A lot of great articles cross my Facebook and Twitter “desk” each day. I try to read many of them when I have a moment and I am dismayed at thinking how much I miss when I am not checking social media all of the time. I am thankful for “friends” such as a my former player Ryan Carter who re-posts great articles daily and who has gone on to coach at a high level in the New Jersey area.
So, my blog today really is to encourage you as a coach to read as much as you can about the craft of coaching. There are always a few nuggets - sometimes good, sometimes bad - that you can take to your “playing field” and coaching arsenal.
Here are four articles that I was particularly taken with yesterday (I had a two hour school bus ride to Toronto to peruse my feeds):
Although the article talks a lot about improving advanced statistics of the Toronto Maple Leafs this season, what I found interesting was Coach Mike Babcock’s approach to a number of things. First, the insistence that things are done properly and attention to detail. Second, the utilization of his players - both situationally and in the amount of ice time players are receiving. Babcock has a tough job to rebuild the Leafs but if you were going to do it properly, he seems to have the right idea.
Richard Bercuson has written a number of blog posts that are right on the money. This piece is about a coach overheard berating his eight year old players because they weren’t working hard enough in practice. Bercuson makes the point that communication to eight year olds needs to obviously be more age appropriate. I would add that coaching eight year olds is going to be a little like herding cats and that finding ways to hold their attention in practice while communicating appropriately is the real art in coaching.
Liz Montroy is another writer who I enjoy reading. Her article about developing female coaches is terrific and gives us all some thoughts on how we can encourage our players to consider coaching when they have stopped playing. Making sure young coaches have the opportunity to have good mentorship in their first few years as coaches is the key to developing their teaching and coaching skills, and love of the game from behind the bench.
Maybe the most poignant piece this week was written by Karrick Dyer. His post deals with his daughter’s last soccer game and what that means in terms of her development as a young person. If you don’t go and read his post you should at least read his list “Shouldn’t the journey of sports teach these things and more to prepare kids for life beyond sports?”
Here are his 15 things:
Standard of excellence
To believe in themselves
To trust others
The value of encouragement
To know they aren’t the center of the universe
To know that success does not come overnight (or in one practice)
To lose with dignity
To accept temporary failures without blaming others, and to realize these failures aren’t permanent
To be pushed to their physical limit, time and time again
To love and to be loved
To sacrifice for others
To respect authority and rules
To never give up
As coaches we need to never stop learning, reading and asking questions. We should all be better coaches tomorrow than we are today.