“Why does an article talking about coaching have a picture of a band as the featured image?” I hear you ask. Good question. It’s because the patterns for success are the same in many different activities where performance is needed, whether it is singing, acting, music, public speaking, sport or many other activities where a level of performance is needed. In order to achieve excellence, there are certain elements that must be in place: practice, rehearsal, choice of tools, team-building, discipline, and some form of coaching, whether it is a coach, director, songwriter, or anyone else who directs the activity and pushes for improvement).
A while back we looked at the difference between practicing and rehearsing, and we won’t rehash that here, but it is an important component of performance. Today, as the title suggests, we’re going to look at the nature of coaching in rehearsal and performance. As I posted a couple of weeks back, when I first started coaching I made so many errors it is amazing I was allowed to continue. I was focused on results because players and parents wanted to win, and if I am honest it made me feel good as well, which was a huge error.
On top of not developing, I would play players in their strongest positions and try to eliminate weaknesses in the team by putting weaker players in positions less likely to harm the team. Among the many errors I made, I see now that one of the biggest I made is that I would coach from the sidelines. I would be yelling across the field telling kids what I wanted to see while play was going on. Looking back, I was not a coach I would want coaching my kids. These are things that really get under my skin when I see them now.
I didn’t develop or coach, I managed. I told the players where to be, what to do, and how to do it. I didn’t help them learn and I didn’t allow them to make mistakes, and they definitely didn’t feel safe making mistakes. I coached in the way many coaches had coached before me, following the Calf Path, with the same goals and objectives as those who had gone before. Rather than standing on the shoulders of giants, I was hanging from the tails of Smurfs. Finding positives in defeat was hard, and results, rather than performances were celebrated or critiqued. Fortunately I was able to coach many of these players beyond those shaky beginnings and change the environment, and I am truly thankful for that. The week we will look at what happens when we yell instructions, and how results may tell a different story to the reality.
Here are the three takeaways for today:
1 – Excellence doesn’t come about through formulas and instruction, it comes about through practice, creativity and learning from mistakes.
2 – Both managing and coaching will bring results. Managing can often get them quicker. Coaching will get them from longer.
3 – We are often so eager for success that we will try to tell people “what to think” and not “how to think”. This is especially true when it comes to kids and the creativity we are crushing is criminal, not just in sport but across many areas of life.
If we stick to formulas and what has been done before we will only see the results we have seen before. If we allow room for creativity, accept mistakes, and learn from the moments that didn’t go well we will create an environment of growth, and that is how success becomes part of the DNA.