Learning by Joining the Rhythm

Ole Lund1  <ole.lund@gmail.com>
Susanne Ravn1  <sravn@health.sdu.dk>
Mette Krogh Christensen1, 2  <mkchristensen@health.sdu.dk> <mkc@medu.au.dk>

1Institute of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark.
2Center for Medical Education, INCUBA Science Park – Skejby, Aarhus University

Juliane Elander and Anne Lolk were the objects of study for this article.


This article aims to explore how a joint rhythm is learned. The exploration is based on a combination of a case study of training in elite rowing and theoretical considerations concerning mutual incorporation of skills in learning. In 2009 Juliane and Anne start to row the double scull together. The two rowers’ aim is to be among the exclusive group of teams that qualify for the Olympic Games three years later. However, Anne is not a rower, and has to be apprenticed by Juliane, who is an experienced elite rower. One important learning goal in the apprenticeship is to find a good joint rhythm, which will enable the rowers to put optimal effort into the rowing. Thus the apprenticeship is about developing a sense for a good rhythm in Anne which corresponds to Juliane’s finely tuned sense of what a good rhythm should feel like. Our study suggests that apprenticeship learning has to be understood as an embodied and mutually affecting process rather than as unidirectional exchanges of information. This means that not only the inexperienced athlete is learning: the experienced athlete is also learning by compensating for the inexperienced athlete’s inadequacy.

Click here to read the article in Scandinavian Sport Studies Forum

About the Authors

OLE LUND is PhD student at the Institute of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics at the University of Southern Denmark, Denmark. His research focuses on the development of expertise in sport and apprenticeship learning among elite athletes. The aim of his PhD-project is to explore the interrelated learning processes of among elite athletes in double rowing, synchronized trampoline and handball. Theoretically his research is inspired by phenomenology and theories on social learning and social and embodied cognition.

SUSANNE RAVN is an associate professor of dance and movement-communication at the Institute of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark. Her research interests center round the sociology and phenomenology of the body, including dancing bodies, the expertise of elite athletes and the teaching and learning of dancing. She is the author of several books and articles in peer reviewed journals.

METTE KROGH CHRISTENSEN is an Associate Professor within the Centre of Medical Education at Aarhus University and Institute of Sports Science at University of Southern Denmark. Her research interests revolve around talent development in education and elite sport as well as careers, paradigmatic trajectories and the development of coaching expertise. She has published in for example the Sociology of Sport Journal, European Physical Education Review, PE and Sport Pedagogy and Sport, Education and Society.

Read more at idrottsforum.org about

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