Coaches Education and Professionalism
It is a given that a coach should be as knowledgeable as possible.
What are you doing to today to learn and to get better? As coaches we should be constantly learning. No doubt we should question the specialists and experts, read and research, observe other coaches and other sports – that is all fine and well but don’t miss the forest for the trees. Every training session, each interaction with an athlete is an opportunity to learn.
I can only speak for myself but in my early days of coaching (when I knew everything) I missed out on many learning opportunities because I was too busy talking to listen and see. Don’t repeat my mistakes, listen, carefully observe, step back and think before you speak. Each day look at the world with new eyes, seek out the learning opportunities your athletes can teach you, it is as much as any book or expert.
Listen to what they say, watch what they do, see how they solve movement problems, they are a wealth of information and they are there everyday for us to learn from.
I am not fond of people calling coaching an industry, coaching is a profession. Because it is a profession there are certain characteristics of being professional that I feel are very important These are some of my thoughts on what it takes to be a professional in today’s fast paced world of instant information.
Passion – A genuine enthusiasm for what you do. Not just when there are crowds and on game day but everyday.
Belief – Believe in what you do and live your beliefs.
Grunt Work – 90% of coaching is grunt work. It is doing the mundane tasks that are essential. .
Experience – Train for several sports, coach several sports. There is no substitute for having to put your butt on the line on game day as player or a coach. This is essential. This does not mean you have to be a star, but at least participate.
Study and observe – Get around great coaches. See how they work. See how they praise and how they correct. Learn everything they do. Observe their body language. Listen and see how they communicate.
Learn & Research – Read scientific journals, coaching journals, technical journals. Get away from the Internet and go for straight facts. Study video.
Practice – Get proficient at the skills you must teach. Be able to capably demonstrate the movements. Know skill progressions and how to teach them.
Develop a coaching eye – Train yourself to observe without a visual bias.
Be Organized – Plan and have a contingency plan. Be on time and stay late.
Look the Part – Get fit, dress the part and dress appropriately.
Communication Skills – Sharpen them. Realize all the dimensions’ of communication. Remember communication is not sending it is also receiving.
Have a life – Take care of your family and reserve some time for yourself.
As a last thought remember: it takes at least twenty years to be an overnight success so don’t be in a hurry, take your time.