How Do You Continue To Grow As A Coach?

Have you ever thought to yourself how amazing the coaching profession would be…if you didn’t have any difficult athletes, staff, or administrators to deal with?

Coaching is 90% how you relate to people and how they relate to you.

To be able to be relatable you have to understand yourself first. 

Plenty of coaches “hide” behind the X’s and the O’s. They think that tactics and fundamentals are the most important things and they really don’t want to even deal with other “stuff”.  

I believe it's the other “stuff” that makes a coach great!

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Your REAL Value As A Coach (HINT: It's Not What the Scoreboard Says)

I caught up with a coach the other day who was really bummed out.

She had just finished her season.

Her team had competed well, yet she was frustrated.

Her competitors also had strong performances.

Last year her team would have been four places higher in the overall team standings...with the same results. She told her team what she thought they were capable of achieving...they did it...and yet those results weren't reflected on the scoreboard.

She had originally planned to take some much needed downtime after the season.

Now, she was questioning her time off..."What would my boss say if I take time off...when what I really need is to sign another recruit to help our team next season? I don't feel we did well enough for me to deserve any kind of a break."

I'm wondering if you can relate? Have you ever felt like this? 

POST SEASON DIP

There can be a normal let down at the end of the season - no matter how well your team performed. 

Many coaches - if they're being honest - either feel flawed in some way OR feel the need to constantly prove themselves. 

Unless you've just won the national championship, there's always room to improve.

Even then, if you've talked to any national championship coach after they've won...the pressure and expectations simply go up instead of down.

It's so easy to let the results on the scoreboard define you.

It's also easy to let the outside world dictate how you FEEL about yourself.

It's easy...and it's not helpful! 

This kind of thinking makes you shrink and contract.  This kind of thinking does not move you forward. 

These kinds of thoughts don't help you grow and expand. 

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Do Your Excuses Interfere With Your Vacation?

I encourage the coaches I work with to schedule their vacations and downtime FIRST...and schedule the rest of the season around that.

It’s one of the hardest conversations that we have!

I get a lot of push back, resistance, and excuses.

Here are some typical responses (I'm wondering if you can relate?):

  1. THE NON-COMMITTAL COACH: "I can't commit to a vacation. There are way too many things that might come up."

  2. THE 'IF THEN' COACH: "If we do well enough this season, then I'll see if I can take some time off."

  3. THE PROCRASTINATOR: "I promise I'll schedule my vacation…'later'."

RESISTANCE TO VACATION IS PART OF OUR CULTURE

If you have a hard time taking vacation, you're not alone. 

In fact, the majority of Americans don't even use their hard-earned vacation time. 

Did you know that in 2015, 55 percent of Americans combined to leave 658 million vacation days unused. (GfK KnowledgePanel®)?

‘Work martyr’ an actual term. It’s a belief that vacations are difficult to take because:

  • No one else can do the work while I'm away

  • I want to show complete dedication to my job

  • I don't want others to think I'm replaceable

  • I feel guilty for using my time off

It's time to change this culture!

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5 Reminders From My 1st Year As A Head Coach

I still remember my very first day of work at Washington State University. I was a 26 year old first-year head coach.

I showed up in my boss's office on July 1st, 2002 at 8am, sharp - my backpack on, large mug of coffee in hand, ready to hit the ground running.

I was eager, wide-eyed and terrified - all at the same time.

My boss welcomed me in and then handed off to her assistant…who gave me keys to my office and a brief checklist - to set up email, schedule an HR orientation, and other 'new person' logistics. 

I walked into my dark new office that had blank walls , an empty desk, and a big ugly orange cabinet.

I didn't even have a computer yet. So, I sat there for a few minutes and just stared forward.

"Well, now what, Quam?," I asked myself. "What have you gotten yourself into?"

Here are 5 reminders I now share with new head coaches to support them through this transition:

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3 Different Ways To Look At Leadership That Will Help Every Single Athlete On Your Team

One thing I hear from coaches all the time is that their team is struggling due to a lack of leadership on their team.

I ask them specifically what they mean.

They often talk about team captains who aren't doing their job "because they're afraid to hold people accountable" or a few of their seniors have "checked out...just biding their time until they’re done."

"Okay," I respond..."so, what about the rest of your team? What's the leadership like on the rest of your team?

This question usually stumps them. Because most coaches are only thinking about their team captains or seniors when they think about leadership.

And sure...it's a legitimate place to start.

If you define a leader as someone who has influence then your team captains and your senior class probably have a lot of influence on your team. And as all coaches know their influence is not always positive!

Before you throw in the towel and chalk it up to a 'lack of leadership', let's look at leadership from a different angle.

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Three Ways To Close the Perception Gap On Your Team

Tawnya's team was struggling.

Her team returned to campus after a long training camp. Classes had just started back.

It's always been an odd time for her team, yet this year felt especially strange. Her team felt disconnected.

Yet, when she talked to her team captains about it, they totally brushed it off and assured her everything was going 'just fine'.

"You're making things up...we're all good coach," said one of her senior athletes convincingly.

After practice, she pulled one of her freshmen aside to ask her how things were going and got a totally different story.

SOMETHING’S UP

When "something's up" on your team...you know it.

You may not know the WHAT or the WHY…yet if you're intuitive, you definitely know the 'feeling' you get.

One of the hardest things to deal with as a coach is when you know something's wrong and your team denies it...until it's too late and everything blows up...at the most un-opportune time.

What can you do when you ‘feel’ that something’s up?

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