Words to Eliminate From Your Coaching: Part 1

About the Author

Chet Morjaria

For me.

These words seem to find their way into coaching instructions all too often.

“OK. Try that again for me.”
“Next time, pause at the knee for me?”
“Can you do another set of ten air squats for me?”

These two tiny words seem innocent. They are a way of softening the blow, of trying to make the instruction a little less direct. Sometimes we just tag these two words on the end of coaching cues and instructions out of habit. In some cases, it points to a lack of confidence. In others, it’s to fill the silence. And in a few cases, it’s the mark of a coach who, consciously or subconsciously, is trying to create a dependence on his- or her-self as a coach.

There are three strong reasons to eliminate these two words from your coaching. They all relate to creating an empowered, humanistic coaching practice that prioritises your athletes.

  1. You’re asking them to perform “for you”. We should be encouraging athletes to explore movement for themselves, and to be autonomous in their choices and approach. Asking them to perform an action for you is the opposite of this.
  2. “For me” doesn’t create independent and empowered athletes. Do this for me, and I’ll give you a reward. Asking an athlete to do something for you, and more than likely providing them with verbal love and praise afterwards, is a behaviourist approach to coaching.
  3.  We should be using as few words as possible within our coaching instructions. There’s a ton of research to show how more words means more attention on us, and less attention on the task at hand. Which is not what we want. Say more with less.

So, can you stop saying “for me”, for me? (It sounds a bit ridiculous now, right?)

Try these alternatives instead:

“OK. Try that again.”
“Next time, pause at the knee.”
“Can you do another set of ten air squats?”

Language matters. Give the instructions, and leave them there to be acted upon.

Comments

  1. Great read Chet – direct and to the point.
    Not something I do myself, but I can understand why coaches might say it, and also why upon reading ‘it sounds like you are asking them to perform for you’.
    Definitely something to be aware of.

    1. Author

      Thanks for the comment Beth! I wanted to write a direct and to the point piece in line with being direct and to the point with coaching instruction.

  2. This is great and so good to point out. I never like hearing those two words, as a teacher and coach it does take the power away from the student or athlete. Admittedly I hear myself say them sometimes and always question its us. I now have three strong reasons to eliminate and to explain to my coaches why not to use ‘for me’!

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