Sunday, January 3, 2010

Delight in training: If you ain't had it lately, seek out a Coach.

When was the last time you were delighted? With the gift-giving season just behind us, we should all have multiple examples to feast upon. Do you? Can you name 5? 3? 2? 1? How recently? Has one of those occasions been in the context of a workout? What would you say characterised it as a "delightful" experience rather than say a satisfying one, or a proud one?

Delight is a concept that fascinates me ( i've written about a kind of theory of design & delight here). To cut to the chase, it seems that often delight comes from a few factors: the unexpected - for instance when something is easier than anticipated as well as enjoining pleasure as if someone is hitting something special in you (like ordering a book online and not having to go through 20 steps just to find out how much shipping is; instead it's right up front. wow).

Other forms of delight seem to be in the context of whimsy - again with the unexpected - but where that thing hits a certain point of particularly personal pleasure/desire with that unexpected.

For me, last night, this was being delighted with a workout i had dreaded where applying a new technique turned out to produce such surprisingly new and wonder-ful results that i was well, stunned, and not a wee bit giddy with delight, as the saying goes.

Why was this Practice Session a delightful experience? Qualities of Delight.
  1. surprise I was taken by surprise;
  2. unexpected but desired it's a result that i wanted but had more or less given up imagining could happen - so while being open to the possibility, had no expectation of same
  3. exceed expectations. the experience went beyond my expectations of what such success would be like
  4. valuable it's something that has non-trivial value to me
Perhaps we shy away from delight in a workout context because we are thinking about safety, about goals - everything is so planned that there's little room for surprise.

Coaching can be Delightful? As i ponder delight/workouts, i think the closest i've seen personally in a physical context is at times the surprise folks have who've seen their movements improve from a coaching session or their pain go down after doing some mobility work with me, remotely or in person. This latter response seems especially to be the case when a person has rather given up on making meaningful improvements in either context, and then they do. Wow. Perhaps that is a key role of a good coach: able to open up new possibilities

Likewise in my own case, my delight was the result of applying some excellent remote coaching tips on my kettlebell snatch from Randy Hauer RKC TL. Hmm. For me the delight was not only that the tip seems to have solved the specific problem i'd asked Randy about, BUT it then went beyond expectations, helping to address another aspect of performance as well. Exceeding expectations, i'll say.

Nurturing Delight: find your Coach. These moments are precious. I suppose in the physical context the reminder is that we may just be capable of far more than we anticipate. That technique it seems plays a huge role in this, but especially, that a good coach can open that door. Likewise, everyone at any level can benefit from a coach.

Lots of coaches can teach the same technique, but having someone communicate that model in a language that just clicks for YOU so that you can apply it - and then succeed with it, and it's something you, personally, care about, where there's that personally meaningful connection - well, that's delight, eh?

If you're interested in remote movement assessment/kb coaching, shout.
I do virtual house calls.

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