“Don’t sweat the small stuff and it’s all small stuff”
This is a common refrain from coaches of all sports. Because maximum performance is so difficult, it must follow that it is determined by small margins. Interpreted in this way coaches can then focus on, and attempt to control, ever smaller details of the team’s life both on and off the court. Eventually controlling and eliminating these small, seemingly insignificant, details becomes the main work of the coach. After all, there are no small things when it comes to maximum performance.
But what if those small things are actually insignificant and they only become important because the coach constantly harps on them. On one hand coaches want their players to be resilient*. On the other hand coaches tell their players that maximum performance is impossible unless you take care of all the small things.
‘The light must be perfect for practice.’
‘No talking during warm up’
‘The meal is must be at this time’
‘Pepper in that direction’
Maybe by increasing the list of the components of maximum performance the coach actually makes that performance less likely, rather than more likely. Maybe the coach is actually providing a list of excuses for poor performance.
Maybe coaches can better teach their players resilience by ignoring the small things.
*I really don’t think not crying when you lose a game should be considered resilient but we’ll let it slide for now.
Read about the great new Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.