Comment on West Brom 1 Spurs 3 on Spurs Community

27 11 2011

http://www.spurscommunity.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=80986&page=5

Before the game I was so excited because I saw this match as a real litmus test of how much better we are this season than in the last few. We hadn’t beaten West Brom in our last four attempts and it was always going to be a tough game and I could see myself trying to be content with a point if that was all we came away with. 

When I saw Luka wasn’t playing (even though I love Sandro) it obviously became even tougher. When we let the first goal in and it was clear that Younes was blipping and the SAS combo in midfield was taking it’s time to gel I also thought back to last season and thought this might be one of those days. It actually occurred to me at one point before the equaliser when we were being bossed about a little a bit and the crowd was massively in the game that perhaps we were on our way to our third defeat of the season and it may even be another heavy one. 

But what happened. This season’s Spurs started to play. We had some possession, slowed their momentum and eeked out some chances. We had some luck. Not the penalty decision, but the result of the miss. It was an awful penalty, but it didn’t matter. And suddenly it was clear that the most likely result was a come from behind ninth victory in ten and a virtual second place in the table. 

As David has said, SAS and Harry worked out a more effective way for them to play together (was it just my love for Sandro that made me think he was very harshly booked?). Lennon really got into the game and needled away at West Brom’s confidence on the back of winning the pen. And Jermain and Ade started to feel their way into a partnership, playing each other into space with some sublime touches.

While it wasn’t a foregone conclusion by any means, we had the experience of Fulham and Blackburn to give us the confidence to keep plugging away until the second goal came. 

And how Jermain took his chance. He is a different player to last season, it’s plain for all to see. Last year he was begging for a run in the team to help him restore his confidence after injury. This year shows it’s not so much about playing as who you play with. Ade makes both VDV and JD look better players. He’s not perfect by a long chalk (I doubt he’d make Peter Crouch look a better player and some of his shooting yesterday was Crouch-esque in its flimsiness) but he’s created a vast improvement in our striking department which is clearly seen in the amount of goals we’re scoring. 

We were building ourselves up before the game and we lived up to the billing during the game. Last year we’d have lost this game and perhaps some bad luck would have played it’s part. This year luck seems to be going our way. But you make your own luck and the winning mentality of Ade and Scotty as much as their footballing skills combined with Harry’s continued magic weaving and Levy’s incredible masterplan are what makes this team look like the first Tottenham team I can remember EVER watching (i.e. since 1978) that actually has that winning mentality. A great example of this is the football we now play when in the lead. We play a possession football up there with the best of them. We’re taking the ball down the channels and providing options behind to sweep it out to the other flank and repeat the process ad nauseum if we want to. There’s nothing better for the confidence (and Harry’s ticker) than to be able to play that kind of football when you’re winning. It’s been a weakness for a few years now and it’s something Harry has obviously worked on in training. 

Long may the winning mentality and the winning streak continue. I believe we can challenge at least one of the Manchester’s (the other may need some Tevez-inspired imploding in order to help us) and it’s blatantly obvious from the way the team is playing the game that so do the players, the manager and the chairman. I love them all.





Ways of Varying Feedback

22 11 2011

Ways of Varying Feedback

This is a handout that I originally used as part of my Feedback Fiesta talks, which then got distilled into the fourteen ways of varying feedback which are in the new version of Feedback Fiesta for 2011:

1.T reads out passage and stops before answers for SS to give answer.
2.SS nominate each other to answer.
3.T reads text with answers, SS listen with books closed. SS then open books and check answers with P, asking T about ones can’t remember or not sure of.
4.T only checks answers to ‘difficult’ questions.
5.SS check answers in pairs and if have different answers ask T/SS check with answers on board.
6.T gives SS answers with the homework. Ss do homework, check it themselves and bring questions to class.
7.T gives each SS one correct answer and SS mill to check all.
8.T chooses SS to write answer on board.
9.T calls out Q numbers randomly and SS race to board to write correct answers.
10.T gives half answers to one half of class and half to other, SS swap answers across class in shouting dictation.
11.T gives answers to one SS who corrects homework and then passes on to next SS. If someone hasn’t seen answers by end of class they have to ask another SS for homework.
12.T nominates SS to play T and get feedback from rest of class in any way they like.
13.T emails answers to SS between classes for them to self correct. SS email T with Qs before next class.
14.SS have laminated A4 sheet on which to write answer. T calls out Q and each group holds up answer on sheet.
These all come in useful when giving feedback on language or receptive skills tasks.  Do you have any other variations you use that you can add to the list?




