Do you view happiness as a goal? Do your players? Can happiness be an end state?
“I’ll be happy when we win ______,”
“I’ll be happy when I’m a starter,”
“That team seems so happy!”
All of those are may be true, however, we also know that we don’t just show up and say, “let’s do everything we can to be happy”.
The truly successful coaches, players and teams name goals to strive for and then get to work ID’ing the steps to be taken, the things that will or might hold them back, and the factors that could come into play along the way.
Only at the very beginning, and end, of a journey are we “doing the goal”.
The middle is about the work.
Just like the rest of the world, coaches are “judgy”. We think that the way we do things is the best way (otherwise, why would we do it that way?) and we find reasons to poke holes in other ideas.
So many people doing “weird” things are having great success. Is this because of the idea, the implementation, the personnel, or a combination? Hint: it’s almost always a combination.
What do YOU do that you think other people think is “weird” or outside the box? Do more of that.
When we engage in any activity we gain experience. Experience allows us to fine-tune our processes, to learn from previous reps.
Anyone will get better at an activity, to a degree, with experience, even a “negative” experience. The baby learning to walk doesn’t “get it” simply because she is growing stronger and bigger, nor do her failures keep her from working at walking.
However, enjoying an activity usually means we will do more of it, be more interested in doing it better, and thus gain more experience. It’s a cycle. One that works.
Logic says we should enjoy–at least to an extent–the activities at which we wish to get better. So making experiences fun or enjoyable would make sense.
How can you make that a part of your coaching?
Coach, do you value competitive kids? Of course. Do you want your teams to know how to compete? Sure. Will you work hard to cultivate competitiveness in players who have been working on only their own game for too long? Yes.
It’s important to value competitiveness as a team, and not in a negative way between teammates. Pushing others to “win” in a practice setting, to beat teammates is not good unless it comes from a place of love.
The sentiment of, “i’m here to make you better, teammate,” is a great way to push you team to compete, but think twice before you encourage kids to “win” at the expense of other kids, in practice.
Coaches, we hear, “know thyself” all the time. Starting by doing the work to know what we value, our team’s strengths and holes in our game can certainly help you in preparing your team for a competition.
Also, know your opponent. On the face of it, a good scouting report on their players can be helpful on game day.
Dig deeper, however, watch your competition with a holistic eye. Pay attention to the undercurrent, feel the ebbs and flows of their style and energy. Aim to see holes where they don’t even know they have them.
Find the “secret” to their game, the go-to or the “hope not”, the points in a game where they are most vulnerable or lose their positive energy…see those and attack them there and then.