I recently was reading a book (yes, an old school book made of paper) and one of the themes of this book can be paraphrased as the title of this post: somethings you need to learn cannot be taught. This book had to do with music lessons and the balance (or imbalance) between technique, interpretation, and artistry. I "got it" as it relates to music and thought it would be interesting to see how this concept applied to the world of sports, the ones that I try to participate in particular.
Great idea, Joe, but then my mind went blank.
In the meantime, my daughter was having a hard time with her athletic expectations. Her first cross country race of the year, although it was a PR for her, didn't go the way she had planned and hoped. She went out too fast, suffered near the end and was devastated. She did the same thing, but even worse, on her second race but the difference was that she had one of her slowest times ever at that distance. When I spoke to her after the race she realized that she was more concerned with everyone else and she said "I need to run my own race." The awareness of this concept, although she has been told this again and again, became a eureka moment for her.
The other thing she needed to "learn" was proper pacing. Again, no matter how often she was told that she was going out too fast, it didn't stick. Fortunately, she tried going out a little slower and ran a very strong race in her third meet, setting a huge PR (second fastest 9th grade girl in her school ever), being really strong at the end, and passing people to gain points for her team.
Two things that she needed to learn, pacing and running your own race, I believe are really hard to learn except by paying your dues. They aren't something that can be taught effectively but they are some of the keys required for success.
Then I started thinking of more. Finding the exact balance between too hard and too easy is a continuous challenge for most athletes and another thing for the list. Knowing the difference between hurting and being injured can make the cut. Self awareness while racing to be able to adapt can be added too. I sure there are many more and I wish I had a list of these things so that I could teach them or be taught but, then again, that probably wouldn't matter so much since they can't be taught.
But they need to be learned. Got any to add?