Same old, same old?

by Michael Riggs, M.Ed.

What an exciting time for coaches… the beginning of a new season! The stage is set for fresh new ideas that will invigorate the staff and players. The opportunity to create exciting and challenging strategies is knocking down the door. The time is perfect for getting on the leading edge of technologies that will improve your team’s performance. There’s just one big problem, though.

paint cansEach year most coaches simply recycle what they did last year. The same planning book is opened, tweaked a bit, printed and handed out to the staff for the day’s practice. Very little forethought goes into what is innovative in the realm of strategies or programs that could move their team from good to great. The habits and ruts of most coaches are grooved so deep they no longer even recognize that they are just the same old coach that they were last year and last decade.

What holds most coaches back from becoming extraordinary?

Most coaches are creatures of habit. What they’ve always done is what they will always do. In many cases coaches aren’t doing what they ask their players to do, “Push yourself and stretch to become your very best.” While the execution of habits are very necessary to producing and maintaining high levels of performance, if those same habits are out-dated and produce mediocrity they need to be scrapped. The best question a coach can ask himself is, “Are the ways I’ve been doing things producing extraordinary results?” If the answer is ‘no’, then the solution is crystal clear – create some new habits that will produce extraordinary results.

Most coaches are afraid to be creative in fear of being interpreted by colleagues as ‘different’. Coaching can be a ‘fit-in’ profession. The best coaches attract the most attention – because they consistently win championships – yet, the coaching profession is knee-knockingly afraid of attracting attention to ones’ self. Not making sense, here? In order to become a great coach you need to begin to care less about what others – colleagues, media, parents – think of you. Find your own extraordinary ways and forge ahead with them. Someday, if you do, you may be invited to speak about creativity, innovation and success at the annual coach’s conference.

Most coaches are too focused on what they are doing and don’t make the time to conduct employee satisfaction surveys. Whether paid or not, your players are your employees. Employees must be kept happy or you’ll have mutiny. Every truly extraordinary coach makes the time get out of his bubble and tune-in to whether his players are truly motivated and excited about his ways and means and the direction the program is headed. If the players are bored and are ‘going through the motions’ you can bet your whistle they won’t be producing to the level they are capable.

So, coach, do you really want to have an extraordinary season this year? Focus on three things:

  • break loose of old habits that aren’t producing extraordinary results
  • get creative and begin to care less what others will say about you and your program
  • keep your players engaged, excited and involved

S² Tip

Break yourself of the habits that don’t produce extraordinary results. Now!

Success Story

University of Northern Colorado women’s basketball head coach, Jaime White, isn’t afraid to get creative with her coaching tactics – and her team responded. Now, the stage is set for a great 2011-2012 season… nice job, Jaime!

In Another’s Words…

“I try to see each new season as a new challenge because I have a new team to work with, new opponents to encounter, and often new ideas and theories to try.”

– Mike Krzvzewski