Listen to Comprehend

By Jordan Beech, Head Coach, Oklahoma Baptist University  @OBU_Lacrosse

Are you listening to respond, or listening to comprehend?

I’ll give you a moment to think about it.

Photo courtesy of OBU Athletics.

I think you can look at our current national discourse to know that by and large we are all listening more to simply give a response instead of comprehending the root of misunderstandings and disagreements. If you make that mental shift and listen to comprehend, though, think how much more effective you could be as a student-athlete, coach, friend, spouse, parent… really anything.

Really think about it. If you didn’t always have to have the last word, how much less stress would you feel? You likely wouldn’t have as much conflict in your daily life. You might actually resolve some issues in the process.

As a student-athlete, it really comes down to that old cliché: coachability.

I’m sure I’m not the only person who growing up playing who didn’t always take coaching the right way. Sometimes that took the form of me responding to my coaches with a less than valid viewpoint over what I had just done. Other times, it was a sarcastic thought in my head and I kept doing what I was doing, even though looking back it was completely wrong. I could have been so much more as a player had I always listened to comprehend the instructions my coaches gave.

But the street runs both ways.

Coaches, are you listening and understanding what your team is relating to you about how they feel both mentally and physically? Maybe instead of looking at is as the usual complaints during season (guilty), give them a day off to recharge.

If you’re installing a new offensive or defensive set, are you taking into account what your team is experiencing when they actually execute it compared to what you had in your head and put on paper? It might be frustrating because you were convinced that you had this perfect plan but give it some time and you might just see their point.

Ultimately, you don’t always have to be right. A lot of needing to always be right comes from a mindset where you’re only listening to respond. There’s strength in humility, in listening to comprehend. I by no means always listen to comprehend, it happens, but my team and I always seem to produce our best results when we do.

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