“Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” ~Aristotle
From Tabata sets and air squats to sprints and "star-jumps," you won't catch a Space Dragon around the beach not already busting their booties to kick the season into gear. The air is ripe with work and sweat and the season is definitely in full swing. But with all that physical prep, let's pause and consider our mental game.
I mean, let's face it, starts, "rate-ups," land workouts, and OC-2 time trials--although fiercely great and punishing--are debatably not as exhausting as a tired mind. At the end of the day when I feel completely exhausted, its oftentimes not because of all the physical things I've been doing but really of the mentally draining things I've subjected myself to (OK, sometimes it is the former. #BURPEES #racesets #OC2timetrials). The type of exhaustion I'm talking about is the type of exhaustion you get when you've bent over backwards trying to win people's approval, either in work or in life. I'll admit I'm getting better at it, but I can't imagine how exhausting it must be to listen to every daily bit of criticism one might get from his or her boss at work, loved ones at home, and even one's self. To add to the madness, there are those pesky coaches (like yours truly) making sure that you--the dedicated paddler--are on-time, entering smoothly, setting your blade, pulling aggressively, recovering smoothly, or otherwise being the perfect paddling specimen you're striving to be. Criticism comes from all around, but taking it can be an exhausting experience if you let it affect you negatively.
I realize criticism doesn't always come gently nor does it always come from a perspective of positivity. Sometimes the feedback we receive is unsolicited and doesn't come from a coach and may even be off-putting. We can't control what other people will say to us, whether they'll approve or form opinions and share them. But we can control how we internalize it, respond to it, and learn from it, as well as when we release it and move on.
Here are some tips on the benefits of criticism and how to receive it from your coaches so you can become the best "coachable" paddler you can be.