Oh the difference it makes

“Coaching is an action, not a title
and actions result in successes!”
-Byron & Catherine Pulsifer


I actually hit the ball!!!!!!!!

Ahhh the difference a coach makes! Real coaching… not just good intentions and hopeful wishes… but true coaching.

This weekend was full of TRUE coaching... which really means… it was full of me doing things of which I am not good at… and giving in – letting myself be coached, and realizing how much of a difference real coaching can make.  It also was a great lesson in putting words into action.  Right on the heels of Show ’em You Got This (my post about exuding confidence) I had to walk the walk, let go of fear, and build confidence in my ability.

So what’s happened??  Let me describe the two (monumental <— too dramatic???) experiences.

The first was on the driving range… for about… oh… four years my husband has been wanting to take me golfing.  It is a sport he loves and would love to teach me so we can do it together.  Our son is a natural athlete and loves golfing so it would be a fun family sport.  BUT… I attempted golf (once) and was terrible… really embarrassingly terrible actually.  So, each time I’d smile and say… yea maybe soon… I’d follow with… you know I’m not coordinated, I doubt I’d even be able to hit the ball.

Experience from the one and only outing to a driving range nearly seven years ago was doing the talking for me. The short version of this experience is: I was at a golf course driving range with a very impatient person.  He told me to just “hit the ball” I swung… I flat out whiffed… next swing… I woke up the worms and dug a huge divot… the ball only moved because I moved the ground around it.  My third attempt… another swing and a miss.  I was done.  The person I was with said… “well, you clearly are no good.  You probably shouldn’t mess up the course anymore.”  And that was it.  I was done… absolutely convinced I just simply could not play golf.  (Let alone actually hit the ball!)

The difference this time… my coach.  Patient, clear, encouraging… he (my husband) gave me clear and concise instructions.  He clearly had more confidence in me than I did and was just as (or more!) excited on that first swing went it went far and straight!!!  I almost wanted to stop right then – out on a high note… but we kept at it.  He taught as we went… what the different irons mean, when you use different clubs, how to aim.  When one shanked I heard no laughter… instead I heard… “You did XYZ great, the reason it went that way was because of this, try doing this next time.”

POSITIVE, followed by explanation, followed by suggestions for IMPROVEMENT

How valuable… this teaching and coaching process… it’s impossible to miss how this translates to life in general.  

The next coaching lesson came Sunday.  I was (am) tired of struggling with muscle ups (CrossFit)… I CAN do muscle ups… oddly enough I am much more likely to get more muscle ups if I do them strict than kipping.  VERY ODD.  If you tell me to go do a muscle up, it will look like an awkward, kinda kip, then a strict muscle up… followed by finishing it through sheer determination and “pissed-off-ness”.  It is neither effective nor efficient.

I was not taught the proper form… and in all honesty… someone probably did TRY to teach me… but I never listened because I was so consumed with just getting the damn thing.  In the CrossFit world, getting your muscle up is like a badge of accomplishment… you’ve arrived.  SO I WAS GOING TO GET THAT DAMN THING!  So, even though they tried, because they were not connecting with me and my motivation we had a disconnect between athlete and coach.  **I HOPE THIS REALIZATION STAYS WITH ME AS I CONTINUE TO COACH** 

So Sunday morning was the time… the time to realize… what I was doing was not working and would hold me back.  My coach is also my great friend… we’ve known each other now for 16 years and treat each other like brother and sister… lovingly bickering at times included.  So I’m sure this familiarity and background helps our coach/athlete relationship.  We broke it down… removed the embarrassment I felt for not being able to do this and started at the lowest common denominator… compartmentalizing each move and then explaining how they related to each other in an effort to conceptually understand, as well as, train my body and muscle to commit it to muscle memory.

We spent an hour working on the kip… I did not do 1 muscle up… because that’s not what I need to learn.  Skill, technique, new way of thinking of something, practice, practice, practice…  kip after kip after kip.  Each time learning a little more and realizing when something felt differently and when I could actually feel myself doing it right! By the end, my confidence was soaring… and again, I didn’t do even 1 muscle up.  ** I did do a little ninja action on the flying pull-up bar which was so much fun**  There will be several more training sessions together working on this kip, and one day I’m going to proudly announce… I DID IT!!!

Today – I’m crazy sore.  ALL OVER… crazy sore from using new muscles I haven’t been using because I haven’t been doing it right.

A few things I learned….

  • Coaching is a life skill… parenting, leading, being coached, and doing the coaching… all LIFE SKILLS
  • One will never perfect the art of coaching… and will never perfect the art of being coached
  • It’s GOOD to do the things you once thought you’d never do
  • It’s valuable to take a step aside (back??) to learn something the right way
  • I can’t wait to get back onto the driving range
  • I can’t wait to get back up on the rings for more kipping action!

Each of us are coaches in some way… and each of us can and should open ourselves up to new coaching and learning!  

TRUE Strength


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