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Drawing the line with critique, criticism and commentary


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Hi guys,

It's been a while since I posted, but I've been meaning to ask this question to a broader audience.

Just where do we draw the line when it comes to critiquing someone, criticising, and basically commentating?

What I mean is, I am an overthinker, unfortunately this is a curse and a blessing as I can't turn it off, it's amazing for my work, but not so great when it comes to Martial Arts. I can critique someone, the snap pointers where you see your partner not twisting their hips on a round kick, or pivoting on a hook... But it seems whenever I attempt a constructive criticism as to why something isn't working by brain goes into overdrive and I basically start explaining it step by step as if I was telling myself how to do something, which the digresses into micro adjustments and eventually onto a full blown commentary... There are examples of it on this forum.

Extremely valid examples which I was called up on, which at the time I was writing seemed important, and relevant, but upon going back and reading after, I could totally see why I was called up on it and gave me a completely different perspective on what I'd written.

Where should I be drawing the line to just help my partner? But at the same time, no be stepping on toes of instructors etc.

Does anyone else have a similar problem with things like this? Especially if it is a subject which you are extremely enthusiastic about and have a tonne of observations which you think would benefit.

There will always be a point where help becomes hindrance, and at that point no on is learning anything. How do I keep things objective, and subjective when there is so much noise to filter?

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@guyver4 there is a thread I started on this called Unsolicited advice during training which might give you some views. 

Is your gym a place where people give each other feedback a lot? If it is I guess you just need to "feel" where the line is. 

Otherwise I would let these questions guide me:

1. Am I a teacher with a mandate to teach instructions?

2. Did this person ask for my advice?

3. Am I really experienced enough to know how to teach this particular movement/technique?

4. Why do I have this urge to give feedback to this person? Do I really want to help or does it originate from my own desire to seem knowledgeable?

Learning is an individual thing. Gyms are full with people who overestimate their own knowledge and enthusiastically share their knowledge with others in a way that is not constructive. 

 

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Full disclosure is I’m new to muay Thai so keep that in mind when reading my thoughts 

 

I think an *occasional* reminder to ‘ pivot ‘ foot or twist hip etc Can be helpful and appreciated- at least to me It is. I like it.

elaborating a great deal.... I’d say no, not routinely. Not unless you’re asked and quite advanced yourself. 

 

But thats in my gym. It’s small enough that our teacher watches every one of us like a hawk and if we need correction you can believe we’ll get it from him🙂

Some people however may not receive feedback from non trainers as well. You could always ask.

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 Thank you for the feedback guys. It's much appreciated.

@LengLeng I'll definitely keep your pointers in mind going forward.

@MadelineGrace I completely understand what you're saying. I've just passed the year mark with Muay Thai, and as much or as hard as I train, I still think of myself as relatively "new".

Our Muay Thai classes are only run twice a week at our gym, but there are guys there who train K1 5-6 times a week and do Muay Thai on top, but I only do the Muay Thai classes so always feel a level below if that makes sense.

I think where I've watched almost 100 hours watching the Patreon videos though, there are small things I can contribute which they may not have thought or seen before and in most cases they havent, especially in the clinch.

I think I will just try to keep myself more grounded going forward, and apply what I know, and just throw the nuggets if someone has me in a dominant position and doesn't know where to go, or vice versa.

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On 8/18/2019 at 7:50 AM, guyver4 said:

What I mean is, I am an overthinker, unfortunately this is a curse and a blessing as I can't turn it off, it's amazing for my work, but not so great when it comes to Martial Arts. I can critique someone, the snap pointers where you see your partner not twisting their hips on a round kick, or pivoting on a hook... But it seems whenever I attempt a constructive criticism as to why something isn't working by brain goes into overdrive and I basically start explaining it step by step as if I was telling myself how to do something, which the digresses into micro adjustments and eventually onto a full blown commentary... There are examples of it on this forum.

There is a very good book to read on this subject which is The Inner Game of Tennis, which presents the Coach's Dilemma, which is verbal correction very often leads to the opposite results as intended. As an overthinker you might find this book very interesting. If the aim is to actually help someone (as the outcome), and not just display knowledge, it gives powerful food for thought. I say this as a very analytical, breakdown oriented, let-me-explain-things, kind of guy.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003T0G9E4/

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16 hours ago, guyver4 said:

 Thank you for the feedback guys. It's much appreciated.

