Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"Coaching" assumption

It's important to have good cues for teaching different techniques, but what's always been a real 'eye-opener' for me is asking the athletes to explain what those cues mean. On many occasions a cue I have been telling athletes for a certain lift, drill, or exercise has meant something entirely different to the athlete... or meant nothing at all. I have asked athletes, "do you know what I mean, when I say ______ ?", or better yet, "can you show me what I mean when I say ______?" The responses have often times been 'I don't know' or a blank stare. No wonder they have not improved.

Coaching is more than just telling athletes what to do and barking out a few cues. Interpretation of those cues is critical. Patience with the time it takes to do things right and to coach right is vital to the opportunity for success within any program. I am continually working on this patience and making sure to take the time to utilitize not only words, but even more importantly in ultilizing good demonstration, followed by repetition, then the necessary/optimal feedback, followed by more repetition.

It's easy as a coach to fall into the trap of assumption, but athletes usually don't have near the understanding that you do as a coach. It's important to not overload athletes with too much information all at one time, but to give it in small doses and then be absolutely certain that they know what you mean.

"You haven't taught until they have learned" -John Wooden.



jleeger said...

This is a fantastic post Aaron!

Chris Melton said...

It's easy to assume that everyone else thinks and processes information / instruction just like we do or intend. You've hit on a valuable tool to combat the problem.....asking.