How Many Pillars Is Enough?

What are the “rules” of coaching?

Do you need to have a handbook? A playbook?

A set of 4-10 pillars that you stand by/live by/teach by?

Is player buy-in the most important thing?

What about “knowing yourself”?

Are you allowed to change your mind? Do you have to change your mind?

You do know that there are secrets out there that only a few have access to, right?

Some of any of these things is probably a good thing…and the wrong ones only invite you to keep working on being better. Isn’t that what we ask our players to do?

No wrong answer. No right answer. I’m just going to keep asking questions.

Hard To Look At

“Warts and all”, is a phrase we use to mean that we accept the failings and the shortcomings of those we love or appreciate, or, perhaps, need.

We don’t typically, however, use this phrase when we talk about ourselves. The “warts” that we know we have (how did warts get such a bad name anyway?) somehow don’t even make it to the front of the stage to get mention when we’re talking our us…or me, or myself.

It’s challenging to look for faults in ourselves. If we knew of them we would have fixed them! Or, would we? Maybe it’s acceptance that takes the place of introspection or deliberation of such faults.

Make time, front of your mind time, to examine the “warts” in your world, to look at the ways you fall short or are lacking.

As we look at our own pains or the holes in our game we may realize that they are either not so bad, or easier to fix than we thought. Either way, it’s liberating in a way to admit to these things, to say, “yes, I could/should/might be better in these ways.”

Principle #45: Why Not Change?

If you are currently dissatisfied, what’s the downside to making changes?

There are a lot of reasons why we don’t change.  Mostly they have to do with fear.

We fear losing standing or losing face if we admit weakness, and change is seen as admitting weakness, a fact that makes no sense yet consumes us in many areas.  What if we change and lose a game? On the way to improvement we may be seen as “less than”, somehow.

But, if you’re currently not happy with the situation, you are already “less than” a future you may be able to create.

Why not make a change?

Rule of Unwritten Rules

People have to sign things in order to participate.  From elementary school to the NCAA, one can’t participate unless they agree to do or not do certain things.  This we (mostly) easily accept, and regardless, the rules are really clear.

You likely have written rules for your team, no matter what type of team it is.  Perhaps a handbook, employee guide, posters in the lockerroom or a contract to sign.

On the flip side, many of us have more unwritten rules than written ones.  “Work hard”, “show respect”, “be a good teammate”, are all big picture unwritten rules.

Does everyone on your team know exactly what is meant by those unwritten rules? Do you know?

Perhaps you also have some that are similar to these: “freshman do the grunt work”, or “the head coach is always right”.

It’s time well spent to investigate and know what the unwritten rules are on your team–you may not even know that they exist–and to clarify the ones you like.  Even more importantly, shine light on the ones that are not valid or helpful to your team (“we drink a lot on Saturday nights”), and rid your team of these unhelpful rules.

Principle #5: Learn, Intentionally

“Learning from the past” should not be a random thing.  We should have a planning process, make and execute plans and look at them after they are executed.  Ask, “What worked?”, and do more of that and less of what didn’t work.

When someone says they learned their lesson, it’s often simply because a thing didn’t work out, and not often enough because we took the time to review our plans and our actions.

Take time more often to learn–the good and the bad–intentionally.

Team Malaise

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.