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Communication and working relationships in sport and fitness
Communication and working relationships in sport and fitness

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4 How can you make a concise case?

An argument or case for change often can gain clarity and therefore strength by being crystallised into a few key points. Speech writers, for example, make frequent use of the rule of three: a group of three concepts to express an idea, emphasise it and make it memorable (Jefferson, 1990). The device has been used in the Olympic movement – e.g. Faster, Higher, Stronger – and can be also used for remembering tactics or strategy. For example, tennis coach Brad Gilbert successfully used this rule of three to help his athletes approach major tournaments:

  1. Aim for steady, consistent play – this is enough to win 90 per cent of the time.
  2. Attack your opponent’s weaknesses – instead of you succeeding, make them fail.
  3. At the start of a tournament, count backwards from the twenty-one sets it takes to win – make this your goal: one set at a time.
(Agassi, 2010)

The simplicity is both appealing and memorable while also offering clear direction and purpose.