Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Stone Soup Coaches

When my kids were little, one of their favorite stories was "Stone Soup". It goes like this:

A poor and hungry traveler arrives in a town known for its stinginess. All of the people claim to have no food to share. He says that's okay because he has a magic stone that can make soup. He asks for a pot of water and drops in the stone. After a while, he says that it would be much better if it had carrots. Someone brings him a carrot. He adds, it would be better with some beef. Someone brings him beef. In the end, there is a terrific soup with all of these ingredients added by the townspeople while they are marveling at the miracle of soup from a stone.

It struck me that many coaches are like the stone. Athletes believe that whatever coach they are training with at the moment is the magic ingredient that is bringing them success, when the victories are really due to the work ethic, physical ability and skills the athlete brings and has nothing at all to do with the coach. Think about it.

You'll see a club with a lot of successful athletes and think it is the coach, but often when you look a little more closely, you'll find that those athletes all came from different clubs where they had been equally successful. If you come back in a year or two, many of those athletes will be at different clubs again, where they will still be successful. The common element isn't the coach, but the athlete.

I am not saying that there are no good coaches, but that there are far fewer and their impact is far less than generally believed.

Sometimes, when I see people moving to train at a certain club or a certain gym, I'm tempted to warn them, but I don't. There are a few reasons. First of all, they didn't ask me. Secondly, my own children don't heed my advice half the time, so what makes me think other people's children would. Most of the reason, though, is that people who are moving for the coach or gym who is the "magic bullet" are probably doomed to failure anyway.

As John Saylor says,

"The problem with moving to fix your problems, is that you take yourself with you. And sometimes, that's the worst guy you could bring."

For other athletes, that's the best guy. I have a nickname for those athletes. I call them "Soup".

Feel smarter after reading this blog? You'd be even smarter if you played our games.

Games that make you smarter - for kids and people who can remember having been a kid.


Anonymous said...

The right teacher can make all the difference in the Martial Arts, and in anything.

Aira Bongco @Noobpreneur.com said...

I agree. The teacher shapes everything. Sometimes, a child can change just because of the teachings of the teacher and that is also the same with just about anything - even martial arts.