Questioning Learning

Leading is much more than showing, or telling, what you know. It’s allowing others to learn, or to know what they can, at this moment.

Questions are among the most powerful tools in your kit. Authentic, “this is what I’m wondering” questions lead to amazing insights.

And, the asker is often not the primary, and certainly not the only recipient of knowledge.

In fact, questions almost never stand alone. Nor does the asker. Someone else almost always has a version of the same inquiry. By not asking out loud, opportunities are missed.

A leader among peers will find ways to encourage questions rather than stifle them with a barrage of answers.

Questions are unifying. In this unprecedented time, coaches can use strong questions to bring groups together when they can’t be together, to unify thru forcing a shared experience. Learning, together, is powerful.

Leadership can look like the solo, up front, figure, the one with the microphone, at the podium, all eyes on them. It can also look like living the values, being curious about the future and asking questions that others might be afraid to ask.

Rather than saying, “Google it,” ask, “what do you think?” and see how it goes.

When All You Have is a Hammer, Everything is a Nail

Multi-tools are cool. Stuffed into a stocking, offered as a gift, kept in the glove box, just in case.

Oh, the things you can do with a screwdriver, wrench, corkscrew and nail clipper all-in-one! Whatever the problem, it’s got the tool for you…as long as you have a “standard” problem. And even better if it’s a small problem.

If your need is metric, or bigger than a nose hair scissor, or requires a hammer, the tool in the pocket of your backpack likely won’t do it.

For your problem you might need a 5/16-in socket, or a sledgehammer, those things are not in the glove box. Keep that multi-tool handy, there are lots of things that can help you with. Just don’t think that you can toss it in your pocket and be all set.

For what you need you should consult your customized toolbox.

If you’ve lived in one room, or remember your first apartment, you know what it’s like to try to open a can without a proper can opener. It’s doable with a knife and a hammer, but not safe, nor especially effective, and you might get shards of metal in your tuna, or glass in your beer.

So, for you Coach, start building a set of tools that will work for you in any circumstance. Perhaps you know you won’t need a sledgehammer, that your style will require a full set of sockets, or that Allen wrenches and needle nose pliers are going to be more important to you. Think about it, and for sure you should develop your skills for when you don’t have the exact to what you need, but you can do better than a one size fits all gadget.

And for sure have vise grips.

Rule #20

Some do, but most plays don’t require a second throw to get an out.

Good communication, a good understanding of the situation and a strong arm often will get you where you need to go.

However, planning and practicing for all possibilities is the work of a great player and team.

And more importantly, that strong play won’t be perfect every time and you’ll be glad that relay player was at the ready.

Expect the best, plan for the worst. Or something like that.

Rule #12

Rule #12 is an example of the “no kidding” kind of rule.

What if you made this “no kidding” rule, and others, a regular part of pre-pitch communication for outfielders, starting at a young age?

It’s not usually the highlight plays that make a difference. Make the routine plays easier with good talk and targeted practice along with enough live balls to make impactful experience.

Rule #10

This simple rule seems to speak for itself.

If you know who you mean or intend to say, or the action or emotion you’re having, and it’s non-controversial, saying it is easy.

Often times our intentions are not clear, and our talk might me misleading or confusing. Clarify with yourself first.

This rule requires us to know what we mean, often the more challenging part of the equation.

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.