Using Encouraging Words

MoveSmart® training is intended to be an upbeat experience. The goal is to have everyone leave with the positive intention of applying the techniques and practices covered in the session.

To that end, it pays to make sure your language reinforces that experience. Part of that is to curb the instinct of making negative remarks.

Any time someone learns something new, they may initially be self-conscious or not that efficient. As people are learning MoveSmart® techniques they will need correct repetition and practice. When offering feedback, many of us unfortunately have been conditioned to call out the wrong and to accept the right without comment. It’s not a matter of ignoring poor form or incorrect technique. The secret is to make corrective comments in the most positive manner possible. Too many or too harsh negative comments turn people defensive or sometimes lead them to give up. It is better to be a positive influencer rather than come across as a critical enforcer.

To that end, we encourage getting rid of words like: “Wrong,” “No,” “Bad,” and the like. It’s easy to replace them with more positive words or phrases, such as “you’re moving in the right direction” . . . “Getting the hang of it” . . . “Pretty good” . . . “I like what I’m seeing,” etc.

If you see someone not applying a technique correctly simply say something like:

“Move your foot a little closer to you Line-of-Power™, and see if you feel more balanced.”


“Excellent job of super-gluing™ your arms. You can also add your line of power™ to make it even easier and more powerful.”


“Take another half-step closer to the load and see if it’s easier to lift.”


“Bring your elbows in a bit more and see if that makes a difference to you.”

Or simply

“Try this.” (Model the position you want the person to copy)

A helpful practice is to catch yourself when you’re about to give a negative reaction before you say it out loud, then either don’t say it, or replace it with more positive words. Once you get into the swing of it, it’s not that hard, and you’ll get good reactions from those in your training session.

The other side of this coin is complimenting people when they do things “right” – or right enough.

“Really good line-of-power™.”

“You got your legs into that lift. Nice going.”

“Excellent combination of SmartHands™ and SuperGlue™.”

The above suggestions were made in reference to conducting training. The practice is also applies to effective one-on-one coaching.

Remember that there are many levels of ability in each MoveSMART® technique. Our mission is to help others become ever better and more efficient at employing all the MoveSMART® techniques. As a MoveSMART® instructor-catalyst, we hope you’ll make this your mission as well.


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