Why I Coach
I am just in the middle of writing another eBook. This time it is about building confidence in athletes to cultivate optimum performance. It's been an interesting process and the book seems to be taking on a life of its own with respect to content and length.It got me to thinking, though, about why I love to coach so darn much and why I have been spending a lot of time writing this blog and writing a few eBooks.
First, I think that as human beings we have always craved to build something, whether it be building a house, building a country, building a railroad, building a community or building a program. I have always felt that as coaches, we are "building" a team. A team starts as a pile of materials. Slowly, we build a foundation of skills and individual tactics. We then start putting together the team tactics and systems that we will employ. We make sure all the parts are fitting together properly, tinkering here and there with different looks and combinations. Finally, we need the team to be complete as we head into the playoffs and the end of our season. Everyone peaking at the same time so are playing our best when the games are the most important.
This is what I love as a coach! It's the challenge of putting all of parts together to build something great.
I also know there is nothing better than working with young people. I think of myself as a teacher and a role model, and hope that I can help make the athletes that I coach better athletes and better people at the end of the day. I want them to believe that they are part of something bigger than themselves and that it is special.
Secondly, I have spent a lot of time in the last six months writing about sports, coaching and, in particular, hockey. I don't think anyone does this kind of thing without a real want to make their little corner of the world a better place. It makes me think of Dr. Peter Jensen and his book Ignite the Third Factor. In it, Dr. Jensen "examine(s) the role each of us can play in cultivating the desire to be great. How do we, as developers of people, tap into that desire and expand it?" As coaches (and writers) it becomes our mission to cultivate the desire to be great in our athletes and, expanding on that, the desire to be great in other coaches. I want the world of sports and athletics to be a better place.
Here are some of the things I hope to accomplish through my writing:
1) Help coaches find ways to make coming to the athletic field fun for everyone. And, don't get me wrong, working hard and working towards a common goal is fun when approached the right way.
2) Enable coaches, and I guess particularly hockey coaches, to think outside of the box when it comes to the way they see and coach the game.
3) Communicate teaching methods that allow coaches to simplify their sport and still get the most out of their athletes.
4) Provide tools to create a healthy "triangle" between coaches, players and parents in minor sports.
5) Offer communication strategies to empower coaches to become leaders on the field and in the dressing room.
6) Most importantly. Helping coaches be better coaches. (It is interesting that this is the first thing I wrote in my Twitter profile six months ago. It is still why I do this.)
At the end of the day, it's the young athletes and players who are going to benefit from this. If we are all better coaches, see ourselves as lifelong learners, and see all that we do as athlete centered, my little corner of the world will be a better place.