About a year ago I wrote a post with 5 lessons from coaches I had growing up. I was extremely lucky to have had so many excellent coaches in high school and college. I’ve decided to follow it up with four more lessons.
1. “If you allow it, you encourage it.”
I played at Saddleback CC in southern California my freshman year. I didn’t get to know my Head Coach on a very personal level (or vis versa) – it wasn’t exactly his style, but man did I learn a lot from him and from that season. He said this often and it formed a central pillar of my philosophy when I started coaching. If you allow it, you encourage it. If a player is two seconds late, he’s late. If you allow it, you encourage it. A player doesn’t sprint 100% down the line? If you don’t pull that player immediately you care more about winning than teaching kids how to play the game the right way. If you allow it, you encourage it.
This lesson applies on an individual level too. What kind of standard do you hold yourself to?
2. “I want to prepare you for the bad days we all have no matter how hard you work. You have more reason to lament the bad occurrence, but less time or room to do so.”
This was written to me by the best coach I’ve ever had, and one of the best people I’ve ever known. Life isn’t fair. How quickly can you get back up when life knocks you on your ass, no matter how unjustly?
When I was 15 a coach I had sat us all down and explained integrity in a way I hadn’t heard before. I think we were supposed to bring in a goal sheet and most of us didn’t do it or did a half ass job.
To me, integrity is having your actions fall in line with a strong moral code, and doing what is right – simply because it is what is right.
This conversation impacted me during a very formative time and really got me thinking about the person I wanted to be.
4. Buy that team photo.
This was another extremely valuable lesson from my coach at Saddleback. Near the end of the season we had a photographer come out to do a team photo, and we could also get some pictures taken with small groups. The photos were like twenty bucks to purchase, but very few people signed up to buy any.
Our coach, who rarely got angry was livid. He cancelled practice and just told us to go home. When you’re nineteen years old you can’t really wrap your mind around the fact that in ten, twenty years from now on you’d really like to have that team photo.
I don’t have one and I sure wish I did.