Insanity v Relentlessness

Everyone has heard the old line about Insanity: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Albert Einstein apparently did not say this. It is one of the many wonderful quotes that he never said, but that is neither here nor there.

For some reason this quote resonates with people immediately and so it has become a commonly 'understood' aphorism.

In coaching we use it as an example of players who are not listening or learning and we frustratingly use this quote when we talk to our coaching friends.

Another word that describes 'doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results' is relentlessness. And coaches use this term to describe things that we love in sport. Those players who just keep going and keep trying. Who no one believed in but somehow they ended up making it.

Relentlessness is a prized trait by and for coaches.

So, if the same actions can be viewed both as a positive and a negative where does that leave us? How do we know how to judge it?

The best I can think of is the intention. And this is where good coaching comes in. If you are not getting the results you think you should be then you need to assess what you are doing (feedback loops is the fancy term). REALLY assess it. If you are sure it is the right strategy then you need to trust yourself and be relentless. If what you are doing doesn't make sense and you keep doing it then you are leaning in the other direction. 

Simple example: If you want players to learn and are yelling at them, then when you do your feedback loop you will realise your methodology was counterproductive so you will modify it.


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