Daily Thought: Questions about Balance and Learning

By balance, I don’t mean handstands or sticking landings. My questions about balance are different these last few weeks; I’ve worried – in philosophical regards – about how to balance positivity with functional authority.  

I’ll explain here that in philosophy, worrying is a good thing. Problems allow us to explore new and better solutions to arrays of issues we all face. 

Questions about Balance and Learning

Therefore, I’m happy to have to tackle these questions. 

And the most critical question is reconciling how to allow my athletes to observe personal responsibility in the gym while maintaining control over my classes. 

Let me warn you now; I have more questions than answers. 


At what point does the athlete’s authority over training processes supersede mine? 

I often argue that it’s essential to consider their flow to keep them happy and create favourable training circumstances. But, how much of my plans or programs should I sacrifice for their “happiness”? 

It is easy to imagine the chaos of allowing a group of 15 energetic athletes to do whatever they want in the gym—a suboptimal situation for any safe progress. 

I also understand what many of my colleagues think about my questions, but I’m not convinced that the authoritarian approach is optimal for advancement. In my opinion, such a position is not conducive to any advantageous condition. 

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As coaches, we cannot dismiss these questions as irrelevant, regardless of what the old coaching methods say about them. There is much more riding on this challenge than the coach’s sense of importance. 

It turns out that our athletes’ learning is at stake, and those stakes are very high.  

I think the solution to the balance problem is strategically allowing our athletes to satisfy their need for independence. To plan to change the plan, if you will. 

This course of action ensures that we maintain control of our groups and allows the athletes to release the tension of keeping up with a rigid plan. Stress that often results in a loss of motivation. 

And there is more

I’m not alone in thinking this way. This notion of strategic deviation from a plan also follows the ideas of diffuse and focused thinking and how to use them to improve learning.

As always, science is on my side.


Athletes have to concentrate on working most of their time in the gym; they will have to complete parts of the programs I provide them. This time is the focused thinking part. Allowing them to move away from their programs will give them the opportunity to diffuse their thinking and return to learning correctly. 

Again, the goal is to establish effective positivity and functional authority. The objective is to help our athletes learn better and more safely. 

Thank you for reading. 

— Coach José

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