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.