First things first: IFAST was recently featured in a very nice article in the Indy Star! Woohoo!
And now we return to our regularly scheduled post:
“Do it wrong.”
You probably don’t hear that from your coach on a regular basis. After all, isn’t it our job to tell you how to do a particular exercise correctly?
But there I was, telling one of my clients to do it “wrong.”
See, it’s liberating to be given the freedom to do something incorrectly.
Normally, we try really hard to get things right. We get frustrated if we make mistakes, like letting our knees cave in, or losing our balance.
And sometimes we try so hard to get it right that we end up tripping over our own thoughts.
How many times have you set up for a golf putt, or a free throw, or a dance move, or asking out your crush, only to overthink yourself into oblivion?
When great athletes are playing well, it looks effortless. Of course, it took many years of hard work to get to the point where they could look effortless, and we often don’t see those years of drudgery. We only see Michael Jordan’s highlight reel, and we think to ourselves, “I could never do that.”
Well, MJ couldn’t do that when he was first starting out, either. And if you can’t do a single-leg RDL perfectly on your first rep, or your thousandth rep, it’s okay. (I bet your thousandth rep looks a lot better than your first rep, though.
So as a coach, sometimes my best cue is to give you the freedom to be imperfect. To do a deadlift or a squat or a row with less than perfect form.
And you know what? In the next set, we’ll make one adjustment, and you’ll do it slightly less imperfectly.
Human movement is rarely a math problem to be solved correctly. It’s almost always going to be a process of becoming less imperfect, of becoming slightly more efficient and effective.
I recently read a quote from Samuel Beckett that captures this perfectly:
“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
Here’s the magic of it all. When I gave my client the cue to “do it wrong,” her movement immediately looked a lot better. She wasn’t trying so hard any more.
More importantly, the part of her brain that was judging herself for being imperfect was able to quiet down for a little bit, so that the other parts of her brain could stop worrying about that and start working on actually doing the exercise.
What can you fail better at today?