It’s OK To Change Your Mind

Ralph Waldo Emerson famously wrote the following phrase:

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”

Roughly translated, this means that it’s foolish to never rethink prior or current beliefs.

In the world of science and in respect coaching, sports science – there is new research and information that comes out on a daily basis. To adhere to a particular belief and more specifically, to not seek out the most current information on a topic is odd at best and to cite Mr. Emerson, foolish at worst.

QUESTION EVERYTHING

When I created UESCA, I did it from the standpoint of starting from a blank slate. Despite having a degree in Kinesiology and being an endurance sports athlete who tried to stay current on the latest training methods… most all of this was thrown out the window.

I wanted to find out the ‘why’ behind as many training methodologies as possible. Surprisingly, or not surprisingly, developing the UESCA certifications made me rethink not only my own training, but that of most of my clients as well.

Just because a training methodology has been around for a long time does not automatically mean it is valid. In fact, common sense would dictate that the longer a methodology has been around, the more likely it is to be antiquated and in need of some form of revision or replacement.

I’m quite sure that many of our current training methods that are widely accepted as fact will in the future be debunked and revised. Does that mean we’re training incorrectly? Not at all. It just means that we’re doing the best we can with the information currently available.

So, whether you’re working with a coach or training yourself, if you don’t know the ‘why’ behind a particular training practice or methodology, start digging and see what you can find!

IT DOESN’T MAKE YOU A BAD COACH

I’ve heard from some coaches over the years that they’re afraid to change their training practices for fear that their clients would be upset that they were being training improperly prior to the new training method/practice.

This is not the sign of ‘bad’ coach. Rather, this is the sign of a great and effective coach. A great coach is a true student of the sport they are coaching and as the word ‘student’ implies, they should always be learning. Part of the learning process is uncovering new information that changes the way one approaches their trade – in this case, coaching.

NOT A STATIC PROCESS

My father was a computer science professor and he would always say that there was no way professors could keep up with all the different programming languages being developed, or with the speed of technology. As such, their program taught theory and the basics of programming languages so that as graduates, their students would have the core information necessary to adapt to any new programming language. In other words, whether it be computer software/hardware or training information – they are very much a dynamic process versus static.

As an athlete or coach, it’s important to know on a macro level how the body works so that any new training method can be assessed to see if it makes sense in regard to how the body functions.

If you don’t adjust your training/coaching to reflect new and proven training methods, it’s akin to me writing this blog on a Commodore 64!

SUMMARY

Changing your mind in respect to how you train yourself or coach others is both correct and normal. Conversely, staying static in your training is incorrect and in the case of coaching others, also unethical.


Rick Prince is the founder of United Endurance Sports Coaching Academy (UESCA), a science/evidence-based endurance sports coaching education company that certifies running and triathlon coaches.

To get a $50 discount on the Running Coach Certification, click here!

Rick Prince

Rick Prince

Founder/Director of United Endurance Sports Coaching Academy (UESCA).

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