D is for Do vs Don't

        D is for Do vs Don't.  So I decided to cheat a little bit on this one and pick two words because they are closely linked.  They remind me of a situation that starts to happen more and more the longer I am in the classroom: teaching siblings.  The tendency, after teaching one kid from a particular family, is to assume a younger sibling you teach later will be the same.  Anyone who has brothers and sisters would tell you it makes no sense, but we do it anyway.  Many times I have younger siblings who go out of their way to make sure I know they are not like their older siblings.  Quickly we figure out as teachers the error in our ways and realize how different the two are.  Don't is the younger sibling of Do.  Do sets the example.  Do is responsible.  Do takes care of your performance.  Don't is rebellious.  Don't likes chaos.  Don't hurts your performance.

        As an athlete, you want to focus on what you want to do.  "Make a quality pitch."  "Drive a ball to the outfield."  "Field it, and throw it to first base."  "Read a dirtball here."  As a coach, you want to instruct athletes as to what you want them to do, and you want to do so specifically.  All of the commands listed as self-talk for an athlete could easily be instructions from coach.  This is preferable to the alternative focus on Don't.  "Don't leave one out over the plate against this guy."  "Don't swing at this guy's curveball."  "Don't panic."  We have all been guilty of saying each of those sayings to ourselves, to athletes we have coached, or both.  Likewise, we have all probably felt the disappointment in ourselves or the disbelief in the athletes we coach who went on to leave one out over the plate, swing at the breaking ball, or panic.  I can still remember taking one of those brutal rounds of BP in college.  You know, the situational round that goes downhill fast.  You DON'T get on top of a hit-and-run.  You DON'T hit a ball to the right side to move the runner.  You DON'T drive a ball to the outfield with the infield in, and you DON'T hit a ball down and in the middle with them back.  Before you know, you are lucky to get the squeeze down and have a coach who asks how you could have possibly have had a round so bad.  I know, for me, in that round once one DON'T happened I thought over and over about the DON'T.  I was emotional instead of staying rational about what one swing meant.  I let that one swing allow for doubt and snowball into a bad round.  The easy fix would have been to move on and take the next swing in the round like I had taken so many prior.  Fortunately, those types of rounds stand out as the minority although they certainly happened more than once.  So in closing, I think the overall concept here is pretty clear.  Choose the older sibling Do as an athlete or a coach.  Focus on what you want to do.  Ignore the younger sibling Don't.  He's annoying, and we'd rather not have him around.

Got a different D word for your ABC's?  Let's hear it!

D is for Do vs Don't Song of the Day: The Temptations- "The Way You Do the Things You Do"


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