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Your Step's Too Short

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Andy Black

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Back in 1990 I was on the first day of a course to become an Assistant Club Coach for Track and Field Athletics.

We were welcomed and our first instructor was introduced - some old chap ... who just happened to be one of the top freaking coaches in England!

Wow, one of the top coaches in the country turned up to teach us newbies? I was impressed, and dumb-struck.

He commented on this too, asking whether we thought the best coaches should coach the Olympic athletes, or coach the kids who've just turned up to their first training session.

We figured the best coaches should coach the best athletes, but he just smiled and shook his head.

He reasoned that the Olympic athletes can pretty much coach themselves. That they're so passionate about the sport they'd overcome whatever problems they had... even if it meant asking for help.

Whereas... the young child who's just started in athletics needs the best coach they can get. So they get started on the right foot. So they don't get injured. So they pick up the right skills in a way they understand. And most importantly, so they enjoy themselves and don't drop out of the sport, or even worse, drop out of sports altogether.

We were going to become assistant club coaches in grass roots clubs. We were going to be the first coaches the youngest kids would interact with. This guy's mission, in the two hours he had us, was to make us good enough coaches to keep those kids coming back.


To this day, I still remember that introduction, and I remember the story he then told us to make us better coaches.

That story had a profound affect on me and I remember it every single day.


We were told to imagine a young lad in school who shows some talent at the triple jump.

The P.E. teacher tries hard to convince the boy to go along to the local athletics club for a try out. She's sure the lad will do well and, with a bit of training, he might be able to make it to county level at least.

The boy lacks confidence though.

Eventually, after a lot of persuading, he heads down to the local athletics stadium with an introduction from the P.E. teacher.

The athletics coach asks him to warm up and "show us what you can do".

After warming up and stretching, the lad measures out his steps on the runway, readies himself, then charges towards the sandpit.

Hop. Step. Jump.

He lands in the sandpit, scrambles out and shakes the sand off.

The coach says: "Your step's too short."

The lad is crest-fallen.

He packs up, goes home, and never returns.

Four words uttered, and that talent is never fulfilled.


Instead of saying: "Your step's too short.", the coach could have said "You've a great hop, and you've a great jump. If we could get your step as good as your hop and your jump, then you'd get an extra metre into the pit."

You've said the same thing, but in a different way.

It's only a small difference, but it can make the world of difference.




Some forum members are still in school, some have mental health issues, some don’t have English as their mother tongue, some are going through dark times, many are from backgrounds where entrepreneurial thinking was discouraged, and the vast majority are in their own way.


At it's heart, entrepreneurship is about creating and adding value. At the heart of adding value is helping people.

Want to be a better entrepreneur? Exercise that helping muscle.


Entrepreneurs are also leaders. They don't just blindly follow and consume.

Leaders get the best out of those around them, often by helping them become the best version of themselves.

Want to be a better leader? Exercise that leading muscle.



(Originally posted in this thread.)
 
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woken

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Back in 1990 I was on the first day of a course to become an Assistant Club Coach for Track and Field Athletics.

We were welcomed and our first instructor was introduced - some old chap ... who just happened to be one of the top freaking coaches in England!

Wow, one of the top coaches in the country turned up to teach us newbies? I was impressed, and dumb-struck.

He commented on this too, asking whether we thought the best coaches should coach the Olympic athletes, or coach the kids who've just turned up to their first training session.

We figured the best coaches should coach the best athletes, but he just smiled and shook his head.

He reasoned that the Olympic athletes can pretty much coach themselves. That they're so passionate about the sport they'd overcome whatever problems they had... even if it meant asking for help.

Whereas... the young child who's just started in athletics needs the best coach they can get. So they get started on the right foot. So they don't get injured. So they pick up the right skills in a way they understand. And most importantly, so they enjoy themselves and don't drop out of the sport, or even worse, drop out of sports altogether.

We were going to become assistant club coaches in grass roots clubs. We were going to be the first coaches the youngest kids would interact with. This guy's mission, in the two hours he had us, was to make us good enough coaches to keep those kids coming back.


To this day, I still remember that introduction, and I remember the story he then told us to make us better coaches.

That story had a profound affect on me and I remember it every single day.


We were told to imagine a young lad in school who shows some talent at the triple jump.

