There is an incredibly popular and best-selling series of books called “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” There are now too many versions of that series for me to even keep count, but I have read many of them
(NOTE: There is NO “Chicken Soup for the Gymnast’s Soul.” as of yet – I’ll probably have to write it myself.)
The “Chicken Soup” books are full of inspirational stories of a positive nature.
From a Single Comment…
One of the recurring and common themes of the “Chicken Soup” books is that many lives have been changed by a single positive expression of encouragement from someone in the person’s past. A single sentence or a few words of praise and encouragement led to a transformational change and a lifelong pattern of success. Many times it was a teacher who was the one who changed the person’s life.
Coaches are Teachers
The best coaches are teachers and see their jobs as an ongoing process of teaching moments. Studies of some of the greatest coaches in other sports have shown that they spent at least 70% of their time teaching. Coaches could be responsible for being the one to say a sentence that will transform a young gymnast for a great gymnastics career and life or one of their statements could have a completely negative effect on a gymnast. This places huge responsibility (but gives coaches a great opportunity) to be a force for good in their gymnasts’ lives.
Hypnotists Recognize the Potential Effect of a Single Sentence
Hypnotists are extremely careful with the language they use, all of the time, and especially when subjects are in a heightened state of suggestibility. One of the most common reasons people get hypnotized is to remove the cause of some problem they have, like fear of flying. When hypnotists regress patients to the initial cause, it is surprising how often it does turn out to be a single, simple statement that is the root cause. A subject has been deathly afraid of flying for twenty years and the cause turns out to be a single statement by their mother 22 years ago, before a flight (that the mother and a casual observer might consider innocuous). Words Matter!
The Power of a Single Comment
It should be obvious that a single sentence can have lifelong positive or negative power and long-lasting effects. Coaches are making comments all day long, and they need to carefully consider (before they speak) the potential ramifications of what they are about to say, and they need to be in control of their own emotions before they say anything. Everything a coach to a gymnast says is received, interpreted and responded to emotionally. The potential is there for coaches to be the greatest good in a gymnast’s life or be a negative influence.
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