Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Watch What You Say... Someone's Always Listening

This past summer I had a great group of athletes training with me.  We got after it in the weight room and learned movement skills on the field.  Since I work with young high school athletes usually 14-17 years of age, I never REALLY know how much they take in or how much they absorb.  I try my hardest to communicate in a way were it empowers them to learn the skill and apply it rather than me barking orders so they will comply.

I was taken back when multiple athletes of mine came up to me during our workouts or when school started to tell me that they noticed themselves and teammates not "staying in the tunnel," a cue I stole from Lee Taft.  One even picked on me when there was a teacher-student soccer game and I changed direction rather inefficiently.  He yelled "Coach, your shoulders got high, stay in the tunnel."  I couldn't help but smile like a proud father.  I was completely in shock that already after just weeks of training some of my athletes are noticing and applying the concepts I've been teaching.  I just imagine what they will be like by juniors and seniors with 2-3 years of training under their belt.

I'm not writing this so I look like some great coach.  I wrote about this because I think we under estimate how much our young athletes (high school and younger) want to learn these concepts and apply it to their sport.  I've caught myself, and seen other coaches, just demonstrating the drill and never explaining the principle behind it.  I've realized briefly teaching the principles behind what I do leads to a deeper engagement into the drills.  They also tend to notice the concepts on other athletes and teammates, and can pick out inefficient or efficient ways of performing skills.

Don't cheat your athletes and allow them to learn with you!

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