Motivation is a big part of being a training partner, coach or instructor. Some people cannot train alone. They need that external push. But, how you are motivating them can play a huge role in how they perform, and whether or not you give them that extra push…or just irritate or distract them.
I’ll tell you what I can’t stand. Hooting, hollering, and wahooing. It is a distraction and the high pitch squeal throws me off. Ask any high level athlete, (I’m not saying I am high level) and I am sure they will tell you the same. Meaningless words and shouting do nothing to motivate people.
Neuro linguistic Programming (NLP for short) will tell you that you need to touch the core of a person using their senses. Use something that ignites their personal fire. Shouting yahooooo in the middle of a heavy set of squats will be much less effective than saying “Sue, push HARD through your heels” or “Alex, give me one more SOLID rep”.Â In the sentence I’ve used a name and used an adjective to give direction. The name and adjective are the key words here. Limit your comments to one per set, as too much cannot be processed by an already stressed brain. Instead of adding to their energy, you take it away with too much distraction.
A person’s name is the most stimulating word to them. In a noisy room full of people, you can still hear your name whispered from the other side of the room. The most powerful word you can say to someone is their name, whether lovingly, or in disgust. Use it sparingly, but at least a couple times a workout.
The best workouts are those where we get more “primal” – when your animal instincts are stronger and we feel on fire. In order to fuel that, pitch of voice is important. A deeper, more guttural sound is much more effective when motivating your partner. When you speak with intensity, it builds intensity and fires up our “lizard brain” or the limbic system – the primitive part of our brain associated with fear, pleasure, anger, sex and dominance. If you can access this in a workout, it will be a good one! My best workouts are when I lose myself within the movements and reach a true flow state. It happens 1/15 workouts, so once a month for me.
One last word of advice; it’s possible that your partner may “redline” in a workout if they are too pumped. This is dangerous. Their adrenaline is too high and they will be less likely to feel pain which is actually a warning signal. You will see this when they look past or through you like you are not there. You need to act quick and speak with calm controlÂ by getting them to make eye contact with you, get them to remain still, and control their breathing until they come out of the red, usually 5-20 seconds.
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