Eric (Doten) and I were talking about training a while ago and he made some observations that I wanted him to share with all of you. He was kind enough to write them down - so here they are:
athletes struggle as they improve their craft because as one increases
their abilities, he/she must mature body awareness. This process takes
time and practice; and one of the first things athletes must accept is
that there are techniques and body feedback that they won’t understand
until they reach a certain level of maturity (through time and
practice). This is why it is impossible to achieve higher levels of
skill without a coach. Whether you are a mature intelligent adult or
arrogant teenager, it’s hard to believe there might be a concept that
you can’t yet conceive to understand when it comes to how your body
works. Especially to those of us to tend to be perfectionists. I first
saw this in martial arts. You hear your coach tell you over and over
again to keep your shoulders down, or your hands up, or you feet rooted,
but not until a few years into it do you understand why. At that
point, your body reaches a level where now you “get it”--or more
accurately, you feel it. You realize you are stronger when you “grab
the ground” with you feet; you are not fast enough to react to block if
your hands are down. I also saw this a lot as I taught rock climbing;
body awareness is something that develops over time, and telling someone
to keep their hips close to the wall, or lean back onto a straight arm
doesn’t seem to make sense at first. It might take months or years, but
if they stick to it, they will get it.
There is an old
adage that you must “empty your glass” before it can be replaced with
new knowledge. This applies a lot to something where you need to
un-train yourself one way to learn a better way. I prefer the analogy
that you get a new glass for this new knowledge; you never lose the
old, but it gets warm and flat, so you just don’t choose to drink it.
But this new glass starts out very small. You can only learn so much in
the beginning, and as you gain experience, you wake up and the glass is
larger, and you now understand new things, and that continual
increasing of the glass never ends. Look at anyone who is the best in
the world at something; singing, skiing, playing guitar, boxing, etc;
they all have a coach who helps them improve.
So, as a trainer, it’s important to make
students aware of this concept, and that it’s okay not to understand why
we are telling you to do a certain technique, grip, or body position.
You will find when they let it go, they become more accepting of the
advice; and look forward to the day when they themselves realize the
propose and value of the item. Patience is not just a virtue for a
good trainer, students need it too.
Thanks for your insights Eric!