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Building the Observer into the System - TheAthlete

Updated: Mar 28, 2023


"Building the Observer into the System: Toward a Realistic Description of Human Interaction with the World" by Chris Fields is an article that proposes a new approach to understanding the relationship between the observer and the observed. The author argues that traditional scientific approaches have failed to fully account for the subjective experience of the observer and have instead focused on objective measures. To overcome these limitations, Fields suggests that the observer should be integrated into the system being observed, thereby accounting for the observer's subjective experience.


In the context of sports and athletics, I believe this approach has important implications for understanding the relationship between the athlete and their performance. The traditional approach to studying athletic performance has often focused on objective measures such as speed, strength, and endurance, now that we consider the subjective experience of the athlete. We can now see what the athlete feels and perceives is integral part of their performance.


By integrating the observer into the system being observed, coaches and trainers can better understand the athlete's experience of training and competition. For example, the athlete's mindset and perception can have a significant impact on their performance. A positive mindset and belief in their abilities can help an athlete to perform at their best, while a negative mindset and self-doubt can hinder their performance. By acknowledging the importance of the athlete's subjective experience, coaches and trainers can work to cultivate a positive mindset and help athletes to overcome self-doubt.


Furthermore, the idea of integrating the observer into the system being observed can also help coaches and trainers to create training environments that are tailored to the athlete's individual needs and preferences. For example, if an athlete responds best to a particular type of feedback or coaching style, coaches can adjust their approach to better support the athlete's subjective experience.


In addition, the concept of integrating the observer into the system can help coaches and trainers to better understand the athlete's experience of injury and recovery. By acknowledging that the athlete's subjective experience is an integral part of the healing process, coaches and trainers can work to create recovery plans that are tailored to the athlete's individual needs and preferences.


Overall, the article "Building the Observer into the System: Toward a Realistic Description of Human Interaction with the World" provides a valuable framework for understanding the relationship between the observer and the observed in the context of human experience. In the realm of sports and athletics, this framework can help coaches and trainers to better support the athlete's subjective experience and ultimately improve their performance.




Fields, C. (2011). Building the observer into the system: Toward a realistic description of human interaction with the world. Foundations of Science, 16(4), 347-362. doi: 10.1007/s10699-011-9227-2

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