For most of us, it’s difficult to take criticism. We’re wired to take it personally. Clear pointers about technique get garbled inside our heads and we turn them into moral judgements. It makes the already challenging task of trying something new even more difficult, maybe impossible.

How do we solve this dilemma? As usual, there’s no perfect answer, and there’s not even a single answer, but there are some ideas that over the long haul appear to work for most people. As coaches, we try and deliver corrections in technique as just that – about the technique and not about you as a person. We’re trying to point out a more effective way, not to deliver a moral judgement. As a student, try and take corrections as steps to efficiency, rather than personally.

Yeah. Great don’t take things personally. So easy, right? Wrong. After all, it is you making the mistake, right? And since it is you doing the thing wrong then the responsibility falls on you and therefore you are wrong. Maybe. Even if it your brain convinces you that this is the true chain of consequences, it doesn’t mean you are wrong in some grandiose sense. It means you’re wrong about this one technique and (more importantly) you can fix it and be right.

Troublingly, even if you correct something in practice, you’ll almost certainly find you keep doing it wrong when the pressure increases. So it goes. It takes a long time to ingrain good (or bad) habits. Be patient with yourself as a student and we promise to be patient as coaches. Together, we’ll improve your technique and heck, maybe it’ll get easier to be wrong (and correct the problem) in the future.

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