All kinds of interesting things have happened this week, which is just the way we like it!
Our swimmer who was the focus of our discussions last week spoke to the team in our weekly meeting discussing the emotions and reactions that she/he had after the experience of “bailing” in the 100 freestyle event. Apology was made and accepted and we are all moving forward with an increased awareness of what is needed to excel at this sport, indeed at any activity of our choice.
We had a frank and open discussion with the Dad involved and learned that there is a lot of pressure at home to get good grades and hit the proverbial “4.0”. In the swim as soon as the swimmer figured out it wasn’t going to be a 4.0 the plug was pulled and therein lays the problem.
We have just finished a lengthy and what some would call an arduous state wide examination on the Fundamentals of Coaching. Putting aside our personal biases, one of several things that caught our eye was the discussion of how different folks view success.
The point made was that some look at it through an “ego” driven viewpoint whereas others a “task” perspective. The athlete who views his/her participation in sport from the “ego” side is preoccupied with the adequacy of their abilities compared to others and is focused on the outcome of the contest. The athlete who looks at her/his participation in sport from the “task” viewpoint feels successful when they gain skill knowledge. They try hard to perform to the best of their abilities, experience personal improvement and are focused on what they are doing at the moment.
As coaches, we are clearer now on our swimmer from last week who waved the white flag in the 100 free. It is a mark of an athlete who is more ego driven than task driven.
It is critical, in our viewpoint, that all coaches – from developmental to the elite level – understand that task/process orientation is much more likely to achieve greater results than simple ego/result orientation. Yes, every athlete and coach has a goal in mind. The more sustainable path is through the process…in our occasionally humble opinion!