by Mike Davenport, CoachingSportsToday.com
I leaned against the wall. It’d been a terrible season.
Nothing helped. Whatever I did made it worse.
It wasn’t them. Wasn’t the kids. It was me.
Coaching is hard. Not all the time, but a lot of the time. This time it was wicked hard.
Yet as sucky as it was I learned something valuable: my coaching experience lacked soul (but I could fix it).
I was going through the motions. A ghost playing the role of a leader. There were three specific sins I made which eroded the soul of my coaching that season.
Sin #1: I Stole — The Wrong Stuff
Bottom line … coaches steal. Like all artists, our “art” is based on the work of others.
And like my fellow coaches I was stealing stuff, so that wasn’t the sin. The sin was I did not make the stuff my own. I was trying to coach like someone else.
I would read an article, hear a speech, watch a practice, and think, “Yeah, I’m gonna try that …” And would without adapting it to my group, and it wouldn’t work. Olympic level workouts seldom work for walk-on college freshmen — just in case you were wondering.
I was failing because it wasn’t my stuff. Wasn’t authentic. Wasn’t right.
Sin #2: I Lied
I lied that year, to the one person who should never be lied to — myself.
- I told myself I was a better coach than I was
- I told myself the fault was the athlete’s — it wasn’t, it was my fault
- I told myself “Things will work themselves out”, and I knew they wouldn’t
There are instances when it’s okay to lie, especially if the truth is just too bitter of a pill to swallow. But self delusion, what I was doing, helps no one.
Sin #3: I Coveted That
My third sin, probably jealousy, was the worst one. I wanted what others had. The grass was greener, and I wanted me some of that.
Which proved to be a distraction, and a thief. My jealousy made me miss the good things that did happening with the team, and it stole my PMA (positive mental attitude).
Things finally got better towards the end of the year. It happened when I did this — I wrote down ideas, lots of ideas.
James Altucher, who we’ve discussed before, promotes ideas. Mucho ideas. Your own ideas. He says ideas are powerful. Can be explosive. Helpful.
I remember writing down idea after idea of what could fix what was wrong. No editing, just idea after idea. I wrote while driving, while eating, while showering, while sleeping. A small notebook quickly filled with lots of scribbles.
Most were worthless. Most — but not all. And several made a big difference.
Action You Can (and should) Take
Something to consider, whether you are having a good or bad season, is recording your ideas. Write them and edit later. Put down ten every day. The first 3-4 will be easy. Then it gets harder — but that’s where the soul is.
And construct a positive peer-group. A few select folks who can cheer you on, listen, and support can be worth their weight in platinum, gold or pistachios (pick your favorite precious metal)! So you know the positive peer-group was one of those ideas I wrote down back then. Try it yourself.
Now let me ask you, how’s the soul of your coaching? Remember, don’t lie.