When something goes wrong we often ask a version of this question: “why did they do that?”
This speaks to intention, that the person planned to screw it up, the “why?” implying that they wanted to make a bad decision. Of course, sabotage might be in play, but usually it’s a given that the person was not motivated to do things poorly.
Errors of all kinds come from a lot of angles. Typically, lack of focus or attention to detail, lack of skill, or poor preparation.
Coaches should understand this and teach focus in addition to skill and strategy, and look to ourselves to ask how we can better prepare our people.
We act hoping we won’t have regrets for doing that thing. We incur stress that the things we do or have done are wrong; we hope that we are pleased with results of doing.
On the other hand, we don’t as often consider how we might be changed by not taking action. What if we said no? What if we allowed the status quo to be the status quo? Might that also change us?
It follows that we should consider the double negative: what have you NOT been doing that, if you had been, would have been a bigger negative?
Assess your plan from all angles and consider all possibilities.
If you have a question, someone else likely does as well.
Asking involves risk. Maybe someone will think you’re not smart enough to get it the first time, maybe someone will think you underprepared for the situation.
What others think has such an impact on each of us that we can become paralyzed with inaction. When was the last time another’s opinion alone made you better, or worse?
Get the information you need, and know that on a team, almost always you will not be alone in wondering about that question. By asking you make everyone better.
There is no such thing as “not doing anything wrong” on a team or at work. If someone is saying that, they’re probably doing something wrong.
If you are not giving, you are taking away. Energy is a zero sum game.
When you answer, “it’s going”, or “as good as can be expected,” when asked how you are, you are violating the No Neutral rule.
Be mindful of your projected energy.
Coaching is hard. Any program or team has a lot of moving pieces in play at any one time: players, parents, bosses, fans, vendors, strategy, maintenance, skill development, team culture all demand time and energy.
We work harder. And harder. Too often coaches hunker down and simply try harder rather than ask for help or look for a better way.
The culture of perfectionism that we talk about in our athletes exists for coaches, too.
Protecting “our stuff” is inherent to the coaching profession. We think that secrets might be stolen, ideas brought elsewhere only to beat us later…asking for help is a sign of weakness, right?
Why protect your stuff? First, you’ve likely not done anything totally new, and so much of coaching is in the talent, the team-building and the communication rather than the ideas or strategies themselves.
Make an effort to learn and share, bounce ideas off coaches of other sports, other age groups, other towns or schools. Find a way to make it less lonely and you might find yourself enjoying it more and getting better results.
It makes sense to read what champions have done, to follow the drills posted by those who have had great success, to “do what the best do”. Following a proven path can lead one to success.
But, nothing is automatic. Simply because it worked for her does not mean it will work for you. There are lots of possible reasons for this:
-she has more resources than you do…
-his players have more physical tools than your players do…
-her team is better shape than your team is…
-he has four assistants and you work on your own…
One person’s ideas do not always easily translate to another’s situation. That coach’s ideas just might seem like a fish out of water in your practice plan, or you might not be able to pull it off relative to other things you say and do.
Instead, read and watch things that the successful coaches do and say, value them, and spend time making them your own. How can you take their concepts and make them work for you, with your team, in your situation?
It’s the time YOU spend thinking about YOUR program that is most valuable.
How can I help?
What do you need?
Are you feeling ok? Anything I can do?
These are such well-meaning questions, but if a person is really struggling with something–a “life problem” or how to field a ground ball–they may not know what they need, and it’s probably not an answer that would be most helpful.
Offering to provide a fix that neither party knows exists is impossible, and “well, let me know…” is really not helpful.
So, just Show Up for your friend, teammate or partner of any sort. Just be there; you don’t even need to be a good listener, specialize in empathy, or even spend much time to be good at Showing Up.
In sports, showing up can look like being first to something, being prepared, being willing to lose, or fall short. It can be cheering, and it can be pushing; high fives can come in all sizes.
Showing up can be a smile or pat on the back, a “I see you working hard”, or a package of cookies, or a note or card. It can be an email or a text message or a stop-by-to-say-hi or shovel the driveway.
Just do something, no matter how minor.
There are no rules of caring for people, and don’t worry if you don’t know what to do, just show up for them.
Great teams have strong players, committed coaches and trainers, and a strong plan.
Talent matters. To have success on the scoreboard we have to have physical talent, and more skilled athletes is a plus for any team.
To really achieve we need to also consider the spaces between the people. The bodies do the work, and the forces connecting these bodies greatly impacts the ability of the team to reach its best.
In the spaces between we find the bonds that connect the people, the norms of the group, the language used to get things done and the standards of behavior.
The power of connection can make or break a season. These are the things, taken together, that many call “culture”. Connecting people, growing relationships is often thought of as an outcome of a great team culture.
Arguably, it’s what’s going on in the spaces between that is actually the start of a great team experience.
Learning to embrace, or at least really feel it when you’re not feeling good about something is a true challenge. We’re wired to get away from pain or discomfort, physical or otherwise.
We avoid confrontation, hard situations and tough workouts because we don’t want to feel pain.
When we do fail, fall short or feel pain in a situation or relationship we typically try to cover it up, ignore or make excuses rather than actually feel how we feel.
Consider making an effort to combat these “feel good” attempts. It might be good for you.
Making it a habit to sit with that sinking or stinking feeling allows us to both recognize that it’s probably not that bad, and to help us to have perspective as we reflect on what got us to that point.
This takes practice. Go.
Coaches spend time thinking about and communicating what we are for; what we stand for, what we’ll fight for, what behaviors we want to see.
We don’t spend time thinking about what we’re against. What are some of the things that people say, do or require that you disagree with? Maybe you do some of these yourself without really knowing why?
If we know what we’re against we can figure out how to unteach that thing, and use a negative to make things positive.
What are you against?