In part II of Creating Massive Change, I introduced the idea of the importance of learning how to coach yourself.
I’m going to get into the detail a bit here, describing how to communicate with yourself. It’s the fundamental skill of coaching yourself, and it’s a skill you can learn.
You can’t change your genes.
You’re as tall as you are.
You have a disposition towards speed or endurance.
However, you can change your skills.
You can change your habits.
And most importantly, you can change the way you communicate with yourself, and how you communicate with yourself has as much impact on your progress and your performance as any other factor on a day to day basis.
More so than writing great workouts and training plans or providing technical information, a great coach is able to help you focus on the right aspects of your swimming, and help you direct your attention towards what matters and away from what doesn’t.
More than anything, they can help you manage your thoughts by pointing you in the right direction.
Unfortunately, coaching isn’t for everyone and you might not have a coach with you on a day to day basis.
Even if you do have a coach, you’re going to be your own best coach as you’re going to spend most of your time in your head anyway.
If that’s the case, you’ll need to fulfill this coaching role by communicating with yourself in a manner that facilitates your athletic goals.
There is a notion that people will say things to themselves that they would NEVER say to anyone else.
When communicating with other people, most of us are able to be polite and refrain from making statements that are blatantly offensive or insulting.
Yet whenever we make a mistake or fall short of our goals, athletes will eviscerate themselves in a manner a good coach would never do.
This isn’t conducive to accomplishing your goals.
I'm going to help you take all of the communication strategies that good coaches use and show you how to apply them to your own training.
While you might not have access to world-class coaching, and even if you do, the more you can use their strategies when communicating with yourself, the more likely you’ll place your focus and attention where it will be most productive towards accomplishing your goals, building your confidence, and maintaining your motivation.
Below are the strategies use great coaches use to effectively communicate with their athletes.
Keep it positive. Good coaches don’t dwell on the negative, they dwell on the positive.
They focus on positive feedback and on framing errors as opportunity.
They look for ways to help you get better, and then present that information as an opportunity rather than a shortcoming.
They’re your biggest fan and their belief in your abilities is tangible.
You wouldn’t working with to coach who constantly belittled your effort and your performance, and why would you?
It’s not fun and it’s not effective.
Why would you coach yourself the same way?
When communicating with yourself during training, keep it positive.
Focus on what you’re doing well, and pay attention to what you can do better.
Be positive in your approach and continue to reinforce your successes and your belief in your ability to accomplish your goals.
While meaningless positivity isn’t particularly helpful, negativity is almost universally unproductive. It accomplishes nothing beyond preventing action and attempts to rectify the situation.
Instead of communicating with yourself from a negative perspective, be positive.
When faced with challenges or disappointment deal with reality while remaining optimistic towards the future.
You’ll reap the rewards and enjoy the experience along the way.
The better you communicate with yourself in training and competition, the faster you improve.
The faster you improve, the sooner you accomplish your goals, whateer they may be.
It is THAT important.
Staying positive is the underlying theme.
In parts II and III, I’ll take you through the remaining skills of effective self-communication.
Faster. Easier. Better.