Thinking isn’t Doing

My dad said something the other day that got me to thinking. I asked him if he’d gone on his morning walk. His response, “I thought about it.” I hear runners suffering from injuries or repeating training errors or repeatedly having issues with recovering from workouts. I’ve asked so many of them what they were doing about it. The response echoes “I’ve thought about doing…” or “I was thinking about doing injury prevention exercises” or “I thought about improving my nutrition after hard workouts.” Sure is a lot of thinking going on.

Where’s the doing?

The next iteration of this of course is that they have taken a course, read an article or book and now they “know” what should be done. Many athletes, after reading that book on “revolutionary breakthrough workouts” will of course share all their new found knowledge with anyone who will listen. But, once pinned down, and asked “so… what are you doing differently about your training as a result of what you have learned?” They will look with blank faces and respond – “I’m thinking I’m gonna…” or “I know I should do… BUT I just can’t fit it in right now.” (This is a good time to take any excuse from the Excuse Book of course.) I’m still waiting for some “doing” to take place. It’s almost as if “knowing” somehow will heal injuries, improve running, or make you mentally tougher.

Where’s the doing?

But,thinking isn’t doing. To improve your performance you have to DO something. I’m not saying it’s not good to know stuff. I love knowing stuff. But knowing isn’t doing either!

There are corollaries or extensions to all this “knowing isn’t doing”. Knowing something very well does not mean you can do something very well. Knowing more doesn’t mean you do even better. No matter how many books you read or degrees you have, at some point you have to DO.

There is a flip side. That is that doing something really well (like being an Olympian) doesn’t mean you know more. It means you are a good doer. You can follow someone else’s direction.

Which of course brings me to a final point. A coach should take pride in knowing and learning and thinking. They may not be very good doers of the sport itself. But, one key difference is that a coach will be adept at getting their athletes to do. I believe wholeheartedly in an educated athlete. An athlete needs more than just to think or know. Too much thinking inhibits doing. And over-thinking, analyzing, reviewing “facts” you’ve learned inhibits effectively doing.

Thinking isn’t doing.
Knowing isn’t doing.
Doing is doing.


About Dean Hebert

I’m a mental game coach, author and speaker. I work with individual athletes, parents, coaches, and teams on sports performance enhancement. Beyond my academic post-graduate work in sports psychology - the psychology behind athlete performance – I am a certified Mental Games Coaching Professional (MGCP) and certified hypnotherapist. I’ve authored several books and hundreds of articles. “Coach, I didn’t run because…” (2008) is a seriously light-hearted look at making excuses not to workout and how to overcome them. “Focus for Fitness” (2009) and “Screw the Goals Give me the Donut” (2010) are two of my eBooks on mental game approaches for the everyday athlete. I wrote these because I believe that everyone can benefit from the powerful mental techniques that the world’s best athletes use. I have been cited in Runners World, Best Health magazine (CN), SWEAT Magazine, and the Washington Examiner amongst many other publications. I have been a featured mental games coach in Runner’s World and for the internationally acclaimed trail running resource - I also regularly appear on sports and fitness talk shows such as LTKFitness, Runnersroundtable and for more than three years I have co-hosted a weekly video series with Coach Joe English for I specialize in mental toughness training. My clients include tennis, synchronized swimming, golf, race-kart, soccer, motocross, volleyball, MMA, cycling (road, off-road, time-trialist), running, duathlon and triathlon, basketball, football and baseball athletes. I have coached world-class athletes and athletes internationally. I have a passion for working with youth athletes and helping them apply mental game skills and techniques to all areas of life. Most importantly, my aim is to have people enjoy sports and life to their fullest through peak performances.
This entry was posted in Excuses not to run, Motivation, Running, Training Effectiveness and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Thinking isn’t Doing

  1. James Kahler says:

    “I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.”

    — Leonardo da Vinci

  2. Dean Hebert says:

    Oooooooo… I like that … thanks Coach!!!!!!!!

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