There is a universal principle we all learn.
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction!
In working with human beings the principle usually gets amped a bit:
for every action there is an even greater and opposite reaction. If you
are a parent or a teacher or anyone that works with kids, you
Kids are playing and all of the sudden you see a student react to
something that was done to them. You didn’t see what caused the
reaction. You only see the effect of the cause.
Who gets in trouble?
The reaction because you didn’t see the reaction. It happens in sports
all the time. A player has something done to them and they react. The
referee or umpire penalizes the player who reacted. That player
usually wines or complains to the authority about what was done to
Bottom line is that if that penalized player had exercised self-control
they wouldn’t have received the penalty or foul. We all get our
buttons pushed, but we must instill in our players self-control.
So how do we help our players exercise self-control? Glad you asked :).
There is a secret to self-control. It is actually hidden in the very word.
Before we get to the secret, let’s talk about why people don’t exercise
self-control. We lose control because we think we are in control. We
lose control because, as we discussed in an earlier article, we rob
people of their control and responsibility. We believe we are in
control of others actions.
When they don’t act in the way we want we get frustrated because
they aren’t doing what we want. (Just look at how irritated you get
when the TV remote doesn’t work readily. You knock it a little bit
and if that doesn’t work you hit it. Amazing how our TV habits are
closer to real life than we’d like to admit. That’s a different
Our puffed up notions of our ability to control others or circumstances
is actually what leads us to a lack of self-control. So, as coaches we
need to take a pin and deflate that notion. Here’s the secret. You’ve
probably figured it out. This is the pin that deflates puffed up sense of
control. You can only control yourself.
Help your players understand that people will push your buttons,
circumstances will tempt you to be frustrated but they are in control of
the reaction. They cannot control the actions that will come. They can
only control the reaction.