QOD 03/11/10
QOD 03/19/10

Observations from a Client

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:

Eric Many 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!


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