COACHES CORNER: TWO FOR TUESDAYS ~ The Top 10 Lessons I Learned As A Coach

8 Jan

Five Weeks – Two Lessons Each Week


Although though this post is geared toward coaching, if readers will tweak it to their own circumstances, it’s pretty relevant to parenting and teaching, as well.

  1. WHEN AN ATHLETE TELLS YOU SHE CAN’T DO A SPECIFIC SKILL, BELIEVE HER:  I remember once coaching a cheerleader who was small and compact, graceful and talented. For some reason she kept falling out of a rotating stunt every single time she attempted it. As frustration grew and grew through the weeks of trying it, she came to me one day and simply told me she wasn’t going to get the stunt – ever. I started to feel my blood boil at the thought of the nerve she had to try and tell me what she would and wouldn’t be doing and just as I was about to blow, it hit me. What an admirable, selfless and difficult task it must be for her to come to me with her revelation. I’ve never respected an athlete more. She knew her limitations and this stunt was one of them. We took the stunt out and I never regretted it. I began to totally trust my young athletes to know their strengths and weaknesses and although I was the main decision maker, I learned how valuable it is to respect and follow the lead of those who are actually right in there.
  2. SOMETIMES QUITTING IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO: I think it often takes a lot more courage to know when to walk away from something than to stick with it. There are tons of quotes about not being a quitter and to stick ‘it’ out no matter what, but I don’t think that’s always the way to live. Certainly, we need to slowly teach our children and students the importance of making a sound commitment and keeping it, but that’s a lesson that takes years to develop. Many times, our kids are participating in things – lessons, sports, clubs and even friendships – because we put them there without ever taking the time to make sure they want to partake.

When a kid is on a team and doesn’t want to be there, everyone suffers – from the athlete to her teammates to her    coach and her parents. It’s never fair to those who give 110% when the kid next to them is only giving 50%. So who suffers more?

What we can teach kids is that we understand that not everything we hold dear means as much to them – or even needs to. We can continue to teach them the importance of making and keeping commitments within the context of what is most meaningful and doable for them.

In the end, if a team or activity or pursuit is not working for them and it’s causing more pain than joy, we can teach them even more important life lessons by letting them go gracefully.

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