A good coach of any sport has several motivating cliche’s ready in their coaching vocabulary. We call these coachisms, and any good coachism will motivate you to perform at your best not only in practice or a game, but in life, too. Ones like “focus on the little things” or “let’s take this one game at a time” are valuable, albeit generic, lessons—they lose their edge when you hear them a billion times over.
The five coachisms we are presenting in this series have stuck with us because they are not overused, thus zapped of their impact. These five life-skills we learned as student-athletes that have haunted us—err, guided us—in our athletic, academic, and now professional careers. We believe that you can apply these tips in your language-learning endeavors, too.
Language-learning tip #2: don’t wait to do great
A favourite coachism by Coach Seton Sobolewski, this simple but infuriating phrase can be applied to any discipline of life. Coach would often urge to us to “do your work early!”
The basketball application behind this was, as a post player, it’s important to put yourself in the right position as soon as possible, so that by the time the ball arrives to you, all you had to do was turn and shoot. Fight and work to get the best position possible. It was an easy enough concept. However, when you’re battling a 6’7” post player who outweighs and out-muscles you, it’s not as simple.
Years later, I find myself internally chiding myself with coach’s quote. When I don’t feel like doing my lesson plans or when the pile of writing assignments seems too overwhelming, I recall this simple phrase, and it powers me through. To “do your work early” in everyday situations means to put yourself in the right position through hard work and dedication. You will reap the benefits later (and you most certainly will be thanking your past self).
Now, how does this translate to a language-learning context? Well, there are many ways for you to put this into practice, but one of the easiest ways (and by no means revolutionary) is to do your homework—and do it early! Homework is there to be an aid to learning, a consolidator of knowledge, and a measuring stick of where your strengths and weaknesses lie. By “doing your work early”, you are putting yourself in a better position to learn and grow the next day. Imagine that by doing your homework and fully understanding the concept, you now can move on to other concepts and ideas; you can advance to the next lesson rather than having to review (again) what was taught the previous day.