Sometimes we need to know when to keep quiet! We have a lot to say in practice. Skill or technical correction is a critical part of our role. And when our athletes are rehearsing or training to competition standard, we should use our moment with the athlete, because in the game they are on their own. And there's the thing. In an earlier post, I talked about the need to train the way we wish to compete, and that includes training athletes to draw on their own resources to make corrections. I do this in two ways.
First, if the workout require a set number of repetitions, let the athlete or team complete the repetitions a set of five or 10 or whatever. As a rule, I don't intervene until the set is over. Then I ask the athletes for their comments first before giving mine. We want them to learn, to make adjustments during the practice repetitions - so let them learn and adjust. Too many of us have too much to say too often.
I used the second approach today with a weightlifter. At the end of a session of squat cleans, she had arrived at a personal best by over 8kg. Quite something in itself. Having done the build up, discussed the approach, she made the attempt - and missed. Although in her sight line, I kept quiet. She wasn't looking to me, she was clearly determined to make the lift. We had focused on a specific technical element all workout. Forty seconds later, she stepped up to the bar and made the lift - a new PR - all class!
That's what competition is about, if there's no need to say anything - don't. The question we must ask ourselves, are we sufficiently self-aware to know when to remain silent? Because if you aren't, you're unlikely to read the situation where the athlete has got the situation under control. The unspoken words today? "Coach, I got this".