Coaching: what you NEED to hear

Good morning.

Ellie and I went surfing for the first time last week. 

My goal for the session was to stand up, and Ellie’s goal was to stand up once more than I did.

We ran through the basics and then got into the water, because the best way to learn surfing is to try.

We were getting pushed on the waves by the coach. 

So he would pick the wave and push us off - all we had to do was stand up (or try to).

The first time I rushed everything and tried to do it one go.

So he said count to three once you catch the wave. 

OK, makes sense.

The next wave I caught, counted to three, but moved my feet in the wrong order and fell off.

Repeat x3.

Then the coach said keep your hands on the board until you are ready to stand up.

Next wave, I did that and stood up!

Then I was sent out on my own waves, but now I had to set myself up on the board and paddle to catch them.

I went straight back to falling off.

Repeat multiple times.

Then the coach told me to focus to set up in a slightly different position, so I didn’t have to adjust and paddle at the same time.

Next wave, I got it!

After that, I caught a few more waves and then we called it a day, or morning. 

I hit my goal and was happy - commonly referred to as ‘stoked’ in this area.

Word must have gotten out, because the next day I found myself on the Gold Coast at the Australian Surfing Awards. 

Although that had more to do with Ellie’s job than my surfing ability, I feel like it’s worth just putting out there and letting people connect the dots however they please.

The steps involved in surfing a pretty simple.

Lie in the right position.

Back foot, front foot.

Stand up.

It’s easy on the beach when nothing is moving. 

But then I got out into the water and forget everything I had been told.

Then I was reminded of them, and told myself to focus on those steps, but that all goes out the window when the wave starts to break and you think you’ve got 0.3 seconds to get everything done.

What I found most interesting was that I only received three pieces of feedback during the session, all in bold above.

They were all adjustments to what I was actually doing when I messed up, not necessarily reinforcement of what we got told on the beach.

It’s the same with nutrition.

Sometimes it can be hard to explain why nutrition coaching is a better option than a meal plan. People think that ‘if they have a plan they will stick to it’, or if they buy a book they will implement it.

Maybe. Maybe not.

The real benefits of coaching come from feedback and personalised recommendations for going forward.

I could have watched one hundred YouTube videos on how to surf, the night before we went out, but that wouldn’t have helped me out in the waves.

Instead, it was three simple pieces of advice that I need to focus on implementing.

So if the DIY approach of articles, podcasts, videos and books isn’t working, you know what to do.



Tom Fitzgerald