Recently I was watching an episode of one of my favorite shows, Closer to Truth. The host was interviewing a Nobel Prize winning physicist (whose name escapes me) about some component of special relativity.
The physicist said something which has stuck with me ever since. I’m paraphrasing, but in essence he said:
“There is so much to learn about physics that you have to study for years just to reach the point where you can call yourself Ignorant.”
I was floored by the simple, yet profound Truth in this statement.
Think about it for a moment because I think we can relate this concept to our coaching (or business or personal life or…)
Some coaches believe they know what they’re doing simply because they happened to be great athletes back in the day.
(I used to be one of these.)
Others think that the number of years they’ve been coaching or a smattering of champions/championship teams in that time qualifies them as knowledgeable coaches.
(I know lots of these.)
Neither instance qualifies.
The first thing we must do is change the connotation of the word ‘Ignorant’. For coaching purposes, reaching the Point of Ignorance should be a minimum standard of education we strive to achieve.
So how do you know if you (or your coach or son/daughter’s coach) have achieved the Point of Ignorance?
There are a several ways to find out…
1. If you immediately nodded your head in agreement when you related the above quote to coaching because you know enough to know how much there is to know, you may have achieved the Point of Ignorance.
2. If you actively encourage your athletes to ask questions about every element of their training because you know enough to know you need to have a reason for *every* set, rep, exercise and interval *and* you have the self confidence in your knowledge to give kids an answer they can understand, (because coaches who don’t allow questions are coaches without answers), you may have achieved the Point of Ignorance.
3. If you question every set, rep, exercise and interval you plan for practice not because you don’t know what to do, but *because* you’ve learned enough to know there are so many different ways you could approach developing a particular biomotor skill that you’re paralyzed by the sheer number of options, you may have reached the Point of Ignorance.
4. If you attend a coaching clinic, seminar/webinar and/or invest in a new coaching resource (DVD set, book, etc.) every 3 – 6 months at a *minimum* (I invest in some form of educational material at least once per month, though I alternate between training, business and personal development) because you’re always trying to find new ways to help your athletes get better results, you may have reached the Point of Ignorance.
If you can *honestly* claim to fall into the aforementioned four categories, then congratulations my friend, it is quite likely you have joined those of us who have reached the Point of Ignorance.
If not, that’s OK. You are where you are because that’s where you need to be. We all have to start somewhere. And there is no time like the present. In fact, there is no time but the present, but that is a different topic for another day…
The bottom line is this:
If we want to be able to truly say we’re doing everything in our power to help our athletes, we have to strive to reach the Point of Ignorance.
Because there are few things more damaging to our young athletes, literally and figuratively, than an ignorant coach.
P.S. This is a bit off topic, though still quite applicable to what I talk about in today’s email. If you’re a business owner/entrepreneur, you understand that you must spend as much time learning about your business as you do improving your coaching skill.
That being the case, check out this article (if you haven’t already) written by our own Patrick Beith. He’s directing you toward some free information from one of our business mentors who has been instrumental in helping us grow our business faster than we can keep up with it. Honestly, this guy is The Man. Check it out: