Think for Yourself…The Power of Self-Reflection

As a youth coach and adult fitness instructor I am constantly helping members with new movement patterns, weight loss or general fitness goals, agility, speed, strength and much more. Throughout these experiences I have been able to recognize a strong correlation between developing athletic skills and creating new habits regardless of age. Through a simple four step process we will not only teach the members but empower them to maintain and transfer these new skills or healthy habits into the real world.

In a past article I discussed the importance of a four step process.(Skill it, Drill it, Thrill it and Kill it) This procedure is a simple way of breaking down the steps to conquer a behavior change or master a given skill.


Skill It (Learn Something New)

The ability to discover and learn new skills or behaviors. Discover what needs to be done, how to execute as well as develop a game plan to set yourself up for success.

Drill It (Practice Practice Practice!)

The process of trial and error or exploration in which we try to get a better understanding of a new skill or behavior through personal experience and coaching. This step of the process takes time as you discover what works best for you, practice the skill or behavior and ask questions as help is readily available.  

Thrill It (Recognize Change/Self-Correct/Challenge Yourself)

By this point you have made some progress with your skill or behavior and are beginning to feel more confident. At this time we will start to discuss the importance of self-reflection and personal choices as a teacher, parent or coach will not always be there to help. This step is crucial as we prepare our members to become strong, confident and independent individuals who can maintain their skills or behavior in the real world where it matters.

Kill It (Transfer to Sports/Life)

The final step is a reflection of all your hard work, time and effort that has been applied to the given skill or behavior. This is where your skill is transferred to the field, court or ice and your behavior is maintained in the real world without the assistance of others.

Now that we have a brief preview of the 4 step process i would like to discuss the importance of self-reflection and personal decision making in relation to a few targeted groups 10-13 yr Athletics, H.S  Athletics and Adult fitness/behavior.


Athletics- 10-13 yrs old

First i would like to start with the youngest age group 10-yr old athletics. When it comes to the four step process it will apply and assist with athletic development and behavior although the way we present or coach can be all the difference. At athletic revolution the 10-13 yr old age group is divided into two groups Exploration(Fitness) and Exploration II (Advanced). For these groups the phase of skill it and drill it may not vary much between the 2 groups, starting simple with 1 or 2 important cues and slowly grow and develop with speed or additional cues when ready. However the advanced level class tends to be filled with higher skilled athletes allowing us to possible challenge them with more complex exercises or sport specific skills, while exploration will explore more general movement patterns. As the progression continues regardless of skill or behavior the third step of thrilling it and self reflection may be difficult to ask of your 10-13 yr old athletes. However it all depends on how you look at it. If they are capable of answering a question about the skill, correct an improper demonstration of skill or as a coach seeing the skill transfer from outcomes based coaching to game play can all be signs of thrilling it at the exploration level.

All the following applies for our advanced level class but most of these athletes are at a higher level and can be challenged a little further.To help these skills and behaviors transfer to the real world and give these athletes a true advantage it is important to hold them accountable. During the thrill it phase ask how it felt (good or bad), did you notice anything change or how can we make it better. At first it may take time but eventually all hands will be up to share as these athletes take pride in their athletic intelligence and skill. Even though asking questions develops a great foundation for skills or behaviors to transfer we need to take it just a bit further. Next allow the athletes to go through exercises/skills with no guidance. After ask if anyone self-reflected, changed speed or made a change during the exercise/skill.More often than not a majority of class may not have done the following because no one had told them to do so.

Anchor the goods here! Explain how a coach can’t be on the field, a teacher cant help during a test and mom or dad may not always be there to tell you what to do. Time to start thinking for yourself as personal choices and self-reflection is something that is going to become a bigger part of your life as you become older. After anchoring the good these athletes will begin to take their skills to a new level as they begin to understand there is always an opportunity to improve. In relations their confidence in their skills and behaviors show as they are eager to share their success.  At this point they have learned, practiced and developed the skill or behavior to the point at which it will have a positive impact on the young man or women moving forward.


Athletics 14+yrs  High School

With the 14+ age group the process begins to progress as the athletes are more mentally and physically developed as well as have a stronger understanding of the impact training has on their sports performance. While the 4 step process applies, a huge dividing factor can be experience. What i mean is i may not treat a new high school athlete the same as a member who started at a younger age and developed a strong foundation through Athletic Revolution. If the athlete is new i may treat the situation similar to an exploration II athlete with the possibility of speeding things up as the athlete makes gains and develops a better understanding. As this athlete continues within 1-3 months they will adapt to our ways and will be held to the same standard as the other experienced athletes.

Athletes who have experience can still use the 4 step process as a tool for success. With this age group we provide a 3 day rotating schedule for a 4-6 week time frame to ensure training density, gain experience, improve movement patterns and maximize results. The first step of skill it doesn’t change much as the focus is still gaining a better understanding of the skill or exercise through minimal cuing. As the athletes continue to build a new movement pattern and gain confidence start incorporating additional cues to  build a strong foundation from the start.The biggest difference with this age group is the speed at which they learn as they are expected to get through the skill it phase within 1-2 weeks. The only exception is the skill it phase is ongoing  as it can be important to take a step back before taking two steps forward at any given point in the process. Next we come to drill it. Once again things haven’t changed much as we dedicate 4+ weeks towards practicing the giving skill or exercise. The biggest difference here is we begin to incorporate self-reflection, self-exploration and increase personal responsibility. Over these 4 weeks athletes will be progressed individually based on movement pattern, execution with workload as well as personal understanding of skill or exercise. Although this step takes time it may also prove to be the most influential step when it comes to developing long term results. After 4+ weeks of grooving movement patterns, gaining confidence and making proper progression the athletes have reached the thrill it phase.

This phase of the process tends to be fun as the final 2 weeks of the program are giving the athletes the opportunity to truly challenge themselves with supervised personal bests, increased speed and coordination and use of advanced progressions. Although this step can be fun make sure to keep things safe and effective as it’s always okay to regress before progressing as a personal best is awesome but the real goal is to transfer personal gains from the gym to their sport or real world situation. With the help of self reflection and  some assistance with personal choice(athletic intelligence)  the athletes begin to push themselves to new heights as they transfer their new found strength, speed, mobility, stability or skill to their sport or activity. Finally we have come to the kill it phase. At this point the high school athletes can break down, self correct, and execute the skill or exercise when needed inside or outside athletic revolution. Although we have set them up for success it is important to stay fresh with skills and exercises as well as make it clear that although we may be in the kill it phase does not mean we are perfect. Never become complacent as there’s always an opportunity for personal improvement.  


Fitness/Behavior- Adults

After relating this 4 step process to youth athletics it’s time to change gears and focus on adult fitness and behavior. When beginning any fitness or behavior change it is important to start simple and build as we do not want to make the situation stressful or overwhelming as this can be detrimental to any personal change. After identifying their personal change it’s time to take action as the skill it phase allows the adults to figure out their busy schedule, identify an ideal nutrition plan and build confidence as we prepare them to start and maintain a long term change.

Now the real work begins as the drill it phase is going to be the most influential step of them all. Here the adults are going to experience ups and downs as they go through a stage of exploration. It’s time to try new things, self-reflect and figure out what works best for you…don’t be afraid of failure as it’s part of the process and allows you to grow. The drill it phase is an important time to explore but it is also important to listen and learn from your coaches, peers and yourself as you still can use your resources for help in order to build strong new habits.  After going through exploration and gaining experience the adults will start to have a better understanding of what works and what does not as well as what they are capable of maintaining long term. Here is where they begin to create strong habits as their hard work is starting to reflect their goals whether it be fitness or behavior related.

While the new habits become a way of life and confidence is up you are ready for the thrill it phase. Here the process changes as things become a little bit more difficult as life starts to test your new way of life and help may not always be available. It’s time to self-reflect and use what you have learned to maintain your new ways for life. Although help is not always available this can be a great opportunity for independent growth as now is the time where you need to stay strong, believe in yourself and self correct mistakes to prepare yourself for any boundaries that may stand in your way especially when nobody is there to help. When an individual has created new habits, built confidence, become capable of self-reflection as well as conquered varies boundaries they have proven themselves ready for the kill it phase. The kill it phase can be both fun and scary. What i mean by this is it can be fun to reap the benefits of all your hard work as the future’s looking bright. On the other side this is where old habits tend to come back and the constant temptations of everyday life can takes its toll. In order to stay successful for the long term feel free to resort back to any of the previous stages to re-evaluate the situation, get help if needed and assess future game plan to maintain results. Stay confident and make the right choices for you!

In conclusion you can use the 4 step process of skill it, drill it, thrill it and kill it with any given skill or behavior. Although learning something new or making a change takes time, taking the right steps at the right time will show you that your time and effort was worth it as setting yourself up for success is key. In addition to this process we have been able to recognize the importance of self-reflection and personal choice as it’s proven to be a key factor in developing a skill or making a change especially in its relation to long term success regardless of age or personal goal.

Take some time out of your busy day and self-reflect about your day, choices you’ve made or future options you may have. Go into detail and make a personal choice that is best for you! See what happens and learn from your experience as you become one step closer to your goal and where you want to be.

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