It's the Thing before the Thing
I haven't written in a very long time, but the state of our world, of our US has made me a bit pensive and I saw a comment made in a news story about the impact of stress on our country and our life expectancy. The comment was that our death rates are counted by the directly impacting event. (eg. Drugs, suicide, blood pressure, heart attack, stroke). But what was the cause of the cause? That is the most important information and it's harder to determine and generally not tracked.
This struck me because one of the things that I used to talk to parents about when I was coaching softball pitching. It's true for pitching, for hitting, or for almost any skill that is made up of a system of motions to achieve a singular result. The way my daughter, Emma, and I talked about it, was it's the Thing, before the Thing.
In hitting, if your batter is lunging forward, our tendency is to tell them to not lunge or even to give them the direct correction to lunging. If a pitcher is walking through their follow thru instead of resisting with their legs and standing tall, we focus on the resisting. This alone may help when focused on, but it seldom leads to a long term systemic change in their motion. But if you find the thing before the thing... what is happening that is causing them to follow that undesirable motion within their pitch, or their swing... Correct that, and you create systemic change. I knew this in softball. It became one of the tools in the tool belt. But before today I didn't connect it to life.
This is interesting as I have long held that my interest in coaching is largely because of the connectedness I see in it to life lessons. How doing it right in sport, could help them long term. Help them to take life's challenges on and come out even better each time. How, in this case, to search for the cause of the cause, the thing before the thing, and change things for the better in THEIR long term pursuits.
And in today's world, I find myself searching and wondering about our society. We spend a lot of time and energy and wealth on addressing the undesirable aspects of our society. Poverty, violence, pollution, etc. But do we often enough look for the thing before the thing, and invest our time and energy to resolve that. I'm not going to get political here, that's not my purpose. But I do think this simple tool from my coaching tool belt, IS a life lesson. It's not the answer because as I said, it's the harder piece of information to determine and subject to many opinions, but it's worth thinking about, and as a coach, it's worth teaching.