The P.E. teacher tries hard to convince the boy to go along to the local athletics club for a try out. She's sure the lad will do well and, with a bit of training, he might be able to make it to county level at least.

The boy lacks confidence though.

Eventually, after a lot of persuading, he heads down to the local athletics stadium with an introduction from the P.E. teacher.

The athletics coach asks him to warm up and "show us what you can do".

After warming up and stretching, the lad measures out his steps on the runway, readies himself, then charges towards the sandpit.

Hop. Step. Jump.

He lands in the sandpit, scrambles out and shakes the sand off.

The coach says: "Your step's too short."

The lad is crest-fallen.

He packs up, goes home, and never returns.

Four words uttered, and that talent is never fulfilled.


Instead of saying: "Your step's too short.", the coach could have said "You've a great hop, and you've a great jump. If we could get your step as good as your hop and your jump, then you'd get an extra metre into the pit."

You've said the same thing, but in a different way.

It's only a small difference, but it can make the world of difference.




Some forum members are still in school, some have mental health issues, some don’t have English as their mother tongue, some are going through dark times, many are from backgrounds where entrepreneurial thinking was discouraged, and the vast majority are in their own way.


At it's heart, entrepreneurship is about creating and adding value. At the heart of adding value is helping people.

Want to be a better entrepreneur? Exercise that helping muscle.


Entrepreneurs are also leaders. They don't just blindly follow and consume.

Leaders get the best out of those around them, often by helping them become the best version of themselves.

Want to be a better leader? Exercise that leading muscle.



(Originally posted in this thread.)
This is preaching what you do.
Andy, you’re something else. Every post is packed with gold gems. I truly appreciate your input here.
I’ve learned a lot just by reading through your posts. Thank you!

I never shared this before.

Just like the guy trying out jumping for the first time, here I was, trying all different kind of sports.

I discovered in the beginning, by accident, that I was really fast for my age, so I gave the sprint a try.

The rush, the adrenaline of feeling the wind pushing against me as I was sprinting towards the finish line hooked me.
I began training everyday, some days up to 3 times a day.

As I was making meaningful progress, I figured I should join some sprinting competitions.

Started up locally, winning medals after medals.

I started in my city, then went to the county, then qualifiers for the national.

The winners in the national event were going straight to the Olympics.

Bear in mind at this point I’ve never had a coach before.
I choose “the best” coach there was in my city at the time. Everybody respected and recommended him.

First time on the track with him, I set up my best personal record up to that time.

His response : “ this is not good enough and you’ll never make it. “

That was enough to shatter 5 years of self sustained confidence.

Bear in mind I’ve never heard somebody talking down on me before, especially on something I was really passionate about.

I never went to the national event. I found comfort in alcohol and cigarettes.

Never ran again since.

Looking back on it I should have reacted differently. But that is history now and can’t take it back.

For the record, my 100m sprint record was 10.01 at 16yo in 2012.

The world record in 2009 was 9.58.
 
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BizyDad

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Instead of saying: "Your step's too short.", the coach could have said "You've a great hop, and you've a great jump. If we could get your step as good as your hop and your jump, then you'd get an extra metre into the pit."

You've said the same thing, but in a different way.

It's only a small difference, but it can make the world of difference.
Needed this today. I've been the "Your step's too short" type of leader, but I'm working on getting better...
 
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Andy Black

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May 20, 2014
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Ireland
This is preaching what you do.
Andy, you’re something else. Every post is packed with gold gems. I truly appreciate your input here.
I’ve learned a lot just by reading through your posts. Thank you!

I never shared this before.

Just like the guy trying out jumping for the first time, here I was, trying all different kind of sports.

I discovered in the beginning, by accident, that I was really fast for my age, so I gave the sprint a try.

The rush, the adrenaline of feeling the wind pushing against me as I was sprinting towards the finish line hooked me.
I began training everyday, some days up to 3 times a day.

As I was making meaningful progress, I figured I should join some sprinting competitions.

Started up locally, winning medals after medals.

I started in my city, then went to the county, then qualifiers for the national.

The winners in the national event were going straight to the Olympics.

Bear in mind at this point I’ve never had a coach before.
I choose “the best” coach there was in my city at the time. Everybody respected and recommended him.