Easy does it

10 11 2011

Easy by mcneilmahon at Garmin Connect – Details.

My last training run before the big day on Saturday.  My first 10k race since 2009?  It can’t be, I must have done a few in 2010, but perhaps I haven’t done a race since I fell of my bike at the back end of 2009? 

Anyway an easy 6k today to build on the long run of yesterday and get my legs feeling how the last few k might feel on Saturday.  Would like to go for a swim tomorrow but since we have to go and fetch our kits I doubt I’ll get round to it.  

Thinking wise I tried to concentrate on making a to do list for Sunday about what I need to do for the conference but my body demanded my full attention so I didn’t get very far.  Going to be a busy two weeks with Montevideo next weekend and then the conference on the 25th.  Exciting times. 





At Long last

9 11 2011

Long by mcneilmahon at Garmin Connect – Details.

You might not believe me cos I haven’t got the Garmin proof to prove it but I ran an 8km long on Sunday.  Was planning to run again yesterday and then Thursday leading up to the race on Saturday, but it was the father-in-law’s 75th birthday so that plan was postponed until today, when i managed to add a km and get to 9km in just over an hour.  Means I’m pretty confident I should get to 10 on Saturday.  

I’m improving my form all the time, but it takes a lot of mental effort to get the body to behave itself.  If I’m not thinking of my knees, or my feet, or lifting the quads or pushing forward through the pelvis then they start to slacken or go off centre or pain arrives.  My worry with all this mind over body control is that I’m running too tense and so I’m trying to run relaxed too – so many things to think about that I end up thinking about nothing else.  But it’s all good for me at the end of the day I hope.  





Comment on Fulham 1 Tottenham 3 on Spurs Community

6 11 2011

Fulham 1 Tottenham 3

What an excellent win. This season really is shaping up promisingly. 

I’m not convinced Fulham did play better than us. They played better than us in midfield, no doubt about it. And the majority of the game was played in midfield so it looked like they played better than us. They also had more possession than us, also giving the impression they played better than us. But going back to David’s halftime scoreline, they had more quantity than us, but we had the quality. 

We defended well almost throughout the game (Ledley’s header into the back of Younes for their goal apart) – physical, athletic, reading the game well, clearing our lines effectively and a goalkeeper on the top of his game (except for his fumble before Luka’s goaline clearance). Fulham didn’t. 

We attacked very effectively, almost all our chances were on target and we scored from about half of them. Clincal as you like. Fulham weren’t, misssing a host of chances. 

We clearly won two phases out of three of the game – we played better than them and deserved to win. 

And it’s wins like this one and the last one that really show an improvement on last season. An improvement at the back, mostly due to Ledley’s imperial and much more consistent presence. And an improvement up front, mostly due to Ade’s physicality and Defoe’s renewed sharpness (VDV continues to be VDV). And these improvements help us to improve mentally as well. Today we knew we would hang on because we’d done it before and recently. And hanging on today will bring a further growth in confidence for the games ahead. 

Well played everyone today, in one way or another. Keep the run going boys, entertaining times ahead.






Very Professionally Developing

4 11 2011

Click here for slides IHBsAsProfessionallyDeveloping

I was asked to give a workshop today for the teachers at International House Recoleta and Belgrano based on the talk I did at the ABS Conference for Coordinators back in August.  Since I was confident they are already doing lots of the development ideas I addressed in the original talk, I wanted to attempt to make it a more personal and specific experience by adding in more interactive tasks and giving them summaries of the different tools on a plate, so to speak.

I enjoyed the journey they took me on and a lot of interesting ideas came out of it.  Hopefully some of them will go on to discover Suggestopedia in an experimental practice lesson or do some Action Research to improve their FCE learners listening skills.  Or at the very least they’ll come and comment on my blog.

Enjoy the slides and the handouts and I hope they help you to decide where to take your own Continuous Professional Develoment next.

Click here for the handouts  Professionally Developing





My slowest, shortest Fast – an achievement all the same

3 11 2011

Fast by mcneilmahon at Garmin Connect – Details.

Seems a bit odd to call last night’s run a fast one since I averaged around 6:30/km, not to mention the fact I only ran 5.3k.  But this all just goes to show how far I went and how far behind I now am.  The important thing is I managed to run 5k as fast as I can now without giving up and without injuring myself.

I managed to go 8 days without a run beforehand, which wasn’t part of the plan.  I need to be stricter with the days when Mer can’t run and go anyway.  The Nike 10k is only 10 days away now and I’ve only managed to run half the distance.  I need to go out every other day between now and the race, which is doable: Friday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday and try and get up to at least 8k during these races.  It will actually be fun to not have run 10k before the big day, a long way away from the days of running 20k three days before a 10k race, but then it was overdoing it like that that got me injured and where I’m at now anyway.

