Could It Work?

What if you did the work to know what was truly important to you?

What if you saw all of your actions thru a lens of the values you believe deeply in? What if you really knew what those were?

What if you worked hard to really value the impact of your actions based upon higher values that winning and losing?  It might work.

Keep doing, and work harder on being.

Rule of Unwritten Rules

People have to sign things in order to participate.  From elementary school to the NCAA, one can’t participate unless they agree to do or not do certain things.  This we (mostly) easily accept, and regardless, the rules are really clear.

You likely have written rules for your team, no matter what type of team it is.  Perhaps a handbook, employee guide, posters in the lockerroom or a contract to sign.

On the flip side, many of us have more unwritten rules than written ones.  “Work hard”, “show respect”, “be a good teammate”, are all big picture unwritten rules.

Does everyone on your team know exactly what is meant by those unwritten rules? Do you know?

Perhaps you also have some that are similar to these: “freshman do the grunt work”, or “the head coach is always right”.

It’s time well spent to investigate and know what the unwritten rules are on your team–you may not even know that they exist–and to clarify the ones you like.  Even more importantly, shine light on the ones that are not valid or helpful to your team (“we drink a lot on Saturday nights”), and rid your team of these unhelpful rules.

Principle #7 Monsters In the Corner

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.

 

Principle #78 Orchestrate

Coaching By Numbers

Precept #78: A coach is like the conductor of an orchestra.  They don’t play an instrument, often didn’t write the score and usually doesn’t even face the audience…but they had better know each and every player, part and measure of the performance inside and out, before and during the concert.

They must ensure that the intensity and pace are correct, that each player knows their role and can execute it–preferably to perfection–throughout the piece. The conductor is responsible for knowing their people well, to read body language and facial expression, to have the music coursing through their veins…

Get out the baton.

Is College Coaching a Good Job?

It’s tough out there!  50+ positions have turned over in college softball this year. FIFTY! A good amount of coaches–of both genders but more women it seems–are leaving the profession altogether.  #coachingishard

Tongue in cheek I have said that women are leaving more often than men because they are “smarter”, and when it gets tough the recognize that there are other great opportunities.  I don’t really believe that, however. I think that lots of “smart” people are finding coaching at the college level to be too big a challenge because “we” don’t adequately prepare people for the job.

Yes, it’s a job. One that needs training and deserves our best attention. Like teaching in too many places, however, we think about how people do the job and not enough about what the role of a coach should be.  There’s too much at stake to just roll out the balls and hope people get it.

Obviously, sports at the college level is zero sum. Those who win couldn’t do so without another party playing the role of loser. Someone has to win.  So, unless are are globally happy with a 50% loser rate, the scoreboard cannot be the only measure of success.

Let’s train people to define success (by this I mean administrators being honest with themselves and others) and devise a plan to achieve most of the goals. Let’s allow mistakes on the scoreboard and believe in our bones that, indeed, things like good team culture, kids enjoying the process and becoming “better” people will indeed lead to positive results on the scoreboard, but not every time and not simply because we hope that coaches and players alike “get it”.

We are better than this.

Embrace The Suck (not what you think)

You might not be good at ________.

You might even know it.

You might hate to admit it, but you really don’t care about getting better.

Although it’s not what people mean when they say it, you are (at least subliminally) embracing the suck.

It might even be your job that you have no desire to to the work to get better at.  Then what?  In some worlds one can just get by not doing things and still getting okay results…but there is a “fix” for those of us who are not willing to change:  find a good deputy or designee.

DELEGATE.

Become good at simply knowing what needs to be done…you don’t need to be good at doing it. Find an assistant, a #2, a captain, a colleague that can get these things done for you.

Embrace the suck, if you have to.

Your Mileage May Vary

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.

Problems, part 1

What is a problem? Is this thing that’s happening or not happening actually a problem?  Perhaps the reality is just the reality and you’re making it a problem for you (and maybe for others)?

Once those simple questions are answered then we can get to work on finding solutions if we need to.

One solution might be to stop allowing the situation to be a problem for you. Perhaps your mind is allowing this thing to intrude and impact you in a negative way, making it an issue for you when it need not be.

If that’s not the case then work to clearly define the issue and get to work.

Motive or Mistake?

When something goes wrong we often ask a version of this question: “why did they do that?”

This speaks to intention, that the person planned to screw it up, the “why?” implying that they wanted to make a bad decision. Of course, sabotage might be in play, but usually it’s a given that the person was not motivated to do things poorly.

Errors of all kinds come from a lot of angles. Typically, lack of focus or attention to detail, lack of skill, or poor preparation.

Coaches should understand this and teach focus in addition to skill and strategy, and look to ourselves to ask how we can better prepare our people.

Anticipation & Assessment

Regret.

We act hoping we won’t have regrets for doing that thing. We incur stress that the things we do or have done are wrong; we hope that we are pleased with results of doing.

On the other hand, we don’t as often consider how we might be changed by not taking action.  What if we said no? What if we allowed the status quo to be the status quo?  Might that also change us?

It follows that we should consider the double negative: what have you NOT been doing that, if you had been, would have been a bigger negative?

Assess your plan from all angles and consider all possibilities.