In some ways the results vs development discussion in coaching is a little like the old nature vs nurture debate. There’s a ton of discussion, a lot of disagreement and misunderstanding, which eventually will be resolved by everyone agreeing that both are relevant in different measures, and in different circumstances. If I were to sum it up in one image, it would be the featured image from the team at Keep It On The Deck.
You can read the whole article where this image came from here:
The timing of this article came at a good time for me. I recently watched a youth team with a ton of high quality players lose two and tie one of their last three games. In each game they have more than enough quality to have won. As if the players weren’t disappointed by the results, the situation is made worse by the attitude of the coach who is focused on winning, and has zero developmental skills. Players are blamed for losses, even when they follow instructions, there are fingers pointed at specific players, and the non-starting line-up are basically there to fill in positions when others get tired. They are subbed out after anything from 1 to 5 minutes, no feedback, no words of encouragement, just subbed out before they even get warm.
Fair enough, the coach wants to win, but the reality is that if you are focused on winning, you have to get results. The problem with this team is that the coach doesn’t know how. And this is why there is a problem with his attitude towards competition.
The reality is that if this coach, or any coach, wants to win (which they all should), it can only be done through developing players. Creating a starting line-up of your best players and expecting them to win isn’t coaching (especially when some of the stronger players are out of position), and it certainly isn’t developing. Development takes time, patience, adaptability, honesty, and most of all, the realization that results are the outcome, not the focus. Results are the end product of hard-work, communicating goals, teaching, and developing young players as they learn new skills and concepts. It’s not easy and it takes genuine leadership and ability. This week we will look at healthy ways to look at results, and why we need them if we want to develop our players.
Here are the three takeaways for today:
1 – Coaching isn’t the same as picking a team, and winning takes more than simply throwing a ton of talent together. Anyone remember Real Madrid and the Galacticos?
2 – Results are not the opposite of development. Results aren’t even in conflict with development. Results and wanting to win work hand in hand with development.
3 – Failure to develop creates future failure. Results need to be a long term focus, but they are only achieved through a commitment to development. Anyone remember Sir Alex and his bumpy start at United?
As the team over at Keep It On The Deck said, the problem isn’t with wanting to win, the problem is with the attitude some people have towards it. Winning is the outcome of development and the coaches who put the most into developing will be the ones who get the best results.