Yellow Light - Practice and what it teaches us.
When the word practice gets mentioned in conversation, it tends brings up a lot of mixed emotions. There is the crowd that views it as a chance to hang out with friends and teammates, there is the group that are always looking forward to the next challenge that may be presented by their coach, and there are those that wish competitions were the only part of being on team. Especially, if practice was replaced with even more chance to throw on a uniform and go head to head against their rivals.
No matter what the reason, the word practice means something different to everyone. This is why it is a critical part of the Green Light Sports Performance core belief system. As a coach, this is the bread and butter, the meat and potatoes, the "insert other fun phrase" here, portion of the job that I love. It provides not only the scaffolding for the largest amount of growth and development, but the chances to fail and have the ability to learn from those failures, are abundant.
Speaking of a word that brings up a lot of mixed emotions, "Fail" can send shivers down the spine of anyone who has attempted something new in their lives. It is a word that some view as taboo and never want to expose themselves or their children too. Personally, I have had mixed emotions about it myself. I have failed certification exams (a few times), failed to lift a weight or finish a race, and of course failed to remember important information (don't worry I know my anniversary and wife's birthday!). Needless to say, I am very used to failure. The reason I am mentioning a small amount of my failures is because I don't think we should be hiding our failures in the shadows. We should be able to look back at them and take a small piece of success from it and leave the rest behind. Even in a failed attempt, there is always at least one small bit of success that isn't noticed or appreciated. We focus on the whole and never take the time to dissect the scenario and learn from it.
A common question I ask my athletes, after they feel like they have failed, either at practice or during competitions, is "What did you do well?" Its not a complex question, only requiring little detail, but the simple act of asking this question gives the athlete a chance to look back on what they just performed. This is critical because while its fresh in their minds, it allows for the opportunity to take away something positive from it all. Taking away a positive from the negative is where the learning begins. They could win the race, break a record, or complete a new skill and have no problem pointing out all the great things they just did. However, when it comes to not missing a height in pole vault, fouling an attempt in discus, or just not feeling great in workout or race, the opportunity for growth is much greater. It gives them a chance to focus on what just happened, pull something great and inspiring from their performance, while leaving the negative behind.
The purpose of this post was to examine why failing doesn't have to be a bad thing. Why experiencing set-backs, losses, and poor performances doesn't have to be the beginning of a downslide but the start of a new advantage. Growth and understanding comes from experience and there is no reason to avoid failure as a chance to learn!
Performance is coming next!!!