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.
We ask players to do it out side of formal team sessions, we know that our kids should get time in after piano lessons, people go to the driving range (not me, but some people)…do you practice the skill of coaching?
Do you work on your question-asking skill and train your eye with extra video work? Do you talk to the other coaches in your organization about the things they do that work for them regarding the infrastructure of coaching, not just the problem-of-the-day?
Find ways to get in the coaching gym and improve your skills. This is just as important as you technical knowledge.
Doing this is closely related to learning how to fail, just as we we ask our kids. You’re likely going to ask a yes/no question when you wanted more detail, or design a conversation that falls flat. Great!
Keep practicing being a coach. It’s more than doing coaching.
Today I asked a college coach in her 3rd year as a head coach what she thinks departments should do to help first year HCs?
“What do you wish had happened?”, that first year, I asked her.
I wish that it was not optional to have regularly scheduled coaching sessions.
I needed help that I didn’t even know about.
I needed someone to ask me questions and reflect my answers.
I wish I had a chance to ask about the mechanics of running a program.
I needed some lessons on head coaching.
Where were we for that coach and the athletes that didn’t get our best product?
So, there is probably a really good way to do the thing that you need to do. Others have done it before, I’m sure, and you can get a lot from their experience.
You can research the best way to do this thing, you can rely on your own experience or you can ask a friend.
In my experience, I find that relying on my own best practices, for that thing or other similar things I’ve done before, is the best way to get a satisfactory result.
If I think about the way I like to do things, the way the best things have worked out for me, I find that there aren’t really an unlimited way to do things…
So, do something, see how it feels when it’s done, redo it, and go from there.
The best way to practice, is to practice.
Have you heard someone talk about a tactic, a coaching idea of some sort, and implemented it in your program to no avail? It didn’t work.
You’ve worked something in to a practice, or with a team and loved it. Then, you try it again and are not satisfied?
There’s no simple one-size-fits-all response to these situations. Try it again? Do it differently? Changing a variable might change results, it might not. The most value is in your inspection of the situation. Your testing is important, and your consideration of the “why” and the “how” is just as important as the result.
Make a plan, execute, look back and assess. Then, plan again. “Try something new” is only one possible option.