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Posted in: General

Is suffering necessary to get the most out of talent? What do you think?

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  • robertkmaaye

    The idea that suffering is necessary to get the most out of talent has been in the media recently with the experience of young Ben Stokes in the World 2020 final loss to the West Indies (he was hit for 4 successive 6s in the last over!)  

    Arsene Wenger also touched on it at a recent press conference when talking about the return of Danny Welbeck after a 10 month injury absence. He had read a recent study where it was scientifically proven that somebody, to get to the utmost of his/her talent, has to go through a period of suffering.

    On ConnectedCoaches a while back in the Coaching 13-18 group I also shared the Yann Le Meur infographic ‘The Rocky Road to the Top – why talent needs trauma’ where members Brett Holland and Dannielle Starkie were also of the opinion and commented that talent needs trauma to develop. Nick Ruddock also recently posted the brilliant ‘Beware of Cotton Wool Coaching’ blog where he talks about failure being critical to success.

    I’m curious what everyone’s views are in relation to the sport/level you coach in/at? What do you do when those you coach suffer a setback?

    Is suffering necessary to get the most out of an athlete’s talent?

  • marion

    Hi Rob

    Very good question and further in there is the question of physical suffering or mental suffering to get to the top? Ive often seen with athletes that Ive worked with-those who were from families that had difficulties making it hard on the athlete allowed that athlete to vent via sport or use sport to find 'another world' where as those who always had things easy didn't see the need to suffer to succeed...

  • robertkmaaye
    On 13/04/16 8:55 AM, Marion Clignet said:

    Very good question and further in there is the question of physical suffering or mental suffering to get to the top? Ive often seen with athletes that Ive worked with-those who were from families that had difficulties making it hard on the athlete allowed that athlete to vent via sport or use sport to find 'another world' where as those who always had things easy didn't see the need to suffer to succeed...

    Hi Marion

    Firstly welcome to the ConnectedCoaches community. It’s great to have you on board! When posing the question I was thinking more of suffering from performance related setbacks but you make a very good point! I recall hearing about the legendary Aussie runner Cathy Freeman’s difficult childhood and her saying how running was her escape.

    What’s your approach been when you encounter athletes’ that don’t see the need to suffer (any kind...physical, mental, performance etc) to maximise their potential?

  • marion

    HI Rob

    Thanks! When Ive worked with athletes who don't see the need to suffer we've sat down and had a really good look at their objectives making a stairway if you will to their ultimate objective. In a few cases that turned out to  just being noticed.... by family. So the whole idea of them riding was to get attention, to exist. With one athlete in particular we were able to work through that and discover a real passion for effort-there was an aha moment-but I have come across a few who were just biding time.

  • IanMahoney

    The old adage of 'no pain no gain' is misleading. Obviously to improve you put a muscle under stress it develops and becomes stronger. But is fine line between just doing the right amount of training and Over-training.

    As an athletic coach (mainly endurance running) when I see my athletes tire, slow down or their tecnique 'goes out the window' the session for that night is tweaked, cut short or stopped.

    If an athlete is working hard and always suffering, ulinatley they will become emtionally upset and leave to sport. "Why run, if you don't enjoy it?"

    Learn yourr athletes how much stress can they take and 'tailor' a schedu;e specfically for them. Wait for them to ask you if they can do more. That is truly an athlete centred approach.

  • robertkmaaye
    On 14/04/16 11:41 AM, Ian Mahoney said:

    If an athlete is working hard and always suffering, ulinatley they will become emtionally upset and leave to sport. "Why run, if you don't enjoy it?"

    Hi Ian. Welcome to the ConnectedCoaches community! Totally agree with what you’ve said. I’m always seeing articles and statistics where a sport not being fun anymore is one of the main causes of people dropping out (regardless of age/level they participate at).

    Can I ask have you ever been in a position where one of your athletes has suffered a disappointing performance/setback? Perhaps they didn’t perform in a race as they were expecting and felt particularly low about it. Do you think they were better for that experience and if so how did you go about convincing them of this?

  • JonWoodward74

    I think suffering can be a mis-leading term. Sport is, as is life, full of setbacks and missed moments.

    You would hope Stokes comes back stronger from his own setback, and there are countless other examples (Beckham, the rower Kathy Grainger, Stuart Pearce and those penalty moments).

    I replied to Nick's post around Cotton Wool Coaching with a link to a book I am reading by Jessica Lahey called the Gift of Failure (available from most good bookstores) and we as coaches and parents often create environments where we shelter our young performers from failure.

    I have interesting conversations my nephew, who is the youngest player in a very young rugby league academy set up. they are suffering some big defeats against more estabilshed sides, and we discussed the concept of a Learning Curve. Despite being a typical teenager and poo-poohing my idea initially, we have talked about how the reduction of basic areas will, in time, lead to an improvement in performance. The basic idea being that understanding how and why you are losing/underperforming makes you a better performer in the long run - those who win early, don't always keep winning (there are exceptions!!0

    Finally, I posted an article on Twitter today https://t.co/TglSe5d1Pk around the latest trauma for an athlete, Jordan Spieth, who suffered at the Masters at the weekend. It makes an interesting read....

  • IanMahoney

    one of why athletes training fot heir first marathon were flowing the schedule set except at one time doing a long run. After completing what was set they felt good and carried on and then hurt thier foot. She couldn'r run or cycle on astaioary bike because couldn't push the pedal down agaist the pian anddecided to take up swimming,

    I couldn't convince to come back even using the feel,felt, found method.

    "I now how you feel, I really do, we have all been there doing more than we should have done. I felt the same way but I found thathe body will recver and now I know the consequencies but the health benfits far outweigh and few weeks on the side-lines"

    you can't convince every athlelte who falls foul to the most made mistake.

    It all depends on theie comittment.

    Now in red letttering and under lines "STOP,  If you feel good, great, still STOP DO NO MORE.

    On the other extreme when an athete you have coached or helped to coach have a good race, Its priceless seeing their smiling face, even to a recreational runner I say "Rio, here we come!"

  • robertkmaaye
    On 14/04/16 4:37 PM, Jon Woodward said:

    Finally, I posted an article on Twitter today https://t.co/TglSe5d1Pk around the latest trauma for an athlete, Jordan Spieth, who suffered at the Masters at the weekend. It makes an interesting read....

    Super read Jon thanks for sharing!

  • JonWoodward74

    And another based on Jordan Spieth...

    Jordan Spieth, ‘that collapse’ and how to bounce back from sporting calamity         

    https://theconversation.com/jordan-spieth-that-collapse-and-how-to-bounce-back-from-sporting-calamity-57682

     

     

  • DenzilS

    There is specific physical suffering e.g. hurting your foot and keeping going with your training to 'push through the pain'. That appproach is wrong, I think we are all agreed. Pain means damage, and pushing through it is only going to cause more damage and potentially result in injuries that never heal properly.

    If we widen the definition a bit and include things like losing out on social life because you have to spend the time traiing, or having a coach tear your technique to pieces and start agin, leading to a temporary loss of performance, that would make a more interesting debate.

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