Last weekend my son struck out the side in a baseball game.
The next day a friend came over to work out with us.
He asked how the game went and I gave him the scoop about how my youngin’ whiffed three batters in a row.
He then turns to my son and says, “You’re a natural.”
I immediately recoiled and said, “He’s a natural at knowing he better practice if he’s going to be any good.”
There are two extremes when it comes to coaching.
One is to criticize severely and never offer anything positive.
The other is to flatter and praise too early and too often, which can and often does cause the person being stroked to lose interest. After all, if you’re being
coddled before victory, what’s the point in striving to succeed?
I prefer the middle path. It’s called teaching those you love and those you coach to practice, practice, practice.
Regardless of who praises you and for what – you practice.
Regardless of who criticizes you and for what – you practice.
I believe in praising others for that which deserves praise and can be duplicated.
Telling someone he’s a natural is not one of those situations. It’s feedback that does nothing to move you along the path. It makes you stop and think, “Am I really?” instead of thinking, “What can I DO to get even better?”
“You’re a natural,” someone says.
“So what?” I reply.
Saying someone is a natural is yet another way to claim a person’s talent is genetic – and most people are programmed to believe that genetics rule the world. They don’t. I’ve beaten plenty of the so-called genetic freaks in my day – and watched tons of others lose to those who were willing to train.
Show me how you practice – and later still, how you play – and even more so, how you react to victory – as well as defeat – then we’ll see how ‘natural’ you are.
When you are at your best, when you’re most natural at what you do – that’s the day when you know you’ve put in your time and paid your dues via the power of repetition.
That’s the moment in time when you know what it really feels like to feel natural.
When it comes to physical fitness and weight loss, have you swallowed the genetics pie.
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