Words of Little or a LOT of Meaning

By John Kessel | Aug. 27, 2015, 5:17 p.m. (ET)

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Words have little meaning to beginners in motor learning.   That is to say, when you tell a young golfer to “keep your head down,” they might bend down and put their head on the ball. Tell a batter to “keep your eye on the ball” in T-ball and they will go place their eye on the ball sitting on the tee. I have videos of these and many more which make me laugh while reminding me of the importance of words in their specificity, while showing how new players simply do not have the experience in their new endeavor to know what those words really mean.  Then there is the importance of speaking with your actions – Coach your philosophy and only using words if necessary.

This month at the ParaPanAms, words came to mind again, as at the Opening Ceremonies, and all through the Paralympic Village, words come out in three official ways – English, Spanish and French.  At the ceremonies two people were translating in real time into Spanish and English sign language, and fascinatingly some hand moves were identical, then they would be off into totally different hand gestures.  I went later online and googled to learn that there are some 6,500 languages spoken worldwide, with about 2,000 of them being a way of communicating for a thousand people or less. With about 1.3 billion Mandarin Chinese speakers making it the most spoken first language. Thanks to the Internet and all, English is the most used language around the world and here all referees must be proficient in English to be considered/selected. .

Then there are dialects and accents. I learned this trip a couple of jokes about words – that CAN grew to Canada because of their propensity to say “eh;” this resulted in their nation being C-eh-D-eh-N-eh. Denis our assistant Tourney Director said his area of England does the same thing so that they say there are 52 letters in the Jersey alphabet A, eh, B, eh, C, eh…..

The main intent of this blog is to share two things, one how the mind can spell words even when there is not the exact letters intended, but to challenge. The other is to share my some of my favorite words especially those in Latin.

So take a look at this poster – How long does it take you to make sense of it? The mind is such a powerful tool to learn and create new things, both on and off the court. There are almost 100 posters (http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Volleyball/Grassroots/Multimedia/Posters) on the USAV Grassroots section of our website that you can download at no cost and print to put more words that matter on your gym walls. Words and images which inspire, teach, and much more.

I am not sure why I like Latin so much. Never took it in school. Maybe its because you can go back to see the root of some words coming through many other languages. Maybe it because I grew up at a time that you had to learn Latin in school. In any case, use these to show your command of words and wisdom.

Ancora Imparo – Always Learning – Said by master painter Michelangelo at the age of 87.

Primum Non Nocore – First, Do No Harm – the start to the Hippocratic Oath

Citius, Altius, Fortius – SwiftER, HighER, StrongER, The Olympic motto, with coaches wisely using it to teach the ER, while in Latin you can see a very important team word woven in…US

Fac Diem Meam  - Make My Day – I have this on an orange golf cap from none other than, Clint Eastwood.

A Posse Ad Esse – From Possibility To Actuality – a great coaching motto.

Absit Invidia – Let Ill Will/jealousy Be Absent – This is said in the context of excellence, to ward off jealous deities who might find the negative in those pursuing excellence.

Ad Astra Per Aspera – To the stars through difficulties, or a “rough road leads to the stars.” Found on the Apollo1 launch complex memorial plaque.

Gradatim Ferociter – By degrees, ferociously – the motto for the Blue Origin spaceflight company.

A Priori – From What is Before – is deduced without experience.

Carpe Diem – Seize The Day, and Carpe Noctum - Seize The Night. Robin Williams film Dead Poet Society remains a must see coaching film for how he taught so that the students learned.

Animas Sana En Corpe Sano – Sound Mind In a Sound Body – Did you know that is the reason the shoe company is named ASICS?

Yet & Not Yet – important words about the process of learning anything. It is such an important word for coaching that I recently blogged specifically about this word HERE >>  http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Volleyball/Features/2015/August/26/YET

Try, Don’t, But, Sorry, My Bad, I Can’t…  ALL words to ELIMINATE from your training environment. Try? When said by coaches gives an excuse to not do it. Don’t? You give focus to what you want eliminated, and I simply want to be thinking of what I should do as opposed to the million things that are wrong. BUT?  When coaches compliment, then say but….well, the door closes on whatever was said before; SORRY?  Did you make the mistake on purpose…likely not, so on a team build on trust, this one should be gone; MY BAD ? See what I said about sorry, unless you spend time also saying “my good” when it is done right; CAN’T – No coach will ask you do to something you are unable to do, you just need to start at say one out of 20 and take those steps that will get you to 20 out of 20.

Cue/Key Words - From a physical point of view, I have heard some wonderful and creative combinations for key/cue words for skills.  All follow the 4x4 principle – no more than 4 words per cue and no more than 4 cues per skill.  My favorites are – Moose Antlers/Superman, and Marshmallow Unicorn for setting (you set a big ol’ marshmallow and put it down the unicorn horn).   I would love for readers of my blog to add more of their favorites so we can all more positively impact kids’ lives.

Askhole – A person who constantly asks you for advice, then always does the opposite of what you share with them.

Exhaustipated – I am too tired…to give a poop.  

Funishments – We need to let losing be the only punishment, and let kids do FUNishments where the winners get to pick the silly thing the losers do…with coach veto. 

Obsfucator – This is a three word generator device to help coaches create seemingly scientific or high level topics or facts to discuss – both in a positive or negative way.   

 

Opportunityisnowhere  -  So what do you see in the poster on the right? This poster is one of many you can download at the before mentioned USAV Grassroots page link.

Compost Happens and Caca Occurs… for if someone tells you what they think in harsh ways, and they sell fertilizer as in a fancy way to say they spread bull.

Please share your favorite words in sport so we can all grow the game together!