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.
- Pour the foundation. What are you all about, Coach? ID your drivers, your values, the things that you insist upon, or wish you did.
- Frame it. Determine the language and lens that you’ll use to see the creation of the program and team. What are the critical pieces? There is no shame in asking your people here either. Get consensus, have great conversations.
- Get the tools in line & get everyone to agree on the floor plan. Determine what the finished product will look like if it’s great.
- Decorate. What’s this season’s slogan? Do you have a hashtag? A secret handshake? A goal that everyone can get in line with?
Number 1 is mostly driven by the leader. The head coach, the person at the top. YOU must have an idea of the central principles by which you’ll drive the program and from there you can, and should, include all of the important people.
Start there. Simple. Not easy.
Did you ever notice that when you shine a flashlight under the bed, or simply turn on the lights, that the boogeyman disappears?
If you have issue in your operation or in any relationship, it works to turn on the lights. Illuminate the concerns, even if you are unsure who is “right” or what the “right” thing to do is.
State the facts, solicit opinions, and see if bringing it out in the open helps to give you ideas as to how to proceed.
“The thing to do” is often super clear after you get a good look at the problem. Reflect on your values and the lens at which you see the world, and a course of action will show itself.
One of the conversations that has stuck with me for over ten years…
“Coach, I figured something out,” she said one April morning. “I’m so used to coaches being the one who yelled at us and made us run, I never thought of them as being on the same team as us.”
She was shocked when she felt support from her college coach.
It’s doubtful that all of her coaches before that were “against” her and her teammates, or that yelling was the top activity.
Yet, she FELT that way…the prevailing FEELING about coaches was of being criticized, “yelled at”, even if voices weren’t raised, and of being on the other side.
Recognize how people feel in your presence. Your words may not be as important as you think.
What is integrity? It’s on the lockerrom signs, gym banners and tshirts that list core values of teams across the country.
Most won’t have a strong and clear definition.
I say it’s integration of who you are and what you do.
Knowing what you believe in is key. The central values like trust and communication have a critical role in every team. The core of who you (an individual or a team), is not a reflection, it is WHO you are or want to be.
We communicate well and trust each other. Those are core values.
What you do, the behaviors that are demonstrated are one’s true legacy. So, we work hard to identify the things we’ll do in order to be true to our values, the “who” of who we are.
When we live our values…when the actions reflect those values: that’s integrity.
“It’s going to be even better next year,” is dangerous thinking.
Too often we forget how hard we worked. We forget the struggles and disagreements, the fights, even. We forget the pain of workouts or the disappointments of injuries.
Our brains opt to deemphasize the hard parts and glowingly highlight the good times and success (wow, what fun!).
This is results-focused thinking without any real definition of “better”, or a goal to reach for and the process that it will entail.
We want to feel all of the glory, the excitement, the upsides and the wins. We want this as individuals and as teams. We love the feeling that success will be easy, but we know better.
It was hard the last time, and it will take a similar bit of hard work the next time. Go.
People in cultures from all corners of the world swaddle their infants. They wrap them tightly in material so that the baby is constrained yet comfortable.
Arms tight to their sides, just their face clear for breathing, the child is soothed by the containment. It’s like a long-term hug, the comfort of being right where they are and their brains not having to consider much outside the swaddling material.
Entire teams can be swaddled, comforted by the feeling of being surrounded by known people, expectations and norms. Being accepted by those around you and understanding the clear rules and standards of a team offers the comfort of familiarity even if circumstances or relationships are challenging, or may sometimes feel personally constraining.
Are your team members given wide-open freedom to do what they think they should do or are they guided–gently but surely–by the comfort of clear team standards?
Is your way working?