Just putting the finishing touches to the next Members’ Journal – with the main features on two women sharing their extraordinary, very different, both insightful, thought-provoking stories.
We have the concluding part of ultra marathon runner Dr Kat Ganly’s story, covering her epic runs at the five day Dragon’s Back and then the legendary Spartathlon, with deep insights along the way. And special shout out to Confidence Centred Coaching Member Kath who shared with me a write up of her confidence journey in learning something non-sports related: playing the drums. I’ve used this to start a new Great Conversation that all Members can join in about inhibition in learning something new.
To access the Journal, catch up with Kat and join in the Great Conversation you need to sign up to be a Member of Confidence Centred Coaching – its free and open to all sports coaches with an interest in the place of confidence in great coaching practice. So what are you waiting for? Sign up here.
In the meantime, this post gives a flavour of the issues raised in our Great Conversation.
One perhaps obvious reflection is about the parallels between achieving mastery in a particular sport and developing one’s craft in the expressive arts.
I think there is so much to learn from these journeys outside of sport: how a contemporary dancer is able to take hold of a space in order to express themselves through movement; how a painter or sculptor delves deep into their media in order to capture their emotions and perceptions on the canvas or block before them. Kath’s story adds music to the list of arts that we can learn from, particularly about seeking out and nurturing fluency and expression.
We tend not to think of sporting performances as creative endeavours. But there is an exciting sense in which we have a chance to create what US Sports Psychologist Michael Gervais calls “living masterpieces” each time we, or those we coach, stand at the starting line, take to the field or court, ready for what lies ahead.
Secondly, the most striking aspect of Kath’s very open story, in my view comes from a painful contrast between what she perceives as the ease of some of the young people around her at drum school or at concerts, and her own debilitating self-doubts. Back to the creativity theme and I’m reminded of Ken Robinson’s wonderful TED talk in which he points out that to be creative you have to not fear getting things wrong, making mistakes. We are born creative – all of us. For a young child everything is new and they constantly learn by trying without fear of getting it wrong. So where does the inhibiting, crippling fear of failure and being humiliated come from? And how difficult to overcome once ingrained in our psyche.
I know from my own experience - and from so many of those I coach and support in their journeys of learning new skills, facing daunting challenges - that Kath is not alone in these inner struggles.
And finally, these reflections also make me even more alert to the challenge of ensuring that in coaching young people I keep alive and nourish their sense of uninhibited freedom and excitement to learn, to try new things. What a precious gift to play a part in keeping that going against all the pressures they will come under to conform and to be made to feel that they shouldn’t make mistakes.
I’m very much hoping other Members will be ready to share their experiences and insights so we generate a Great Conversation on these big themes at the heart of great coaching.
And you still haven’t signed up? Come on, get on with it. The drums are rolling and there’s so much to learn.