by Mike Davenport, CoachingSportsToday.com
When I started coaching, I longed for the BIG-SECRET.
That one huge secret thing that was going to blast my coaching to the next level.
I didn’t know what it was, but I knew that it was out there … somewhere.
But over the years I learned the hard way that the big-secret was a myth. Ah … but the small-secrets were a different story.
Y’see, little steps, over a long period of time can have a HUGE impact on our coaching.
And in a world where coaches are under constant pressure to bring-their-A-game, every little bit can help.
So what little steps am I on about? Without further ado, I present the 6 Little Steps I Do Every Day … (And so we can move past the, “This guy is making this stuff up” conversation, I’ve included who I learned the steps from.)
Little Step #1, Sparks (Learned from Allen Rosenberg, Olympic Champion Coach)
Sometimes, little ideas pop up.
I don’t ignore those small mind-explosions.
See, most coaches have them. Most fail to act on them. Most miss out on possible great opportunities.
I learned to grab them when they show.
These sparks often come unannounced. Regardless when they pop up, I record them. A brain is good at creating ideas, but lousy at holding on to them.
Sparks need to be loved and nourished. Not all sparks are good ideas, but often one might catch fire.
How can they help your coaching? You’ll be surprised.
One year, I was stumped why our testing scores were not as good as they should be. In a short conversation with an assistant coach, she mentioned it seemed like the athletes were haunted by ghosts. Bam! A spark.
That was a little spark that built into the team doing test preparation we called ghost pieces, which turned our testing, and team, around. (Just drop me an email if you want to know what a ghost piece is.)
Little Step #2, Baby-steps (learned from Dr. Marilyn Campbell, my doctoral advisor)
Don’t underestimate how far you can go with baby-steps.
I wrote my entire doctoral dissertation in 10-minute chunks. That’s all I had time for with a full-time job, two young kids, and working with the U.S. national rowing team.
My schedule allowed me to squeeze in 10 minutes of focus, several times a day. If I could do six of them that gave me an hour a day, which lead to 7 hours a week, building to over a day of work a month, and finally 352 hours a year.
In one year my dissertation was done in baby-steps.
In your coaching, what if you read for 10 minutes that latest sport-psychology article you’ve been putting off? Or mediate? Or even workout? (Did you know that 4 ten-minute workout sessions give the same benefit as 1 forty-minute session!)
Baby-steps can lead to grown-up results.
Little Step #3, Conscious focused hustle (Learned from Naomi Dunford,Ittybiz.com)
I’ve learned a lot from many people. One of them is Naomi Dunford.
An idea she promotes is conscious, focused hustle. Small intense periods of busting butt.
Here’s an example. I know I need to raise a significant amount of money for my program this year. Additionally, there are items we need to replace, so money is going to be to be super tight. My boss asked me what was I going to give up to pay for those expenses, a contest, trip, etc? My response was, “I’m going to give up being lazy, sitting on my butt, and not hustling.”
This doesn’t mean I get jacked up on caffeine so I can spend all day on my budget-battles with my boss.
Instead, it means crafting out a few small periods each day, oh, say, 10 minutes, where I hustle like a Fenway beer vendor (Oh yes, they hustle).
And you, Coach? What could you accomplish with 10 minutes of conscious focus hustle? Hm??
Little Step #4, A little-help (Learned from my parents)
I try to help one person, each day.
Sounds kinda pompous, but it’s not.
I have been given so much, have it really good, and I try to give some of it back … in small ways.
I learned that from my parents. They helped people in our community right up to their 80s.
A door held open, a dropped pencil retrieved, a thank you note (hand written not texted).
Those little-helps may seem trivial, but they aren’t, especially when the other person is having a bad day.
The power of being generous, of giving, is totally underestimated. And it’s sad, because when we give, we get so much more in return.
I can’t retell how often this one thing has come back to help me and my coaching.
As the poet John Holmes wrote, “There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”
Little Step # 5 Breathe (Learned from Chade-Meng Tan in the book Search Inside Yourself),
On a typical day, one in which you do a 20-minute workout, you’ll breath over 18,000 times.
Grab 15 of those breaths and you can change your coaching. Heck, you can change your World.
Each day, several times, I do simple 1-minute breathing breaks. Sixty-seconds where I try to focus on just my breathing. I can do it walking, driving, at my desk, and yes, even coaching.
Eyes open, breath in, breath out.
Simple. What this does is:
- Drops the heart rate
- Clears the thoughts
- Centers the attention
Simple, sweet, and you can do it anytime.
I often do it several times during a practice.
Hey, what about you try it now. Three breaths … give it a shot.
Little Step #6, Record (Learned from Michael Hyatt, NY Times bestselling author of Platform: Get Noticed In A Busy World, )
I’ve just started keeping a journal of the good things that happen each day. The impact has been big.
I use the app DayOne, and every evening I write down one to three good things that happened that day.
Look, being a coach means a lot of negative things get thrown our way. Reviewing my positive journal helps me keep things in perspective.
Worth a shot, I think.
To help you take the best shot, here’s the worksheet for today’s post.