Searching for Answers – The Doctoral Journey

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Tyler Yearby

The idea of getting my doctorate has intrigued me for a long time. It is something that I have always wanted to do because I feel like learning is a journey rather than a destination. I would like to think I am navigating my way through different learning opportunities in life, trying to pick-up as much as I can while developing life-long relationships with fellow students and faculty along the way. In addition, I know that earning my doctorate will help me advance my field through research. After years of searching for the right opportunity, I decided the Professional Doctorate program at the University of Gloucestershire would be the perfect fit. I chose this route because it focuses on preparing students to apply existing theories and knowledge to solving real-world problems. Gaining a Professional Doctorate does not mean new theories cannot be conceptualized, but it means that I can take my nearly fifteen years of experiential knowledge and truly make an impact from ‘within’ the field. The University of Gloucestershire not only offered the program I was looking for, but they boast an outstanding staff. Specifically, in sports coaching science. They also have terrific connections throughout the world, which was the icing on the cake. It has been very helpful to collaborate with other students within the cohort (i.e., one is the co-author of this two-part blog post). Even though I love tackling projects myself, there is something about locking arms with other like-minded individuals that truly inspires me. 

The first few months have flown by, and I have enjoyed connecting with professors and others within the cohort. The early part of this journey has motivated me to search for ways to help impact the field as quickly as possible, which inspired me to co-author my first paper to be published in an academic journal. In addition, developing a better understanding for creating reasoned arguments in my writing is sure to enhance my abilities, and in the end, make my research more approachable and digestible to others in my field.

My area of interest is skill adaptation and human development as it relates to sports movement behavior. In the world of skill adaptation, the performer-environment relationship is considered the appropriate scale of analysis for studying the mutuality between the two. In doing so, we gain a better understanding of the emergence of skills in context. My goal is to help further the academic and coaching communities’ understanding of how session design that uses constraints manipulation designed (or co-designed with the athletes) in a purposeful way, will invite athletes to search for ways to coordinate their movement solutions to meet the peculiar disposition of the problems they face in sports. More specifically, I hope to further explore affordance acceptance and emergent decision-making within American football. Finally, I hope that my research will deepen practitioners’ understanding of an athlete-centered approach that uses task and environment design to help develop highly adaptable and dexterous movers in sport. 

Tyler Yearby, M.Ed.

Co-Founder & Co-Director of Education – Emergence

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