Coaching By Numbers
Precept #78: A coach is like the conductor of an orchestra. They don’t play an instrument, often didn’t write the score and usually doesn’t even face the audience…but they had better know each and every player, part and measure of the performance inside and out, before and during the concert.
They must ensure that the intensity and pace are correct, that each player knows their role and can execute it–preferably to perfection–throughout the piece. The conductor is responsible for knowing their people well, to read body language and facial expression, to have the music coursing through their veins…
Get out the baton.
What happens when a team just loses it’s mojo?
Is this simply a “that’s what happens sometimes”, situation or can it be fixed?
Finding the cause, or lighting a spark…is one more important than the other?
Go back. Go deep. Go internal. Ask good questions about why this team plays or works on the things it does. What are the values at the core of the project or program? What’s its collective WHY?
If you can find the seed of its existence and agree that it’s one worth working for, then you can determine the actions that the group must take to move forward, to achieve and take steps in the name of the WHY.
Identify the WHAT, too. What will you do? What things will you not do? Keep track regularly and enlist a tracking system to hold the whole group to.
These small things are the only things…one piece at a time a team can bring itself back to creating a great future.
Problem identified. Now flip it and look at it with a long lens. What opportunities do you see?
After you’ve decided that this situation is indeed a problem to be addressed and that there is a change to make, you’ve made a giant step in the right direction.
You probably see a chance to make a change, or make an impact.
Start by identifying the current situation, reminding yourself of the central principles you value and brainstorming some actions.
Choosing a plan doesn’t require you to know if it’s going to work for sure. Make plans anyway and start to do the work
Punishment is an external force.
Discipline is self-imposed.
The difference is parallel to that of inspiration and motivation. We can inspire others to action, but motivation, ultimately, comes from within.
Discipline is the same way. We can offer a workout program, a daily calendar full of to-dos, build a tracking app, require a player to do certain things, and this might inspire them to find the discipline to do the things you want them to, but discipline itself comes from each of us.
Help others to find the discipline, even require the actions to be a part of your program. That’s opportunity, not punishment.
There’s a lot of talk out there about the current “everyone gets a trophy” culture in youth sports and how it’s tainting the “growing up” experience of current kids.
We talk about the fact that this is bad, and kids are consequently not mentally tough…
What are we doing about it?
Sports are hard. Losing is not fun. We don’t always get what we want.
The idea that something has to change is valid. Youth sports needs help in a lot of places. But, what about the kids already in high school or college who have a real fear of falling short, or even of experimentation. What do do about or with them?
Find a way to include struggle into your day to day activities. Even asking probing questions that don’t have a clear answer can provide a challenge. Push back on assumptions, ask “why?” and “what else do you see/think/feel?”.
These will work to provide safe struggle that can help us get used to being uncomfortable.
This is real and coaches should look closely at helping kids with perfectionist streaks and all kinds of fear.
What is integrity? It’s on the lockerrom signs, gym banners and tshirts that list core values of teams across the country.
Most won’t have a strong and clear definition.
I say it’s integration of who you are and what you do.
Knowing what you believe in is key. The central values like trust and communication have a critical role in every team. The core of who you (an individual or a team), is not a reflection, it is WHO you are or want to be.
We communicate well and trust each other. Those are core values.
What you do, the behaviors that are demonstrated are one’s true legacy. So, we work hard to identify the things we’ll do in order to be true to our values, the “who” of who we are.
When we live our values…when the actions reflect those values: that’s integrity.
There are lots of ways to “know” how programs are doing. Watch them play, read about them on social media, hear from those close to that other team…
It’s easy to judge the good and the bad from afar, and we can assess the issues that can plague any group or team just by watching the sideline, dugout or even the way they play.
Of course, the scoreboard tells us a lot, too. We “know” the good programs and those that are struggling.
Many coaches (and players) spend time looking at other teams’ cultures and concerns, but how often to we run an assessment of our own?
Having a system of program hygiene in which you thoroughly dig in to see how you’re actually doing in all of the phases of the game that you value is a key to long-term success.
Knowing the areas that matter to you – your core values – is crucial, and then having a way to assess how you’re doing is the crux of maintaining success. Having an idea of what matters is just half the battle: knowing how you’ll assess is the only way to actually get that piece done.
What’s your system?