Let’s Empty Our Teacup

I recently heard a proverb about a coach and athlete. Although there are multiple versions of this proverb, here is my favorite one:

An experienced athlete went to visit a master coach. While the coach quietly made tea and served it, the athlete talked and talked about their knowledge of training. 

The coach poured the athlete’s cup to the brim, and then kept pouring. The athlete watched the overflowing cup until they could no longer restrain themselves. 

“It’s full! No more will go in!” the athlete blurted. 

“This is you,” the coach replied, “How can I guide you to your goals unless you first empty your cup.”

I share this story because it reminds us that we need to stay humble, open ourselves to new ideas, and be willing to change our preconceptions.

And I see that on both sides of this story.  We all have so much to learn from each other so the coach must also empty their cup.  

While the athlete is talking about all their training knowledge and experience, it’s our job as a coach to listen.  Athletes know more about themselves than they think they do and the more they can communicate that to the coach, the better the coach can write training prescriptions. 

In the end if we can both communicate and listen, the faster we will learn and get the most out of each other.

Be sure to connect with your coach soon!