Over the last 6 – 12 months my knee has got progressively more painful. I was thinking the worst as I could do so little without pain. I booked myself in to see a Sports Physio thinking I was going to get told I needed an operation. Fortunately for me it turned out that I needed nothing more than a few glute strengthening exercises to bring everything back into balance and my knee should be fine.
I was amazed how the Physio was able to isolate certain muscles and I simply either couldn’t do the exercise she wanted or move smoothly through it. It really convinced me that she was right.
So I left a very relieved man and was told to come back 3 weeks later to see how I was going. The results were rapid and within 2 weeks the knee pain was thankfully becoming a memory. I was doing the exercises every day and really feeling I was benefitting from it. At the next appointment I honestly thought she would tell me I was fine and that there was no need to come back again. I thought this until she put me on a different machine from the first appointment. With my right leg it felt like I must be doing it wrong because it was so easy then with my left leg it felt like someone had just attached one of the cables to the wall.
I think I might have gone too hard as driving home from the appointment my leg shook every time I pressed the clutch in. It was funny as first but I just couldn’t stop it and it turned driving away from traffic lights into a quick breakdancing routine. I was determined to do all the exercises she gave me and forced myself over the next three weeks to do them even when I was really tired and just didn’t feel like it.
Finally I am coming to the point of this blog. I went to this week’s appointment feeling I had done everything I could do to strengthen my glutes in the previous three weeks (even throwing in an extra exercise session on a few days). After about 10 mins she turns to me and says
“I can tell you have done your exercises. You are looking way stronger”.
I was absolutely buzzing and immediately starting thinking that I would do an extra set of exercises every day before my next appointment and was focusing even harder on making sure I did the exercise I was doing correctly.
It took a couple of minutes to realise that I was so invigorated because she had simply given me some praise for my efforts. For a long time now in my coaching I have been a believer in praise rather than constant correction but after feeling the effects of some praise firsthand like that I doubt anyone could convince me it isn’t the right way to go.
I had a similar experience a few years ago on a slightly different coaching point. I wanted to be taught how to do something to see what it was like to be a learner again and I chose learning how to ride a motorbike (mainly because I want to buy an old Italian Lambretta Scooter). My instructor could easily be described as very ‘rough and ready’ but a brilliant teacher. During my second lesson I was concentrating on changing gears so much I left the clutch in when I twisted the throttle back. I quickly realised what I had done and released the clutch. He never said a word.
At the end of the session I said I thought it was great how he didn’t tell me I had left the clutch in that time and how he responded could be applied to so many coaching situations just slightly less colourfully
“Mate did I have to tell you with the engine roaring so f—–g loud plus would you have heard me with all that f—–g noise”
Again I was on the receiving end of tactics I use in my own coaching. I knew I had made a mistake just like lots of the players I coach do and I didn’t need to be told it because it was so obvious.
If someone like myself in my late 40’s can be buzzing after getting praised or can be glad that a mistake wasn’t pointed out to them then surely the young players we coach will experience these emotions far stronger. It has certainly reaffirmed some of the ways I coach.
Have to finish now as I want to get back to doing my strengthening exercises. By the way it has only been 3 days but I have done the exercises twice a day since the last appointment.
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Till next time