“We do not remember days, we remember moments.”
Do you remember the moment when you were a teenager and Dad or Mom told you to “save money and think about your future”?
You didn’t listen did you.
And remember the moment when you were 18 and some relative told you to “work hard and make something of yourself”?
Ignored them didn’t you.
Life is full of these moments when people, with all good intentions, give you some advice which they think will inspire you to change your life and become all you can be.
And how many times have you told an athlete “make the most of every training session and make the most of your opportunities”?
And they didn’t listen.
So, what makes people listen to the right advice? How do you engage and inspire the hearts and minds of athletes and have them grasp every session, every minute, every moment as if it was their last?
The Magic Moment: When a Coach makes a Difference.
Without doubt the most frustrating times for a coach are when talented athletes, or any athletes for that matter, do not perform to their full potential.
Even worse, is when the coach knows, or at least believes, that the reason why the athlete has not performed to their full potential is due to an error or mistake or flaw in their own coaching. That somehow there was some way to have touched the heart of the athlete, inspired their mind and challenged their soul and magically, miraculously the athlete turned it all around to become all they could be.
The Magic Moment – it was never yours to begin with!
As a coach you are looking to deliver the right information to the right athlete at the right moment: the Magic Moment. The moment when the athlete is as ready to hear the message as you are to give it. That moment when you and your coaching made all the difference.
Knowing coaches the world over, you are always ready for the moment. You live for those moments.
And that’s the problem.
Its not your moment – it never was: it’s the athlete’s.
You can’t hurry magic.
Ever heard the song, “You can’t hurry love?”.
You can’t hurry love.
You just have to wait.
You know love don’t come easy.
It’s a game of give and take.
The Magic Moment is like this. You can’t hurry athletes to be ready to listen to the message any more than your parents or relatives could have forced you to save money or study hard or believe in yourself: you have to be ready to deliver the message when the athlete is ready to hear it.
The Motivation Myth
Motivational speaking is a thriving business. And most of it is a waste of time and money.
Motivation is a myth: or at least the belief that someone with big teeth, a nice suit and some snappy sayings like “If you believe you can or believe you can’t, you are right” can walk into a room and motivate people to do something is a myth….that is unless the people in the room were ready to be motivated.
You can yell, you can scream, you can threaten, you can bribe, you can jump up and down wearing a clown suit, you can come up with all the slogans and sayings known to mankind, you can do whatever you want to but a motivation talk without the Magic Moment is just hot air.
So how do you know when the Magic Moment has arrived?
Sometimes the Magic Moment comes like a bolt of lightning. An athlete will walk up to you and say, “Coach, I want to be the best. Can you help me get to the top?”.
Sometimes it is a subtle thing and the Magic Moment evolves out of series of little changes in behaviour. The athlete arrives early for training and starts warming up without any instructions. Or they stay back to do a little extra training without being asked to. Or they do 11 repetitions in the gym when they were supposed to be doing 10.
And sometimes the Magic Moment just emerges in an unexpected situation like sitting next to an athlete on the bus and in the course of conversation they say, “I would like to break the world record coach. I dream about it sometimes. But I have never felt able to talk to you about it”.
No matter when, where, why or how the Magic Moment presents itself….be ready for it.
Coaches don’t get older…..they just get better at knowing when to use the Magic Wand!
I recently had breakfast with two of the greatest coaches I have ever known with over 80 years collective experience at international level coaching. We were discussing – you guessed it – coaching and I asked one of them why they had been so successful for so long.
He replied, “I believe you take out of coaching what you took into it. You have a box of tricks, skills and abilities that are part of who you are and what you believe. When you begin coaching, you throw everything you have at every athlete every day the same way. It’s tiring. It’s frustrating and it just does not work.
After a while you learn that by saying or doing the right thing at the right moment, you can make a real difference to the life of an athlete. As you get more experienced you just get better at identifying that moment”.
So here’s a challenge.
Look at your own athletes.
Write down their names.
And write next to their names two things:
- How will you recognise when their “Magic Moment” has arrived and:
- What will you say and do when it does?
Share your Magic Moments with us here at the ‘Brain.