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Resistant To Change

I received a question last week asking...

What do you do with athletes who are very successful and consequently resistant to change, even though there is obvious room for improvement.

I've been in this position on a number of occasions.  Before getting involved, has this person asked for your help?  Depending on the relationship you have with this person, are you comfortable offering unsolicited advice?  If they are not a friend, client, or asking for advice, I'd be hesitant to get involved.  The emotional investment of wanting someone to change is not worth the frustrations if things don't go as you had envisioned.

The more successful the athlete, the more folks they'll have coming at them wanting to be a part of that success.  Suggestions and opinions recklessly get fired at them on a regular basis.  Everyone is trying to leave their mark which often pushes an athlete further into their set ways.

Knowing what the norm is, if you're going to get involved in this type of situation, the first thing I do, rather than jumping straight into what I think should be changed, is look for WHY they're currently successful.

Is it...

  • Training protocol

  • Consistency

  • Diet

  • Talent

  • Mental toughness

  • Biomechanics

  • Strenght and durability

Most folks are resistant to change and may or may not know exactly what makes them successful in the first place.  Because of this, they are scared that an advisor may come in and change everything. By highlighting all the reasons you believe they are successful and that you aren't out to reinvent them, they will listen to your "small" suggestion.  I say "small" and it might not be "small" but they will at least be receptive to try a "small" change.

When it comes to marketing your business, downplaying the significance of your contribution is a style that may come with some consequences....

You have to be prepared when you lose to a loud salesperson claiming huge gains.  Athletes are often looking for the latest and greatest.  As a coach or technical advisor you have to be ok with your chosen approach.

I'm ok with the approach that I have chosen.  I think it is a very honest and responsible approach.  I've lost clients to the chatter, but I've also had the chance to work with great clients that can distinguish between good talkers vs good information. 


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