed to what was said, or done, during another moment of interest. Done well, ethnographic work challenges theoretical assumptions made without a broader contextual understanding of the phenomena in question and raises multiple questions about new areas to study or investigate using a range of techniques.

When Kristina Brümmer, an energetic, joyful and passionate sports sociologist from the University of Oldenburg in Germany, visited our Cognitive Ecologies Lab at Macquarie University in Sydney in 2019, we were both excited to discover that ethnographic research on sports training was something we shared. She’d been using this method to study skilled performance processes in gymnastics and football teams, I’d been using it to study skill learning on the trapeze.

Continue reading “On failing and learning. Together. Mit Elefanten.”

Lighthouse interview: challenges for athletes at an Olympics with no spectators (and five billion other Covid-related factors)

One of the big questions people are asking in the lead up to the Tokyo Olympics is how athletes are going to react to competing in an empty stadium – or alternate venue – without a spectator in sight. I was interviewed about this by Fran Molloy back in April, for Macquarie University’s Lighthouse. This was back when it looked like domestic spectators would be allowed.

Continue reading “Lighthouse interview: challenges for athletes at an Olympics with no spectators (and five billion other Covid-related factors)”

On learning from experts’ embodied experience, in the situations where they thrive. New book chapter with John Sutton.

We can learn so much from people who are really good at what they do. So how do we do this? And why does it matter?

A book chapter by John Sutton and I asking, and answering, these questions was recently published in an exciting volume pulling a whole range of interesting work on skill together: The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Skill and Expertise, carefully and cleverly edited by Ellen Fridland and Carlotta Pavese.

For our contribution – ‘Embodied experience in the cognitive ecologies of skilled performance‘ – we take a brief tour through some of the existing research on experts and embodied expertise and explore some of the many, varied (and quite cool) methods for producing this. Contrary to the view that experts can’t accurately recall or articulate what they did and why when the pressure is on, we finish by looking at a case study from road cycling that shows just how much some people can tell us about their own performance processes – why they did what they did, when they did – and why this is so incredibly valuable to researchers interested in skilled performance processes. The chapter is also a plea to more researchers to study expertise in the complex, unpredictable settings where that expertise is deployed: out in the world rather than in a lab or other controlled environment. (Although the lab studies sure do teach us a lot as well. Truth be told, I often want to share this chapter with researchers I look up to in a range of different disciplines and say, ‘Work with us! This is what we bring to some of the questions that you are interested in as well.’ Collaboration and healthy interdisciplinarity for the win!)

Continue reading “On learning from experts’ embodied experience, in the situations where they thrive. New book chapter with John Sutton.”

Lighthouse Interview: the mental side of high-performance sport

“Skilled practitioners think strategically and flexibly to cope with challenges as they arise and increase their chances of success.”

This is why athletes returning to a sport after a break may do far better than expected compared to considering their physical form alone. Sharp thinking can also be the difference between going well once or twice, and performing consistently when risk, pressure or other stakes are high.

I was recently interviewed about these topics by Fran Malloy for a feature article, “The Science of the Sporting Comeback”. This story was published on Macquarie University’s Lighthouse website as part of Brain Awareness Week. It reflects the kinds of questions we ask, answers we are finding, and research we get excited by, in the Cognitive Ecologies Lab in the University’s Department of Cognitive Science.

If you’re curious to learn more about the mental side of sport, or an enticing overview of the research I do and what drives it, or even why mountain biking provides such terrific opportunities for learning more about these topics, please follow this link and enjoy the read.

Image: Gaye Camm rides the exit line from the ridiculously fun Trouty trail in Derby Tasmania, without having seen it before suddenly being on it. There are some fascinating cognitive processes involved in staying upright in this scenario!