Too often do we get caught up in the content. We believe that simply knowing more ‘stuff’ is what’s important. Or that just by putting more information in front of our athletes they’ll be better off for it. Knowledge is power, right? Unfortunately, knowledge and the ability to apply it do not necessarily go hand in hand. And what’s more, because access to knowledge is now easier than ever before there’s no real advantage in knowing something until we need it. Knowledge is only power when you have a reason to apply it. And this means asking yourself the question ‘why’?
Just the other day I met with a young coach of mine to do some planning. One of her goals for 2015 was to read more. Fantastic, I thought. Reading is a great way to expose yourself to new things and gather more understanding on a topic that interests you. However, the problem was in her reason for doing so. As she put it, “because I want to know more so I can be better at explaining things to my athletes”. Cool! Coaching for understanding (not just doing) is vital. Absolutely! But what things, exactly, did she want to read about?
When you ask yourself this question, things become a lot more meaningful. Content (knowledge) must be purposeful for it to have an effect. We must have clear intentions behind what we are learning about and passing on to our athletes. “Why do I want to learn about this?
Consider basing your learning objectives on solving problems.
- What is the problem?
- Can I solve it myself? If no, why not?
- What do I need to be better at?
- What specific knowledge am I missing to solve this probelm?
- How do I best aquire it?
Not only will this focus your efforts, but the new knowledge you acquire will have an immediate impact on your athletes. For my coach, deciding to read more was great. But deciding on exactly why she wanted to read more was far more important.