When coaching in his training mindset, he directs his student to work on discrete skills for hours on end and is free with criticism: "When you move to your left, don’t look at the ground. Train yourself to look at the opponent.")
But fight day mindset is different. He is the "corner man" who coaches between rounds. (There is also the "cut man" who works on wounds opened up by the opponent and staunches the bleeding.) When his fighter is struggling, he never is negative: "Why did you step into that punch?" Instead he offers positive advice: "When he moves left, take a shot at his midsection.”
His bottom line: When he's negative, 50 percent of the fighter's brain gets "messed up."
That’s so true. In my years as a lawyer, I’ve been student and teacher, second chair and first chair. Several years ago I was helping a less experienced colleague in a whistle-blower lawsuit. The cross-examination of the plaintiff was not going well. Thankfully, the court called a recess.
My colleague and I went into a side conference room, and I explained what to ask and how to ask it. Back in real-time trial, my colleague sang like a canary, and we won the case.
Bottom line: there is a time to be critical and a time to be helpful. Wisdom knows which to pick and when to pick it.