When you remove all the fluff and get down to the nitty gritty, coaching is primarily about feedback. How you get coached, the quality and quantity of feedback, is important. Too much feedback, or criticism without corrective suggestions, eventually backfires.

Frequently athletes can’t choose their coach. On the other hand, athletes benefit from coaching. Your coach does have a responsibility to coach you well. Only part of the burden lies on your coaches shoulders.

In an ideal world all coaches would be excellent communicators. Having a coach who knows how to motivate athletes is a gift. Instead of solely relying on your coach, you need to pick up the slack and figure out how to self coach.

Did you know there are two types of coaching? External feedback athletes believe is the primary form of coaching. Your coach, race results and other team members are some easy examples of external feedback.

Internal feedback requires you to figure out what is working in your favor, what is working against you and when to make adjustments.  Effectively using your internal GPS to self coach instead of only relying on external feedback will dramatically improve your performance.

Why is this important?

  • For crucial moments when you are unable to consult with your coach.
  • It places the burden of responsibility for your performance back onto you.
  • Self directed athletes are proactive. They take initiative.
  • As you become attuned to your body you can self correct for improved performance.
  • Personal responsibility is a quality of successful athletes.

Does that interest you? Here are some ways you can begin to self coach.

  • Consistency. Add skills training into your practice schedule.
  • Ongoing improvement.  Explore ways you can continue to refine your technique. Refuse to only accept the status quo.
  • Awareness. Being present and in the moment increases self awareness. Learn to self correct physically and psychologically.
  • Comfort Zone. Playing safe keeps you from stretching beyond your comfort zone.
  • Hear feedback. Constructive feedback is important because some things are invisible to you.

How many ways are you already self coaching?

Assuming personal responsibility is a game-changer. With self coaching you are learning to make adjustments in form, strategy and mindset. Instead of waiting for directions, you take action. Internally a positive shift happens when you step up to the plate. Taking charge of your performance, learning to self coach, leads to increased self awareness. As you see improvement your confidence grows.

Elite athletes realize they can always do more. Once they reach a goal, then it is time to set a new goal. They are challenged by seeing how far they can stretch themselves. Elite athletes don’t settle for just being good enough. The next challenge to take on is waiting for you.

Striving for excellence requires you to be in the driver’s seat of your destiny. Self coaching helps you to master your skills. It requires dedication, consistency and ongoing evaluation. No one else is going to work harder on your goals than you. The benefits, however, from self coaching and reaching your goals are priceless.

Challenge: Beating up on yourself, inner criticism and judgment makes progress difficult. Focusing on the negative only slows you down.  Use thought stopping to break the habit. Wear a rubber band on your wrist. Each time you begin to say something negative, to yourself or someone else, snap the rubber band. Sounds silly, but it works. You’ll be amazed at how frequently you automatically say negative things or have critical thoughts. The next step is to replace those negative thoughts with something positive to self correct. Try this out and let me know how it goes.