Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. Those who can’t teach, consult.

Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. Those who can’t teach, consult.*

— Anonymous

Similar to …

Those who can’t do, teach. And those who can’t teach, teach gym. And of course, those who couldn’t do anything, I think, were assign to our school. (from Annie Hall)

— Woody Allen

He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches.

— George Bernard Shaw


* Of course, a cheap shot at teachers, coaches and consultants, in general, but probably true in some cases. The quote is interesting with respect to coaching because some so-called natural athletes that progress in their careers to coaching acquired their own athletic skills without really defining their skills. ‘Natural athletes’ understand forces and leverage and speed and motion and coordination without much involvement of the mind — or at least not much time spent in the mind relaying the senses of eyes, feet and hands; to mental processing; to the action of the muscles, skeleton, core, hands and feet, etc.

Some ‘natural athletes’ might not really have a language that describes how they do what they do. Therefore, they can’t really coach someone on how to hit a ball, for example, because they didn’t need a language to tell their own bodies how to hit a ball. They were hardwired. They just knew how to do it. So they don’t have the language to tell a batter how to follow the ball in (keep your eyes on the ball), or how to use the force of the earth’s mass to hit the ball with the proper timing of kinetic and biomechanical linking of the ground, the feet, legs, core, arms, wrists and hands into the bat. Many coaches are inclined to focus on team and game strategy as a priority over player skills. There is another talent in coaching that can identify performance problems with an athlete and use the right language to help that athlete understand how to improve performance, prevent injury or overcome injury.

So the reverse sometimes hold true for this quote:

Those who do (or did), can’t teach.