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Sheep, Lemmings and Jumping off the Bridge

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From my perspective we teach young people not to
question adults. I understand why this is
important…to a degree.

We also expect athletes not to question our authority
as coaches…simply because we’re the adults in charge.

I think this is dangerous for the same reason it’s
dangerous in society at large.

Now I won’t turn this into a social or political commentary
because some hypersensitive people will write me 25
pages of hate mail.

But I will say this…

If athletes don’t think about what they’re being
told to do, (respectfully) question whether it is
effective or safe, or ask how this will make them better,
then we just create a culture of robots. Of Sheep just
following the herd.

The world has more than enough people blindly follow
whatever the television tells them and who are more than
happy to live in the Matrix.

Let me give you the example that made me write this

I have an athlete who is very smart. He has intelligent
things to say about the world we live in. But when I ask
him what event he wants to compete in or what he wants to
do for practice, he changes. His eyes glaze over and he
mindlessly chants ‘Whatever you want coach’. He can’t
give me an answer because he can’t comprehend the concept
of being allowed to.

And he certainly isn’t the only one.

I find this unacceptable.

I expect athletes to respectfully ask questions. I insist
they do.

If they know that I can answer their questions and have
a reason for everything we do, they buy into what they’re
doing. It leads to greater, more consistent effort. And
therefore better results.

The reason some coaches demand that athletes just shut up
and do what they’re told is simple. They don’t really
have good answers.

Some coaching philosophies are a bit like the 1983 movie
‘War Games’ starring Matthew Broderick. In the end, the
only way not to lose was not to play. In this case, the
only way not to lose is not to ever be asked the
question in the first place.

This is not how to get the most out of young athletes.

I don’t want them to blindly follow me off a bridge like
a herd of lemmings. Nobody truly succeeds under that

I want them to follow me because they choose to, not
because they have to.

And that means I have to know what I’m doing every step
of the way.

And to maximize the potential of all your athletes, so
do you.

How? It starts here:


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