Every day we impact our players. It’s not a choice we get to make. By choosing to coach we have decided to impact.
So what impact are you making? What lessons are your players taking from their time with you?
This is a question that has been with me from the beginning of my coaching career. I was one of the lucky ones to have realized this early and it came by accident. It came from the decision to read the book, “Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections on and Off the Court” by Steve Jamison. I have forgotten what made me decide to read this book but I owe almost everything in my career to the decision.
From Coach Wooden I realized the impact that coaches have on their players and it was an exhilarating thought for me. It has become an obsession for myself. If I’m going to be in this position, then I better do everything I can to ensure my players get the most out of their time with me. This set me on a path to discover what I should be teaching to the adolescents I get to teach, both on the field and in the classroom.
I began reading voraciously to find out what the wisest people to ever live had to say about what should be taught. What I learned upset me.
I learned that our current education system does not teach some of the most basic principles of life. Things we should master before we move on in this world. I don’t know why it is this way but I know it’s true. And it’s not our local educational leaders fault for this either. For the most part, their hands are tied.
But instead of complaining or trying to spend my life getting these things changed at a national level I decided to dedicate my life to those who I am familiar with, coaches and players.
Just as Coach Wooden taught me, we are in the perfect situation to do this anyways. We get people who are excited to come to us everyday. They want to learn and they want us, their coach, to teach them.
So what are you teaching your players?
Yes, we all teach them the fundamentals on the field, but what are you really teaching them for life?
Now I know most of us say we are using the game to teach them this or that. But do you truly have an exact plan to teach them what they need to know for life? Have you ever taken the time to even think about what they need to know?
We all have our time limits in life. We all have our priorities that have to be met. But if you are in the position of a coach I would challenge you to consider just how important these questions are.
Some coaches won’t take the time to do these things because they feel the pressure from the outside. They believe if they take the time to teach their players about something outside of the game that some coach down the road is going to outwork them on the field.
The good news is that focusing on this stuff also translates to better players on the field.
We quit practicing on Mondays a few years ago just to make sure we had enough time to get through this material. And the year we started doing this was the first year our school won a state championship in almost 30 years.
Most coaches think we’re crazy for the schedule that we follow. But we know it can work, and it has. Just about anything can work if you’re determined enough to make it.
So my challenge to you is this:
Decide what you are going to teach your players.
If you don’t know what to teach, go find out. Go read. Go talk to someone. Do something!
If you don’t have the time, or confidence in yourself yet, then you can use exactly what I use with our players. It can be found here.
It doesn’t matter how or where you get your material, but you better be sure you’re teaching them things that will truly help them in life. The sad thing is that most coaches will never even contemplate this.