Support vs. Scrutiny

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Nick Bollettieri encouraging Monica Puig in Prague. Photo Ezra/Fanshare

When we coach we look for things that are wrong. We look for things that aren’t perfect.

Athletes usually coach themselves in the same way. They tell themselves ” No! Don’t do that.”

When analyzing video tape, they look for mistakes to correct.

Good coaches and players do this….but great ones emphasize what’s right, what feels good and just letting it happen. They find their flow.

Andre Agassi watched video clips of himself before matches. Not of what to improve but he watched a highlight reel of himself making great shots. It gave him confidence and reminded him of the fact that if he can do it once he can do it again.

Rickey Henderson, arguably the best lead-off batter in Major League Baseball history, had his batting coaches tell him when he hit correctly rather than point out when he needed to “fix” something. By nature, people don’t like to be judged or criticized. They want assistance and support.

This may be a bit counter intuitive. If the person never does it correctly when do you coach them?

Coaching is more like guiding. It comes from within the player – inside out, not outside in. Coach from the inside out and you’ll bring out the best in your students.

It takes patience to not say something until it’s right. I remember Nick Bollettieri coaching a young tennis player and when he hit the right forehand he exclaimed ‘Now that’s the way. That’s it!’ The way he exclaimed so energetically and enthusiastically I can guarantee you that that player remembered that moment.

That’s what you want. Reinforce the positive. Celebrate the small successes. Care more, critique less. 

Parents who support their children in sports rather than critique or scrutinize them get it. Wayne Bryan used to say the only question you should ask your children after a match is “do you want water or Gatorade?” He did pretty well with Bob & Mike Bryan, the best doubles team of all time.

Care more. Critique less. Support often. Scrutinize less. Smile more. Celebrate more. 

I always welcome feedback at angeloarossetti @ gmail .com.

You can learn more about a couple of tennis GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ that I have been a part of:

Our Inspiration – 2 World Records 2 Minute Video
FOX News Story
Inspirational Tennis Story: Tennis Begins with Love
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Support vs. Scrutiny