Friday, 24 April 2009

Look out for negative influences

I’ve been reading about a concept in behavioural theory called the ’External Locus of Influence’. It refers to those people or elements around you that subtly influence your thought patterns and behaviours.

We Brits have a particularly negative and damaging one that is based on years of class struggle and social hierarchy. Basically every time someone tries to succeed but fails the rest of the world tells them ’see I told you that would happen’or even worse, people who do succeed are purported as being arrogant or a little too big for their boots and they are brought back down to earth. It’s destructive precisely because it is pervasive and subtle, look out for it, you will see it everywhere, people in the media vilified for their success, sports teams and sportsmen and women are chastised for failure and column inches are given to this far more so than our successes.

Just look at Andy Murray,when he was losing and spitting his dummy on court everybody was on his back,he was in every paper. Now that he is winning and is in the top 5 in the world,we give him credit but not in the same way,not with the same enthusiasm!

Keep an eye out for the back pages...its everywhere!!

Can we be better than this in our coaching? Surely a big part of our jobs as coaches is to protect our players from these influences and keep them focussed on their personal goals. We need to ensure that others cannot limit their potential by giving them negative thoughts or opinions. We must teach our players to filter out the negative and appreciate the positive.

In so doing we give our players the gift of the ’Internal Locus of Influence’ something that they can rely on to see them through when times are hard or when the pressure is on. When others say ’why do that?’ they say ’why not?’. When others say ’I told you that would happen’ they say ’I’ll learn from that and come back stronger’.

This is certainly the legacy I want to leave all the players I coach with!!

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