It Takes Time

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One of the most common refrains that I hear from coaches, assistant coaches, physical coaches and physios is ‘I told him to do it’! The sentence that proceeds that refrain typically refrains something the player should have done but didn’t.

Often it is technical – Player X should use a cross step. ‘I told him to do it!’
Other times it is physical – Player Y should be doing more prevention exercises. ‘I told him to do it!’
Or – Player Z needs to go to the physio. ‘I told him to do it!’
Sometimes there is even a follow up ‘… I told him 10 times!’

And my answer is always some version of, ‘Yes, you did. It is normal that players don’t understand / change / learn the first time they hear a new piece of information. Everyone takes a different amount of time, so you have to say it again and again and again. Until they do understand / change / learn.

Like Platonov says so well, you need to be like a drop of water on a stone.

John Wooden put the same idea a little differently when he said “You haven’t taught until they have learnt”.

Phil Jackson noted that players learn when they are ready to learn and not before. Or at least I think he did. I remember the quote but have never found it again. I am sure someone said it 😀

Johan Cruyff had his own version of the concept when he said ‘you see it when you understand it’.

The point is that the coach must be patient and persistant. The coach’s job is not to tell people what to do, it is to ensure they learn. And that takes time. Often more time than you want. “Patience is an essential quality of the coach’s profession”.


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