Coaching is a process that has a deep foundation in pedagogy (Science of teaching), supported by science, forged in experience, proven and tested in the competitive arena. At its essence coaching is teaching and the coach’s classroom is the gym, the pool or the track. To be truly effective as a coach it is important to remember it is not something you do for a couple of hours a day, it is something you are. To be a great coach demands that you be all in with a total commitment to being the best you can be. After all how can we ask the athlete for commitment if we are not? Immerse yourself in the process and the outcomes will take care of themselves.
It may be a little trite to say, but GOOD is the enemy of GREAT. After workout this morning I was reflecting on what it takes to be the best. I run into a lot of coaches who say they want to be the best. It is easy to talk about it and intellectualize about being the best, but actually taking the actions necessary to be the best is another thing.
For your gymnasts it starts with talent and ability. I have seen many talented athletes who never took that last step to greatness; it is a big step into unknown and sometimes uncharted territory. It is a step filled with uncertainty and risk.
Dedication and commitment are prime ingredients. Proper guidance in the form of coaching and support personnel will go a long way toward making dedication and commitment meaningful. Certainly ability to have a laser like focus on the task at hand is important. Along with focus the ability to maintain perspective is important – the ability to balance wins and loses, successes and failures as well as maintain some semblance of a normal life outside sport are important.
Lest we forget this is a process that takes time. It is a growth process. Not very many people wake up one morning and are great. That’s make perseverance, the ability to stay the course in spite of obstacles a huge component of being great.
In my experience after all that is said and done it simply comes down to choices. It is as simple as choosing to stay in bed and sleep in or go to the morning workout – the athlete makes conscious choices to be the great or merely be good, sometimes on a daily basis. The great ones make the choice to be outside their comfort zone all the time! Frankly I think this is the reason there are few truly great ones, it is rather simple, many are called but few choose. It is easier to just be good.