Dealing With Feedback, Criticism, and Complaints

At the end of the season, you’re going to get feedback from your athletes, staff, and administration.

A lot of coaches - consciously or unconsciously - have a lot of stress during this time.

Couple that with the fact you’ve had a long season…and probably not much of a break.

How do you respond to criticism - from your athletes, parents, administrators, or other coaches?

Sorry to be the downer...and I'm letting you know there will always be people who judge and criticize you for actions you take and decisions you make. 

You can't escape cricitism!

It doesn't matter how hard you work, how perfect you are, or what level of success you reach...there will always be someone there to judge you.

How do you respond?

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Up Your Game This Season: 7 Leadership Skills To Master As A Coach [Part 2 - Vision and Action]

Vision and action is a leadership skill. Leaders set goals and work to achieve results. 

Most coaches are great at the vision part. 

You know where your team is going...or at least where you want them to go...or where you believe they CAN go.

You can have the best and most grandiose vision of what your team is capable of this season.

You can't go anywhere without the action.

If you aren't able to answer yes to the next three questions then this is where you can start to improve this skill.

1. Have you communicated your vision to your team?

Your athletes have a short attention span...and with as over-scheduled and distracted as they are...I'm sure you can sense it's getting shorter every day.

Plan to communicate your vision at least ten times before they even hear it.

They will roll their eyes.

They will think they've heard it before.

Be patient.

Keep repeating your vision.  Get creative in how you communicate it.  Make it fun!

By the fourth or fifth time your team hears it, it begins to seem real. Adjust your barometer from, "Do I really have to say this again?" to "I've said it six times, only four more to go."

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What To Do When an Athlete Screws Up

The first time I kicked someone off my team, I yelled.

It wasn't the way I wanted to handle it and...I hadn't yet learned another way. Kicking her off the team was also partly my fault.

In my early days as a Head Coach, I resisted confronting my athletes to hold them accountable. I had a young woman on my team who clearly wasn't doing her part and on a totally different page than the rest of the team. 

The writing was on the wall during the first week of practice. Yet, I ignored little problems and minimized her mistakes. I basically did everything I could to avoid a confrontation.

I didn't give her feedback on where she was falling short - until I clearly had to do something as the head coach to salvage my team. They had to endure my lack of action. I would get irritable with other athletes - when it was her I was frustrated with. I kept telling myself she’d figure it out somehow… until it was too late. 

Since shifting careers, I’ve spent thousands of dollars on my own coaching, taken countless seminars and continuing education classes, and read hundreds of books and articles. I really wish I had learned these things when I was coaching!

I've compiled a simple strategy to be able to pass it along to you...so you can spend less time spinning your wheels and more time doing what you love as a coach - connecting with your athletes. 

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A Lesson from a Fly

The Tale of a Fly (adapted from Price Pritchett)

There's a small fly burning out the last of its short life's energies in a futile attempt to fly THROUGH the glass of a windowpane. The whining wings tell the poignant story of the fly's strategy - try harder. But it's not working. The frenzied effort offers no hope for survival. Ironically, the struggle is part of the trap. It is impossible for the fly to try hard enough to succeed at breaking through the glass. Nevertheless, this little insect has staked its life on reaching its goal - through raw effort and determination.

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