Today the foot doctor, tomorrow the knee doctor.  Let’s hope they give me the all clear and I can continue the comeback.

Last night’s thoughts: what do I have to do nd when do I have to do it.  Professionally Developing talk for IH Recoleta?belgrano on Friday, needs to be finished off tomorrow.  It’s going to be completely different to the times I’ve done it before in Mexico and ABS, since the audience will have heard of almost if not all the means of developing, so it’s gonna be more of a refelction on what suits each of us best.

Feedback Fiesta for Montevideo on the 19th November.  Again, very different since a three hour talk instead of an hour.  Lots more time to focus on error correction and separate out the three types of feedback and look at each in more detail.  Will need quite a bit of work mind to get it ready, though that will have to wait until the weekend after next, since this weekend is dedicated to preparing for the first IH Teachers Online Conference on Friday 25th November.  Really exciting project, I just hope the teachers hear about it and decide to come share with us.





Already breaking the rules

25 10 2011

Easy by mcneilmahon at Garmin Connect – Details.

Having gently upped the distance yesterday, the new rules say no running til Thursday, but since the wife wanted to go running, I was called upon to accompany her.

I tried to take it as easy as possible and certainly ran slowly, but still almost ran 5km again the day after running the distance for the first time in over three months.

It was hard work but at times I felt good and at others I felt not-un-surprisingly leggy.  I’ve managed to get back to the coach and the ice pack without signs of being worse for wear.  Hopefully I’ll have built up some stamina with the double shift over the last two days without putting the comeback at risk.  Time will tell.

The worrying thing is I spent most of the run thinking that I’m getting old.  The body’s not responding as well as it used to, the mind is starting to struggle to find the right word at times, I’m clumsier than ever.

Hence the need to get the comeback right and run consistently back into shape to try and keep the years under control…





Take Five

24 10 2011

Easy 5km by mcneilmahon at Garmin Connect – Details.

After a third easy run last Thursday which I didn’t record properly on my watch (hence the lack of a blog post) I decided it was time to up the stakes a little today, so I ended up running 5km although keeping it at quite an easy pace.

After a heavy weekend food wise, I felt pretty sluggish. although I started out at 6:30 pace, which is quite sprightly for my present lack of fitness.

I was pretty knackered at the end, although i did toy with the idea of a second lap of the Palermo lake since I was feeling pretty good as I came to complete the first, but in line with my new slowly slowly philosophy I managed to resist the temptation.

About the only thought I remember having on the run was that my target for the Nike 10km should probably be just to finish. Although I’d hope to finish in under 1:10:00, this may not be possible since I only started training again so close to the race.  To think I could run a 56:00 10km and run to work every day (3.5km) and hit 90kg a couple of years ago now fills me with amazement.  If I can get back to that level, I’ll appreciate it a lot more than I did at the time, that’s for sure.





Comment on Blackburn 1 Tottenham 2 on Spurs Community

23 10 2011

http://www.spurscommunity.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=80065&page=5

A real difference between the result and the performance today and when looking at the table the result is more important, but let’s hope we can continue to grow as a team by learning from the performance. 

We scored two good goals, let in a sloppy one and gave the ball away carelessly far too often to deserve to win the game. Almost everyone was culpable on numerous occasions. Let’s hope Harry can work out the reason why soon so that we can get more fluid and hold onto the ball much better. Was it a lack of running into space to offer an option? Lack of concentration? Brilliant Blackburn pressing? Just one of those days? A combination of all the above?

What was most noticeable for me was the lack of options for the man with the ball coupled with a lack of time on the ball due to Blackburn’s pressing. As the game wore on we seemed to lose confidence in our passing game and just clear our lines as quickly as we could. We were second to everything coming out of our penalty area and this invited Blackburn to put it straight back in there. 

But credit goes to everyone for hanging on in there and coming away with an excellent three points. Things were looking very similar to last week and we could easily have given away an equaliser (although Blackburn simply didn’t have as much composure as Newcastle in the final third). 

Overall, four points from these last two away games is an excellent return and other results (so far) today are looking good for our challenge for fourth turning into a challenge for third or even second. With Sandro back to full strength we will definitely improve our ball retention and hopefully make for less nerve-wracking finishes and hopefully the centre of defence and centre forwards will grow in confidence as the goals and points keep coming. Good times.