Alone At The Top

Coaching is hard. Any program or team has a lot of moving pieces in play at any one time: players, parents, bosses, fans, vendors, strategy, maintenance, skill development, team culture all demand time and energy.

We work harder. And harder. Too often coaches hunker down and simply try harder rather than ask for help or look for a better way.

The culture of perfectionism that we talk about in our athletes exists for coaches, too.

Protecting “our stuff” is inherent to the coaching profession. We think that secrets might be stolen, ideas brought elsewhere only to beat us later…asking for help is a sign of weakness, right?

Why protect your stuff? First, you’ve likely not done anything totally new, and so much of coaching is in the talent, the team-building and the communication rather than the ideas or strategies themselves.

Make an effort to learn and share, bounce ideas off coaches of other sports, other age groups, other towns or schools.  Find a way to make it less lonely and you might find yourself enjoying it more and getting better results.

What I Just Discovered

That last conversation in your head? That idea that I thought might have merit but I’m not sure, yet? The article you read that feels like it’s on to something that would help you?

Sit with it, write on it, ask yourself what piece of you it touched.

Discovery is an action word. You have to work to discover meaning or impact, and work to make it apply to us, in specific, now.

And it’s likely that our discoveries will change just as they change us. “The thing” becomes something else and moves us in another direction.

Be on the lookout for discoveries.

Spare Time?

We ask a lot of Time.

We beg for more of it, wish it would go faster, hope it might slow down, perhaps even if time would simply be a little kinder…time is a pretty important part of our lives.

Time takes blame for it’s shortcomings, “why don’t have I more time?” we ask, as if time cut a few corners last hour and shorted us. “Where did all the time go?” we demand when our days slip away, and somehow it’s Time’s fault for not being around when we need it.

Take a moment (if you can spare it) to think about Time and how we view it.

Should Time get the credit for being productive? Maybe you get the gold star for that one and you should use a small bit of time to plan the next chunk in which you can move forward with your tasks.

Time belongs to all of us, and it’s available to everyone but not used equally.  We own our piece of time.

We don’t have that much time to spare and we can’t give it away to others, but we can choose to waste some, we can share it, and each of us gets to choose how much we how we use it.  It’s up to you.

Tick tock.

Sit With The Stink

Learning to embrace, or at least really feel it when you’re not feeling good about something is a true challenge. We’re wired to get away from pain or discomfort, physical or otherwise.

We avoid confrontation, hard situations and tough workouts because we don’t want to feel pain.

When we do fail, fall short or feel pain in a situation or relationship we typically try to cover it up, ignore or make excuses rather than actually feel how we feel.

Consider making an effort to combat these “feel good” attempts. It might be good for you.

Making it a habit to sit with that sinking or stinking feeling allows us to both recognize that it’s probably not that bad, and to help us to have perspective as we reflect on what got us to that point.

This takes practice. Go.

It’s A Group Exercise

Working together is fun. Being on the same page with other people, finding a solution that requires others to add energy to the system, to match up the gears with colleagues, is a great way to move things forward.

That’s why so many of us love team sports, and why people pay to do the same workout with others that they could do for free by themselves.

Being around other people gives us energy. Working with others gets us to the intersection of enthusiasm and hard work. This is true on a team, within a coaching staff, position group, office pod or neighborhood.

Without a structured plan, however, working with a group can be annoying and unproductive. In team sports, this is where the “one chief” model becomes important. Someone needs to direct the work, start the music, evaluate the needs of the group.

How do you make working with others one way you get better as a coach?

 

Don’t Ever Change

In a world full of throwaway lines, one that gets me is, “don’t ever change!”.

Why would that be a thing you’d like to do? Why would person A not want person B to work to improve, to test new and better things, or at least to prove that the things they do currently really are the way to go?

We should always be growing, learning, indeed, changing. And, while we’re at it we should be mentoring, teaching and growing others.

Changing equals growing. So, “change!” need not mean to become something totally different or to get rid of the skills and habits that make you great, but to grow them and grow others along the way.

How could you grow yourself ?

What Works For You?

Are you one of the millions who pays attention through blogs, Tweets or books to the ways that those who have “made it” structure their lives?

Do you follow people, learn their habits and work to implement some of those things into your life? Me, too.

Do they work? Do you stick to them? Do you really know what works for you? Because if you don’t know then you’re not testing them well enough.

To me it’s not the ‘working’, it’s the ‘knowing’.  If someone else’s routine or plan for a situation is a good one for you then for sure you should steal it! If not, then you should pitch it and find another way.

Development of an assessment system that you can use for everything from morning routines to practice planning to developing players and assistants is a key to moving forward.

Test it. Ready, set, go.

Hey, Opponent…What’s Your Secret?

Coaches, we hear, “know thyself” all the time. Starting by doing the work to know what we value, our team’s strengths and holes in our game can certainly help you in preparing your team for a competition.

Also, know your opponent.  On the face of it, a good scouting report on their players can be helpful on game day.

Dig deeper, however, watch your competition with a holistic eye. Pay attention to the undercurrent,  feel the ebbs and flows of their style and energy. Aim to see holes where they don’t even know they have them.

Find the “secret” to their game, the go-to or the “hope not”, the points in a game where they are most vulnerable or lose their positive energy…see those and attack them there and then.

Fake It ’til You Make It

Then what?

If you make it, then you’re a fake?

Making it ain’t all that.  Faking it’s just what we do. It’s all a fake operation until we test it, believe in it and make it a must-do for our personal system. Even then you might not be fully bought in.

So, yes, “fake it”, but don’t call it that. Be, then do, then you have what you have.

Rinse and repeat and love the mess!