One of the easiest ways to turn off enthusiasm is to use unhelpful language.  

This occurred to me during the ECBCA Conference. There was a lot of practical stuff, but there was also tonnes of theory delivered quickly and often out of context. If I struggled to keep up with talk of “talent journeys” and the like, players will too.

In a conference context, this was not an error. But what would be an error would be taking the complex language and directly using it with the players we coach. I’m constantly checking myself to make sure that I don’t tip into words that are unclear with players.

Here are a few that I need to be careful around:

  • Constraint
  • Outcome
  • Pathway
  • Mindset
  • Pressure

All these are useful words in the right context of course. But I am a professional communicator so I need to build a language that can be understood to develop players, not turn them off through confusion or worse, deliver a different message from intended.

 ”Pressure” is my favourite example because I use it all the time but really it’s unhelpful. Pressure is a feeling generated from the inside. We can manage that so it doesn’t change performance.

By shouting to a kid “10 to win from the last six balls, no pressure!” I am pushing the player to think pressure is caused by something external like tight cricket situations.

What I am trying to do now is not use the word pressure at all. I prefer “critical moment”. Which still makes sense to most people. Then I can build in questioning like “what do you do differently in critical moments to stay in control?”, or “How can you control how you feel?”. It creates a space to learn the difference between external pressure and internal pressure and deal with it.  

I’m still learning this art but I am fascinated by it. 

AuthorDavid Hinchliffe