First time on the track with him, I set up my best personal record up to that time.

His response : “ this is not good enough and you’ll never make it. “

That was enough to shatter 5 years of self sustained confidence.

Bear in mind I’ve never heard somebody talking down on me before, especially on something I was really passionate about.

I never went to the national event. I found comfort in alcohol and cigarettes.

Never ran again since.

Looking back on it I should have reacted differently. But that is history now and can’t take it back.

For the record, my 100m sprint record was 10.01 at 16yo in 2012.

The world record in 2009 was 9.58.
Holy crap. 10.01? At 16?

That’s a sad story. People don’t realise how a little throw-away comment can have such an impact on others.

There’s so much power in words.

On the flip side… have you ever praised a child and watched their chest puff out and their face break into a beaming smile?

Our job as parents is to fill our child’s barrel of self-esteem up so much it doesn’t matter how many fingers poke holes.
 

originalMJT

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Back in 1990 I was on the first day of a course to become an Assistant Club Coach for Track and Field Athletics.

We were welcomed and our first instructor was introduced - some old chap ... who just happened to be one of the top freaking coaches in England!

Wow, one of the top coaches in the country turned up to teach us newbies? I was impressed, and dumb-struck.

He commented on this too, asking whether we thought the best coaches should coach the Olympic athletes, or coach the kids who've just turned up to their first training session.

We figured the best coaches should coach the best athletes, but he just smiled and shook his head.

He reasoned that the Olympic athletes can pretty much coach themselves. That they're so passionate about the sport they'd overcome whatever problems they had... even if it meant asking for help.

Whereas... the young child who's just started in athletics needs the best coach they can get. So they get started on the right foot. So they don't get injured. So they pick up the right skills in a way they understand. And most importantly, so they enjoy themselves and don't drop out of the sport, or even worse, drop out of sports altogether.

We were going to become assistant club coaches in grass roots clubs. We were going to be the first coaches the youngest kids would interact with. This guy's mission, in the two hours he had us, was to make us good enough coaches to keep those kids coming back.


To this day, I still remember that introduction, and I remember the story he then told us to make us better coaches.

That story had a profound affect on me and I remember it every single day.


We were told to imagine a young lad in school who shows some talent at the triple jump.

The P.E. teacher tries hard to convince the boy to go along to the local athletics club for a try out. She's sure the lad will do well and, with a bit of training, he might be able to make it to county level at least.

The boy lacks confidence though.

Eventually, after a lot of persuading, he heads down to the local athletics stadium with an introduction from the P.E. teacher.

The athletics coach asks him to warm up and "show us what you can do".

After warming up and stretching, the lad measures out his steps on the runway, readies himself, then charges towards the sandpit.

Hop. Step. Jump.

He lands in the sandpit, scrambles out and shakes the sand off.

The coach says: "Your step's too short."

The lad is crest-fallen.

He packs up, goes home, and never returns.

Four words uttered, and that talent is never fulfilled.


Instead of saying: "Your step's too short.", the coach could have said "You've a great hop, and you've a great jump. If we could get your step as good as your hop and your jump, then you'd get an extra metre into the pit."

You've said the same thing, but in a different way.

It's only a small difference, but it can make the world of difference.




Some forum members are still in school, some have mental health issues, some don’t have English as their mother tongue, some are going through dark times, many are from backgrounds where entrepreneurial thinking was discouraged, and the vast majority are in their own way.


At it's heart, entrepreneurship is about creating and adding value. At the heart of adding value is helping people.

Want to be a better entrepreneur? Exercise that helping muscle.


Entrepreneurs are also leaders. They don't just blindly follow and consume.

Leaders get the best out of those around them, often by helping them become the best version of themselves.

Want to be a better leader? Exercise that leading muscle.



(Originally posted in this thread.)
Reminds me of the book how to make friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie.
 

Andy Black

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originalMJT

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Ing

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The book was a milestone in my life. I read id in my teenage years and it opend me thousands of doors in every situation of life. Worth to read!
 

Johnny boy

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The kid that packed it up and quit deserves to lose and the people who got told "your step's too short" who just improved and made changes are winners. And the kids who didn't have to get told their step was too short because they spent all last year training and sacrificing are the champions.
 
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