Share. Try things, make plans, try things, make notes, try things, write lists…and share.
None of us own coaching technique. Even the most novel strategies come from seeds of something that’s comes before.
It’s so exciting to share coaching ideas, sketches, failures and successes through stories and game plans executed or trashed. The idea of “talking coaching” is the way to the future for all of us.
Let’s not just hash through the hows and even the whys of our experiences, but share the this-is-how-i-got-there details. You have lots to give and there are lots of coaches out there who can learn from your experiences.
Adults trying new things are a lot like babies learning to walk…stand up, fall down, reach for something to lean on, fall down again…sometimes your legs just wave in the air because you can’t even roll over to try again.
But, you do. They do. Roll over, stand up, fall down…
Some can essentially do a push up before they stand up. How cool is that?
Eventually, most babies get moving, on their feet.
What’s your method?
“It’s important that, first and foremost, before anything else…”
You are a good teacher, or listener…
You have a morning routine…
You have well-established, stands-the-test-of-time core values…
You have a power pitcher…
You know who you are…
…and so on…
Really you just have to make your best effort at planning to be your best at whatever angle you decide on. Right now. For these people.
Yes, you’ll make changes. It’s ok. You’ll look back and say, “WOW! Was that a crazy ______!” (Ask your Mom for some middle school pictures).
The magic is that there is no magic. You create the tricks. Practice. Stink. Repeat.
Does it need to be?
Does coaching need to feel out of reach of anyone? Should it feel like one needs to have years of training, and that many of us will never be ready?
Yes, coaches need to be trained. Trained in the skills of the game and in keeping players safe and teams as safe places to operate, but do we need to have all of the answers?
I’d argue that if we are good at asking questions we will get better at seeing the answers…for the time being, until we have better questions.
Raise your hand.
Who gets to help shape your program?
Who doesn’t get to? Who is supposed to show up and shut up?
Who MUST contribute?
Think about how you want your program to be, to become, to feel to those who come near it.
Think about it, write it down, and share it.
You’ll probably think today’s version is lacking, or even terrible, at some future date. That’s ok. Think about it, write it down, share it and see what happens.
Look at the littlest things when things are not going well.
What small components need a tweak?
Start with the little things. It’s easier and more effective than dismantling the big things only to find that it’s the little things that needed the work in the first place.
Each time you state what you’re all about, what you stand for, you set yourself up to fight for that moment to moment.
If you are “all about” discipline, for example, you then need to be ready not only to be disciplined in your actions but to fight for the belief that discipline is important.
It has to work.
Coach, do you rank your players on various metrics? Maybe even as simple as “he’s an A player, but has a B (or C) attitude”. If you use numbers, does a “1” player with a “3” attitude equate to a kid who’s a “2” in both in your estimation?
Putting aside the fact that I’d like to know your qualifying standards (how do you measure??!?), is averaging the way to go? Do you have a number that you’d like your team to be at?
What’s the optimal combination of traits and of players?
Why not define the standards and hold everyone to all of them instead?
Coaches, be boring.
Spend the time to know-really know-what you care about, what your language is, what the standards are…what’s this thing all about?
If you have a simple set of terms that work for you on and off the field, a glossary that everyone knows, it doesn’t matter if people have a variety of accents.
Coaches who say the same thing over and over, in a language that people understand are not boring, they are consistent and easy to play for.
And they often win.
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.