It’s been said that it takes at least ten years of deliberate practice to reach the level of expert. That you must consciously perform and refine the requisite skills of a profession in order to get better. I certainly agree with these statements. But I also think an expert isn’t defined by how much the practice but by what they practice. Good old quality over quantity.
As an athlete turned coach, wearing both hats at the same time, I welcome the challenge. I’m always striving to be the best I can be: researching, reading, practicing, devoting time and asking other coaches what they do to improve and why they do it. I have accumulated a wealth of knowledge from all levels of coaches over my years as an athlete. From novice, to competent to expert coaches. I’ve had them all. And they each had something to teach. Some application I could take and apply into my training in both sport and the real world.
Athletics provides the perfect platform to constantly strive for greatness. If you find yourself plateauing or stagnant, it’s time to examine why. Sometimes it doesn’t have to do with what you’re doing on the bike or court. Sometimes its what is going on interpersonally. And sometimes it’s your coach. If they’re not willing to grow, how can they expect you to?
Next time you hang out with your coach, take a look at their bookshelves and browse at the titles of the books. Seeing or not seeing titles can indicate where your coach is in the novice–>competent–>expert level. If you want to continue to improve, you should ask the same of your coach.
For the record, my bookshelves are full of sports psychology books, something I’ve been interested in since I started cycling. I’m also looking to improve my knowledge. Please share what you’re reading!