Saturday, September 21, 2013

Learn How to Be Your Own Coach

Self-coaching is a challenging topic.  Most people need an outside person to mentor them because they don't have enough self-awareness to be their own coach.  When they make a mistake they don't know what to do to get back on track.  One of my tennis mentors introduced me to self-coaching by showing me how I can use mistakes to guide me.  Here's how it works:

There are only five "mistakes" in tennis.  Missing the ball completely when you swing your racket is the easiest mistake to fix.  You are either too close or too far away when you swing.  By paying attention to this, you can avoid missing the ball.  Great!  Now you eliminated one mistake.  You're down to four.  Here's how you coach yourself on the remaining four mistakes:

  1. Mistake #1:  Hitting the ball too far to the left.  If you're right-handed and you're hitting a forehand, you hit the ball too soon.  Next time, wait a little longer and the ball won't go so far to the left.
  2. Mistake #2:  Hitting the ball too far to the right.  This is due to waiting too long to swing.  To correct yourself, start swinging sooner.
  3. Mistake #3:  Hitting the ball in the net.  Your racket is tilted and pointing towards the ground.  All you need to do is tilt it upward slightly.
  4. Mistake #4:  Hitting the ball too far past the baseline.  Your racket it pointing towards the sky.  Simply tilt it downward.
Here's where self-coaching comes in.  Now that you're aware of the four mistakes every tennis player makes, all you need to do is use the feedback from your last mistake to correct yourself.  Good mistakes come from over-correction.  This means you made an adjustment but you over-corrected.  That's great news.  Keep correcting until the ball lands in the court.  It's all about timing and tilting.  You don't need anyone to coach you on this because your mistakes guide you and you already know from your last mistake that you either need to slow down your swing, speed up your swing or tilt your racket up or down.  That's it.

Everything in life comes down to mastering the basics.  First, figure out what those basics are.  Make it simple.  Then, use your mistakes to help you coach yourself.

Are you ready to be your own coach?  Let me know.  I would love to hear from you.  Maybe I'll see you on the courts.  Have a great day.

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