The original title of this post was 'Impress your Coach' but I thought it was more appropriate to call it 'Getting Better at Getting Better'.
You see, almost everyone in your Sport is improving. You need to accelerate your improvement. You need to get better at getting better.
Get there Early (and Get Ready)
Even if it's only five or ten minutes before training, spending that time warming up, foam rolling, stretching, working on your weakness or practicing that activity that you didn't quite nail in the last session will help improve your abilities or reduce your chance of injury.
Let's be clear here: it's not about that ONE time you do it.
It's the accumulation of 5 minutes, before EVERY session that starts to add up over the preseason, over the season and into Finals or Championship time that you'll start to see the difference.
And that is when you'll need it the most!
No doubt about it: engaged Athletes improve more than submissive drones.
If something doesn't quite make sense, or you want to understand it at a deeper level, ask for more information.
Understanding why your Coach wants you to do something in a specific way, or why they want you to do a specific activity will help you plan your time away from the Coach.
Answer Questions, Honestly
If your Coach asks a question, have a crack at the answer.
They are not trying to make you feel stupid nor catch you out, they are probably trying to gage the depth of your understanding.
The deeper your understanding, the less they might need to explain... The less your understanding, the more they might need to explain.
Either way, it's probably not a test, just a way of ensuring they got the message across effectively.
And when you do answer, give your honest answer, not what you think your Coach wants to hear.
They're probably using that information as feedback to understand where your program is and where it needs to go.
Aim for Improvement, not Perfection
No one expects you to complete the task, challenge or activity perfectly first up. In fact, trying to be perfect will almost always hinder your development in the long term.
What every Coach wants to see is a shift towards doing it better each time; of moving forward.
Don't get down on yourself if others in your team or squad can do it better than you can, that's not the point.
The point is that every session you're getting a little bit better than you were the last time.
After the session, or away from Training, ask your Coach for specific feedback about how you're going and what you need to improve on.
It might be based on your last few Competitions or a Training block you are currently in.
This feedback can be used for you to 1) plan your sessions away from the Coach; 2) focus especially hard during certain parts of training; or 3) what you should be doing before training even starts.
Ask to Work on Something Specific
When the session ends don't sprint off.
Get a few more reps done while you're still warm. Or grab a buddy and ask them to help you work on the thing they do better than you.
Alternatively, offer to help someone who was struggling with something in training. Give them some guidance on how they can improve. It might not make you a better Athlete but it'll definitely make you a better person.
Say Thank You
The 'winningest' team of all time, the New Zealand All Blacks, have a saying 'better people make better All Blacks'.
With that in mind, saying 'thank you', helping pack up after training, leaving the gym in a better condition that what you found it on... All of these actions will help make you a better person.
Do these things, follow these processes and you too can put yourself in a position to Improve More.
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