What Coaching is All About
Remember back to your favorite teacher. The teacher that inspired you. Made you think. Brought out your “creative juices.” That teacher that made learning fun and you realized that new knowledge could be cool. You looked forward to attending their class. That teacher made you think and you believed.
Now lets remember back to your least favorite teacher. The lessons were usually disorganized and boring. There was little inspiration and no creativity. The lessons were usually straight from the book or the “Ditto Machine”. Every day you watched the clock waiting for the class to end.
We like to believe the best coaches are the best teachers. I remember watching Bob Knight one time say, “That my goal is to be the best instructor at Indiana University and if there is a better instructor, I am sure as hell going to find out what they are doing better.”
With most high school and middle school teams done for the season, March is always a good time to reflect on how to improve your team for next season. But maybe March is a good time for coaches to take a step back and think about how we can improve as teachers of the game.
We all get into coaching for various reasons. Maybe we had a coach that inspired us and we want to give that knowledge and passion to young athletes. Maybe we had a coach (or coaches) who were abusive and didn’t inspire. These coaches now want to give back to the game and prove that this is not the correct way to coach. Maybe we just can’t get break free from this game and we must coach to be part of the sport we love. And Maybe you coach because of perks. It gives you an extra period off, it helps your retirement or it gives you additional income each season.
All that really matters is that you are improving as a coach. As human beings we should never stop learning and we should never believe we can’t improve. One of our favorite words is legacy. When it’s all said and done, the question needs to be asked: What is your legacy? What will your players remember you for?
If you are a middle school coach or high school coach, it would be ridiculous to believe everyone of your players will play D-1 College basketball. Same thing applies for college coaches if you believe all your players will play in the NBA or WNBA. The truth is, sports can teach us so much. It teaches us leadership, listening skills, working within a group, taking direction and sticktoitivness and it really starts with the person with the whistle–THE COACH.
After every season I would take a week to think about the best ways I could improve as a coach, a teacher and a motivator. I wanted to be similar to the best teachers that I had when I was in school. My legacy would be about inspiring, motivating, being creative and always having passion. I didn’t want to be Mr Ditto or Mr Movie Guy (the teacher that always showed movies).
Ask yourself this questions:
Do your players look forward to practices?
Are your practices creative or the same practice every day?
Do you show great passion in practices and games?
Do you teach life skills or just plays?
Do you teach skill development or just plays?
Are your players able to ask you questions without you getting defensive?
Do you talk about goal setting, over coming obstacles, condidence?
Do you show movies and clips about passion and motivation?
Do you communicate with your players when they make mistakes?
Do you inspire and motivate?
The greatest moment is a coaches life is when a player comes back 20 years later and says, “You taught me everything about life. You inspired me.” That is what coaching is really about.