Coach

The demeanor of a coach makes a huge difference.  I’ve had the opportunity to hear many coaches speak and to see how many different types of coaches coach.  I’ve been on the receiving end of both good coaching and what I perceived to be bad coaching.

I understand that some people react differently to various styles of coaching.  For me, I need an authority type figure.  Someone who isn’t afraid to let you know when your wrong, but then lets you know when you are right.   My high school  football coach wasn’t afraid to grab you by the mask and call you a “little chickenshit”  with chew flying out of his mouth, if you wimped out on going through a block to keep contain.  I remember that vividly.  I can remember getting chewed out as a new guy in the SEAL teams because I was the second guy in the train while we were doing CQD and I jumped back to avoid fire when I went around the corner, running into the train behind me and messing up the flow and most importantly I left the guy in front of me alone in the room.  I’ve never felt so low.  I can remember being in college and being in a tight game against Dayton but we were ahead.  We were in control of the game and winding down the clock.  I had a run over the left side and the defensive corner came down and crashed on my arm and I fumbled the ball and Dayton recovered, putting them in a position deep in our own territory with a good chance to score either come close or go ahead.  I was chewed out for that, and on top of that knew I had let my team and coaches down.

Over the years I have developed my own style of coaching and am constantly trying to improve it.  I’m not the hand holding pump you up, give you fake praise type of coach.  I will give you praise you deserve it or when you do things right.  When you don’t I will slap you your hand and let you know that what you did was not correct.  I expect if you come to me to be coached, you come with an open mind and are ready to be coached.  I have goals as a coach and if we both did our homework right then they align with your goals as well.

In my opinion the best coaches can coach anyone in any sport.   Everybody knows Vince Lombardi as amazing football coach.  What some people my not realize is that he also coached basketball, and did it well.  Great coaches are able to coach people at all ages and all levels.  They are able to change their demeanor or tactics to be able to relate to the athlete at their level.  This is something I’m constantly trying to work on.

I do think there is a tendency or a preference for the coach to be more effective at a certain sport or certain level of the sport.  For instance, one that comes to mind in Jim Harbaugh.  Now coach of the Michigan Wolverines football program.  He is an amazing coach that can take shitty teams and turn them into great ones in a matter of a couple years.  But then you see him as a professional coach and he just doesn’t get it done as effectively.  Why is that?  Now I have never been to an NFL locker room or been present to an NFL practice but my guess is that it is easier to get college athletes to buy in to the program than it is professional athletes.  When Harbaugh speaks to college kids they listen.  No doubt about it.  It could also just be his ability to recruit amazing athletes.  At the college level there is huge difference between great athletes and mediocre athletes.  At the NFL level everyone is amazing.  The advantage of having better athletes is eliminated.

What are some of your experiences?

What is your idea of a great coach?

What things do you like that coaches do?

What do you wish a coach would do for you?

Be Grateful

Today as I was driving to work I noticed how beautiful the sky looked.  I am blessed to have the privilege of living on Kauai.

With all the Stoicism I have been reading lately, it really made me think about the things I should be grateful for.  I do get caught up in thinking about money, work, and tons of other little things that sometimes I think mean a lot but in reality they don’t.

 

I’m grateful for my loving wife

I’m grateful to be living on Kauai

I’m grateful to be an American

I’m grateful to have a job

I’m grateful to be able to see

I’m grateful to be able to walk

I’m grateful to have my cognitive ability

I’m grateful for the people that allow me to coach them

I’m grateful for the tough times I’ve had because they have made me strong

 

I bet I could go on and on.   It’s surprising that if we actually stop, and give ourselves time to think, how many things will come up.

Go ahead and just stop.  Seriously.  Give it a try.

 

Get The Reps In

Many times throughout the day I find myself thinking, “That would be a good blog post.” But when it comes to sitting down to write it, I get paralyzed.  I start thinking about how do I start this, or how can I make this the best it can be, or how should I structure this.  And then…  nothing happens.  I get to caught up in thinking about how I need to improve my writing skills or come up with a great introduction.

This made me think about a story I read or heard on a podcast, I can’t remember which.  You can find it on google.  But the story goes like this:

A professor  separates a class into two groups.  One group is graded on the quantity of pounds they produce in clay vases.  Something like 50lbs equals an A, and 40lbs equals a B and so on.  The other group is graded on the quality of one clay vase.  They can plan it out however they like but they are solely measured on the quality of their vase.  The interesting thing that happens is that the group that is measured on quantity, also produces the best quality vase at the end of class.  They had time to learn from their mistakes and then improve upon them.  Whereas the group that had one shot planned and planned but when it came to executing the plan they failed to come up with a high quality piece.

I believe the same goes for my writing or anything else you and I do.  Repetition will help us progress.  It might not get us to perfect but we will certainly be better than when we started.

Apply this to your golf swing, a weightlifting movement like the snatch or clean and jerk.  You can apply this to coaching as well.  You can plan all you want, and read all the books about coaching, but until you go through the fire of coaching athletes you won’t become great at coaching.