@LengLeng I'll definitely keep your pointers in mind going forward.

@MadelineGrace I completely understand what you're saying. I've just passed the year mark with Muay Thai, and as much or as hard as I train, I still think of myself as relatively "new".

Our Muay Thai classes are only run twice a week at our gym, but there are guys there who train K1 5-6 times a week and do Muay Thai on top, but I only do the Muay Thai classes so always feel a level below if that makes sense.

I think where I've watched almost 100 hours watching the Patreon videos though, there are small things I can contribute which they may not have thought or seen before and in most cases they havent, especially in the clinch.

I think I will just try to keep myself more grounded going forward, and apply what I know, and just throw the nuggets if someone has me in a dominant position and doesn't know where to go, or vice versa.

I think it's good that you ask about these stuff. Some people are hungry for advice, some people learn better without too much interference. So I guess it's about feeling your way forward. 

My husband is a crossfit coach and I join his classes now and then. Some time back in one of his classes I saw a woman doing squats with a weird form. Since I think I know everything about squat depth I tried to get the attention of my husband and sort of whispered that he should check on her form. He just brushed me off. And afterwards he told me she squats like this because she has this injury she is struggling with. And I realised it was definitely not my place to think I could have any educated opinion on how she should move just from joining one class with her and that I shouldn't think I know my husband's work better than him. 

 

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Ramsey Dewey said recently that corrections are the lowest form of coaching, and to an extent I agree. If you go to a muay thai class and look at the guys sparring, you see them sweeping kicks, teeping, countering well and it's not like those techniques are specifically drilled again and again (especially when it comes to sweeps) with meticulous corrections to perfect it. Unless you're doing something quite wrong, everything falls into place with practise and time! 

 

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I watch my trainers let someone be "wrong" for a really, really long time with no correction. Then they'll make a small correction, enforce it, and then let it go. Kevin's reference to the Inner Game of Tennis is really good because it's about the learning process, and correction, critique, and commentating really don't help that at all. Very often, people are already over-thinking and not feeling, so over-verbalizing is counter-productive.

But in terms of where the line is, to me the most important aspect was raised by LengLeng: did this person ask? If you offer a small point, unsolicited, did they then ask for more?

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Thank you for all the amazing feedback guys.It's helped a lot.

I need to clarify though before I paint myself into a corner... I don't do microcorrections on every technique or anything, only usually when someone asks or they look frustrated when we're doing something... It's the shutting up once I start that's the problem lol.

I'll definitely take a look at the inner game of tennis, I know Sylvie also did a few videos with a round table on Patreon too, so may follow up with that.

Thanks again guys. "Khob kun krub"

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5 hours ago, guyver4 said:

Thank you for all the amazing feedback guys.It's helped a lot.

I need to clarify though before I paint myself into a corner... I don't do microcorrections on every technique or anything, only usually when someone asks or they look frustrated when we're doing something... It's the shutting up once I start that's the problem lol.

I'll definitely take a look at the inner game of tennis, I know Sylvie also did a few videos with a round table on Patreon too, so may follow up with that.

Thanks again guys. "Khob kun krub"

Ask someone if they want your opinion first.  Then you'll know.  

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Hi Guyver,

The hard part is: Everybody is different, and reacts in a different way to critiques, criticism, commentary. 

I think the threeoak point is very valid: Not everybody likes to receive commentary or criticism, so it is important to understand first if your partner is ok on that. 

Also, a same approach to two different people can be taken very differently. For example, when I train, if my teacher tell me that one of my blow was "weak", or tell me "come on, I don't feel anything", it pushes me to improve and hit harder. However, some people might take it harshly on them and it might discourage them. 

Training and coaching is I believe all about micromanaging. Knowing who you are talking to is key. And to understand that, you need to communicate. 

Two of the best team sports coach who micromanage are Greg Popovich in NBA and Sir Alex Ferguson in Soccer. They knew exactly how to talk to each of their players to get the best out of them. 

Communicate - Understand - Adjust 

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