What Makes A Coach Want To Quit?

I get calls from coaches every season.

They want to come to a coaching summit, but they're not even sure if they want to coach next season.

They think they want to quit.

They ask, “Should I even come to the summit?

They worry about "being a distraction" or "being a downer" to the group.

When I ask them what's up, it usually goes something like this:

"It was a really long, hard season. I haven’t talked to anyone else about the challenges I’m facing. It’s just gotten worse and worse all season long. Even if I had someone to talk to, I wouldn’t even know where to start!”

- OR -

"I’m the only female on my staff. There are things that I would do so differently. Maybe it’s just me though. I bring things up - that I think are important and they just blow it off. Or…they say it’s a good idea but things never ever change. I feel like all my feedback and ideas are just a total waste of time. I’m so frustrated. I think I'm just done with coaching."

- OR -

"I worked so hard this year. We didn't get the results I was hoping for...again. It’s almost as if any decision I make is going to come with complaints and resistance - from athletes, parents, the administration….and even my staff. I seriously can't win! I'm not sure it's worth all this effort."

I'd imagine there isn’t a single coach out there who hasn’t questioned their decision to be a coach - at least once (or maybe multiple times) - every single year.

When a coach brings up the possibility of quitting at a summit, they are often surprised to find out how many other coaches have been there, too.

Read More

Wish You Had A Magic Wand To Change Your Team's Attitude?

Do you ever wish you had a magic wand...that you could just waive over your athletes when they're complaining, whining, blaming, or being negative? 

It's unrealistic to expect your athletes to be positive and chipper all of the time. (Let's get real...I'm not always positive and chipper myself. Especially before I've had my coffee).

Yet, some days when my team would come out onto the pool deck for practice...it was like a forcefield of negative energy. It was like the dementors out of Harry Potter. (I love Harry Potter...). Everything felt heavy, dramatic, and dark.

I wished I had a magic wand to simply shift their energy.

I wanted to help them realize how carrying this heavy negative energy seemed to drain their POTENTIAL.

If only they could be more open, more light, and allow things to flow.

Read More

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:

Read More

4 Strategies For A Quiet Leader

One of the questions I often get at my coaching summits is, "Can I be a successful coach and still be an introvert?"

My answer? Absolutely. 

I really believe the more authentic you are the less energy it takes.

Being a coach is a big job already! Trying to be someone you're not will leave you overwhelmed and exhausted. 

Now, there are times when all coaches have to step out of their comfort zone and adapt their behavior - to be effective.

However, if you're always striving to please your athletes, be someone you're not, or simply trying to fit a mold of who you think you should be...you're gonna burn out.

Read More

Three Stories That Hold Coaches Back

written by Erica Quam

We all have stories we tell ourselves. Some stories originated to protect us and helped us grow into the people we are today. Some stories originated to protect us and helped us grow into the people we are today.  There comes a time when these same stories no longer serve us. They hold us back and keep us stuck!

Here are 3 stories I see coaches struggle with all the time.

1st Story -- I CAN DO IT ALL BY MYSELF

How it shows up...

You hand a project off to someone on your staff. It doesn’t get done right.

Instead of taking the time to get really clear on your specific expectations of what it looks like when it’s done and done well...you go ahead and just do it yourself.

As a coach, you are capable of a lot. You are good at juggling a lot of things - all at once. Does the fact that you CAN do it mean you SHOULD do it? Of course not!

Read More

Are Your Athletes Coachable (And Why They Should Care!)

The eye-rolls. The whispers. Groups of your athletes...complaining about the workout, meeting, or feedback you gave them. This kind of stuff can drive a coach crazy and wear you down - mentally and emotionally.

It's not always easy to be a coach…especially a head coach.

Everything you do is open to someone else's interpretation, judgement, and criticism.

How do you coach your athletes so they know you care about them as people and push them hard enough to reach their potential?

It's a fine line for coaches to walk...especially female coaches.

If you're doing it well, you'll teeter right on that edge. Some days you'll push too hard, other times you'll pamper too much.

What I know for sure is you won't ever be able to please everyone all of the time. So you can't change course with every judgement and criticism that comes your way. 

What you CAN do is educate your athletes on your role as a coach, teach them how to work with you most effectively, and help them learn how to be coachable. Otherwise...it might be best for them to move on.

Read More