Coaching Practice = Practice Coaching

Over and over I remind myself and other coaches that being is greater than doing. Who we are at the foundation, our core, the personal drivers, are crucial to being successful day to day. What we do, the tactics, of course also really matter, but without a sense of why we care about the things we care about, the doing can be simple noise.

Lately, however, I remind myself that the doing must be done. No matter. We don’t coach others with words alone. If our words, the actual coaching, is to be successful they must inspire others to practice. Testing the movements, skills and actions of a sport is how performers learn what drives improvement, and winning.

Without the testing, the doing, the practice we can’t keep the experiment moving and gain ground on the skills.

Coaches need to drill like this. Create opportunities to practice coaching a situation or a skill, role play with others, to do the thing. Find a way to put this into your system.

Practice coaching practice. Practice coaching a meeting, a recruiting call, a drill. Make self-evaluation more than a yearly or quarterly thing.

Be. And Do.

Rule #7

I used to say that there was no book. Now, I believe there is but it’s not what we thought. One can’t read it over and over and memorize each chapter.

When coaches talk about “the book,” as in doing things by the book, or the book saying where the ball should go on a play, they mean that there’s an answer. There is a right way in every situation.

Nope. No answer that applies in all cases. Many things happen in patterns but there is no set of moves on the field that are true or “right” in all cases.

The game will incorporate the talent, luck, karma, skill, desire and momentum in the arena and help decide the outcome in the end regardless of what was written in the introduction.

Make no assumptions. Love and play hard.

Rule #3

Most complexities are compiled of sets of simple things.

Simple. Not easy.

If your team knows where and who gets the ball, all your bases and covered and has an understanding of the need for backing up the current priorities, things will go well.

The doing is important, and the planning and understanding is critical, too.

A team that’s confident in their ball, base, backup plan–one that has run the drills over and over until the play is sharp and the communication is on point–is the one that will be able to deal with derailments with aplomb.

Being ready when things go wrong is a key to having them go right.

The story behind the scoreboard

I started to write a post along with this picture a few months ago, in November. That was before COVID-19, before there was no softball and before people were afraid, really afraid, of leaving the house or being around others.

Sure, the behind-the-scenes post I had in mind was interesting to me and might have been of note to others, but it all seems so far away in time.

Lots has happened.

I know that world-changing events like the pandemic we find ourselves in don’t happen often and there is no way that it could be diminished if I tried, but as I look at this picture I know that it would have seemed like a long time ago no matter what.

Our childhood feels like yesterday and a hundred years ago at the same time. Time flies and it crawls…we should work hard to enjoy where we are.

Do your best, both on the scoreboard and on the other side.

Sharpen A Good Blade

Coaches are wired to fix things.

This idea is built on the premise that these things are broken. What if we were to turn that negative viewpoint into one that emphasizes growing, expanding or simply clarifying the system, person or situation in question?

Does your team need fixing? Maybe, but perhaps not…or perhaps some areas need fine-tuning more than a significant overhaul. As we look for the areas of struggle–because we like fixing–we often miss out on opportunities to make our strengths even better.

Find an edge to sharpen.

Open Source Coaching

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.