Just a few thoughts to wrap up this week. I hope to have a chance to get a few more blog posts down in the coming weeks as we head into the semester break. It's been a great fall but I, like the athletes, are looking forward to the holiday break; it will be a good chance to reflect on the fall semester, what went well and not so well, get some further reading in, work on some changes, and most importantly spend time with family.
-We often complain about athletes not "stepping up their game" in either training or sport performance, but are we as coaches "stepping up our game". It's always easy for me to point the finger but more times than not, I need to be pointing the finger at myself. Am I taking action to improve, or am I just talking about it? Do it... or at the least do something and learn from it.
-I once got an email from a colleague with a story about a teacher who was teaching a math class with mixed students of 'advanced' and the 'less advanced' students. The teacher did not know that the students were of different levels, he thought they were all advanced students. By the end of the year, all his students were receiving high grades. Because of the teachers expectations and standards, every student rose to the challenge and in a sense became 'advanced' students in the subject. Storyline: High expectations, standards, and belief in your students, athletes, people leads to positive outcomes.
-Praise your athletes once in a while on the quality of work and effort they are doing; it goes a long way towards developing the necessary habits and skills to continue to put forth. Athletes don't need to be told how great they are, but they need to know that you are aware of the amount of work, effort, and time they are putting in. Even for the athletes that don't "get it" and fall into the catagory of "I could do without working with so and so", find something positive in what they do and make a point of it; hopefully it will lead into improvements in other areas. Fighting fire with fire usually leads to more fire.
-If I treat athletes in a mature way, the athletes respond in a mature way. I put this quote on twitter a few weeks ago; "Mature athletes require mature parents." -manager of the Danish National 49er Sailing Team. Growing-up about how we lead goes a long way; lead by example.
-My search is often for the smallest change to have the greatest effect; I am looking for minor tweaks that can ripple through an entire program of work... unless of course the whole program sucks and needs to be overhauled; sometimes tough decisions need to be made. My hope is that I am aware enough to know the difference or that am able to objectively enough see what's necessary.
-National Corrupt Athletic Associaton.