Bottom line is just get going in whatever craft you want to be good at.  Each repetition is a chance to improve.  Sometimes the repetition will be great and other times it won’t turn out so well. Chances are that over time and with enough repetition your craft will improve.

Cheerfulness

“…Cheerfulness.

Without requiring other people’s help.

Or serenity supplied by others…” ~Marcus Aurelius

 

I came across these words in a book I’m reading called “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius and Gregory Hays.  This is an excerpt when he is reminding himself on “How To Act” as a Roman Emperor. I won’t go into who Marcus Aurelius is, other than he was a Roman Emperor that practiced Stoicism.

After reading these sentences, I wondered, How many of us can be happy or calm without other people?  How many of us really know what makes us happy on our own?

I began to think about what makes me happy.  Golf came to mind.  I will go on my own to a course that is close to the house looking for that cheerfulness and calm feeling sometimes.  But then I thought about how it really goes, I tee off on the first hole, and the happiness and calm feeling I expected to have goes out the window.  More often than I would like, the ball doesn’t exactly end up where I would want it to.

Then I thought about weightlifting.  Weightlifting is a place I can genuinely feel happy without other people.  Breaking personal records sends chills and excitement through my body.  That feeling will last for hours and even a few days and then I pursue more records.

At some point breaking weightlifting records will end.  Possibly in the near future for me.  Then I will be forced to think about what other types of things I can do on my own to be cheerful.  Reading, writing, sharing thoughts come to mind.  Growing as a human being.

I challenge you to think about the things that you do on your own that bring cheerfulness and serenity in to your life.  Take 5-10 minutes to brainstorm and see what you come up with.

 

 

 

Sweet Spot

Doing something is better than doing nothing.

Doing too much is just as bad as doing nothing.

Consistency is the key.

I thought about this one day when I was coaching an athlete in weightlifting.  She was clearly struggling to lift weights that she normally does.  But for some reason or another, she couldn’t make her lifts at the prescribed weights.  I didn’t want her to stop, so I then told her to drop the weight down and to focus on getting in some good reps.  She dropped the weight and then… makes the lift.  Bravo!   I tell her to do 3 more sets so that we can get some good work in where her body would allow. And what does she do?  She makes two lifts in a row.  Again…  Happy Coach! Then she adds weight on the third set and misses.  This didn’t make me happy.  Not only did she not listen to me, but now she is pissed and upset because she missed the weight and her attitude has changed for the rest of the training session.  If she would have taken the weight I asked her to take for 3 sets, she more than likely would have gotten in another good rep.  This would result in her getting in one more good rep and more importantly she would have been happier and felt better about herself.  This would have led to a more productive attitude for the rest of that training session, and possibly the next.

I’m not against trying to do more or extra AT CERTAIN TIMES, but if you try to do more or extra and run into a brick wall, you have to accept it and move on. Adjust, trust in the process, and keep moving on.

Too many times we get caught in the trap of thinking more is better.  That is not always the case.  And doing nothing won’t get us closer to what we want to carry out.

Below are just a few more examples of too much or too little:

With praise and reprimanding, if you do either too much they lose their effectiveness with athletes, kids, and coworkers.  With too little or no praise and reprimanding,  you probably wont get the result you wanted.

In sales, contacting someone too much can turn people off and make them want to ignore you.  Not contacting them enough, and you lose them to another sales rep.  I have experienced both sides of this.  It hurts.  Especially, if you are in a place where you are starting out and you don’t have referrals flowing through the pipeline.

With exercise, if you exercise too much it can lead to over training and the body starts to go in reverse.  Injury and illness are more likely to happen instead of fitness. The reason is because you haven’t given your body the proper amount of rest so that it can rebuild and recover in between training sessions.  And both injury and illness can set you way back. With intense exercise, recovery is just as important as the training session.  If you don’t exercise at all, it pretty much leads to the same thing.  You get weaker, fatter, and leave yourself open to injury and illness.

When it comes to business, if you work too much, you can get burnt out.  Work too little or not at all then you can’t pay your bills.

The key is to do something and to stay consistent.

Do as much as your brain and body will allow, but then listen when its telling you that you are doing too much.  But don’t stop.  Pull back a little, and regroup.

If you stay consistent in whatever it is you are trying to do and pull back when necessary, then you are in the “SWEET SPOT”.  Try to stay there and keep moving forward.

 

This Is The Beginning

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”

~Zig Ziglar

Welcome to the beginning of my blog.  My hopes are that as I write, I can truly understand some of the things I read and think about at a deeper level and gain wisdom, and if by chance you find any of this scribble useful, than that is even better.

I’ve hesitated on starting a blog like this for many years.  Even after having many friends tell me that I should write about my experiences.  I think I’ve mainly hesitated because I would think to myself, “Who wants to hear what I have to say?”  Well, I guess the only way to find out is to start.

This is the beginning.