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Coaching the Project

I downloaded and read a terrific eBook by Janis Meredith called 50 Tips To Help Your Child Battle Off the Bench ( It is a terrific piece for all athletes (and their parents) whether they are on the bench or not. The book contains 50 tips on being a good teammate and a coachable player. Who doesn't want to be those two things?

Unfortunately, as a coach, I have had to deal with athletes that are neither. Players who are poor teammates and uncoachable players become what I call "projects". And, you can't have too many projects on one team or the team will really suffer. But, the word "project" implies that as a coach, I truly want that athlete to succeed in being better in both those areas and I am committed to making that happen.

The Malaysian Field Hockey Umpires association posted and interesting Tweet the other day. They outlines "Why athletes with average talent succeed" and then "Why talented athletes fail". The later was a list of: 1) Don't work hard, 2) Uncoachable, 3) Selfish and 4) Listen to and have the wrong people in their circle. The first three can be a direct symptom of number four. Athletes are often motivated by those who are around them, commenting on their play and the play of others, and giving them advice that is not always helpful - contributing to things like uncoachability and selfishness. In my experience, parents are a huge influence on young athletes and if there was one piece of advice for parents it would be to make sure they are on the same page as the coach and be able to support what goes on in the field of play. Mixed messages can only hurt athletes. This may not be easy for some parents who may not agree with everything that a coach is doing but it goes to the old adage that "if you have nothing good to say, say nothing".

Why athletes with average talent succeed?

1) Work hard

2) Coachable

3) Practice hard

4) Do all the little things well

5) Value their roles

Janis Meredith has 50 great tips. I encourage athletes and their parents to give the eBook a read.

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