When I last changed my Mind

When I last changed my Mind

After reading this article http://scottberkun.com/2014/when-did-you-last-change-your-mind/ I have come to realise that I have spent my whole life being right and then wrong and changing my mind or having it changed for me. The only negative of this process is that I have pushed against it and stuck with what I thought I knew.

A good example of this is when I KNEW that the quickest way to Preston arena was on the back roads and not past the hospital which was the longer way round. However my mind was changed when my dad and I raced there and he comfortably beat my back road approach. This example isn’t sports specific but it brings out the main changes that I have applied in myself professionally. I had little faith in his years of experience of driving, riding and general getting about. Instead opting to follow my own judgment which although logical and could have been right was followed blindly with no consideration of any other ideas.

The three main process changes I try to implement now are firstly to take in ideas from as many different resources as possible. To look at a much more diverse range of research before I allow myself to form an idea of what is right.  An example of this is when I was helping to develop the Go-Ride racing format for British Cycling. I discussed with coaches involved with the performance pathway as well as individual riders of all levels, coaches and development officers within cycling. Which all led me to the “Swiss Model” of racing, this model now forms the basis of the new Go-Ride Racing structure. This wouldn’t have occurred if I ignored what I thought would have been successful and not searched for a better way.

 Another process implementation would be if I create an idea which I believe is right, or so I think, I play the devil’s advocate with myself and try to prove myself wrong. Or if it’s a process I try to come up with the wackiest and most different way to complete it. This is to ensure I have looked at all angles and tried as many methods as possible.

Perhaps this is the easiest strategy to do and after a few months of practise it becomes a habit and can take less than a couple of minutes to complete. For instance when I was planning a session for a group of beginners the session was based on balance and coordination, so I focused on track standing. See YouTube link for an example of track standing (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Li6wWmhvDpE ). Initially I was going to use the random practise method of coaching, as this is my preferred method and it is good to help the riders remember the techniques they are learning (McMorris and Hale, 2006). However one of the main issues of this method is that it can over load the riders with information if they are beginners. This is significant as they will be attempting many techniques in a potentially short amount of time. This would have been apparent in my session because the riders were from a school and have had very little cycling experience. This coupled with the session being run on grass (causing it to be more physically demanding than on concreate) would have made it very difficult for the rider to stay engaged for the whole session. Instead I changed my mind and opted for the block practise method. This approach can enable riders to become more proficient and learn a lot more proficiently particularly when they are beginners (Jones and Kingston, 2013).

 Another thought process change is breaking habits. An example would be of an athlete’s systematic training on Tuesday to Thursday taking Monday and Friday as a rest days. Leaving the weekends for competing. Typically an athlete could have been using this routine for a long duration of time. To break the routine an athlete could break their habit and train on a Monday and rest on a Tuesday to create a three day training block, guided by someone else’s advice. This could optimise the training benefits gained through the competitions. By changing the training patterns better training adaptations occur and therefore performance improvement. The reason why the athlete trained to those restrictions for a long duration of time could be due to the dislike of change. I make a point of ensuring I do not fall into habitual ways to ensure my coaching is efficient and more fun.

These three approaches can be combatted in a variety of ways which range from five minutes or more of thought analysis. Or a week or more of reading articles and meeting with different people to discuss approaches the task. Whichever way it is approached these processes have helped me develop into a better and more creative coach than I was.

I am glad I now have a less self-assured approach to things and instead opt to listen to others and question what I am doing. This is, in my current opinion, one of the most important traits for people to have. The work of Jones, Armour and Potrac, 2004 supports this; after all, it was once commonly known that the earth was flat and that all the planets and stars revolve around the Earth.


Jones, R., Armour, K. and Potrac, P. (2004). Sports coaching cultures. London: Routledge. Pp 98

McMorris, T. and Hale, T. (2006). Coaching science. Chichester, England: John Wiley & Sons.

Jones, R. and Kingston, K. (2013). An introduction to sports coaching. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis.


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