I want to tell you a story…about a time a coach lost her season.
She was excited about her athletes, her staff, the possibilities of this being THE year. And then it ended. In the middle of a Friday practice she was told it was over. Her season was snuffed out.
But you don’t need a story—because you are living it. The rug has been yanked from underneath you. You had nothing to do with this, but it’s happened.
This is a bizarre and crazy time, but we CAN make gold from melted yellow crayons.
Let’s do this Coach.
The Place to Make Coaching Gold Is Where Things Don’t Make Sense
That quote from Adam Robinson puts a wrapper around it—it’s weird outside. I can’t go to my fav restaurant, the library, the gym, or go coach. Bet you can’t either. And right now we mainly have 3 choices. We can:
- Hide under the bed
- Stumble around in a self-pity stupor
- Find Gold
You’re a coach. Let’s find gold.
When Things Get Weird, the Weird Turn Pro – Hunter S. Thompson
You are NOT the sum of your won/loss record. Your value runs much deeper. It spills out into the community. Impacts those around you. You are a leader. And leader’s buckle down. Here are 13 actions to take:
A) Sleep Like You Were Meant To
No offense Warren Zevon, but we need sleep—now more than ever. Sleep makes all the difference.
My wife travels the country working with high-performing teams on improving their sleep. Most people (most coaches) are totally under sleeping. Making up for it with caffeine, gruff attitudes, lower performance. Now is the perfect time to get back on track with your sleep. Get 8, Feel Great! And stay healthier.
B) Keep Regular, Positive Connections With Your Team
Now, more than ever, your team needs you.
More than just giving them workouts. They need guidance, empathy, love. How can you reach them? Set up a few times a week to Zoom, Hangout, FaceTime them. Check in.
Show empathy. They are probably struggling as much if not more than you. Be an understanding Pro.
C) Salute Those Leaving
If your season is done, then you will have people moving on, not returning next season. Maybe someone lost his senior day—but is still a senior. What about a Google Hangout with the team, and parents, family, friends, etc? A recognition session…
D) Send Thank You’s
Daily, thank some one who helped. Not a blurt-out-in-the-hall thank you. Write a note. Address it. Put it in the mail.
People are going to drool over the mail these days. Can’t wait to see what comes. Surprise them.
E) Send a “Think You”
A think you is like a thank you, but you’re thinking about them, so you check in.
Email, letter, candy gram. Friend, mentor, teacher…”thinking about you and just wanted to check in.” It’ll bring a smile.
F) Do Something Different
Here’s a guy who is doing something very different. He does it for him, not for me or you. But listen to him, watch his actions. He is so engrossed he ignores the freezing water.
What would be different for you? Maybe you don’t know yet, but try stuff. For me, it’s drawing these. Find something just for you.
G) Get Better
We both know you are a good coach. And we both know you can get better. Now is the perfect time. A few suggestions here.
It’ll be worth it. Maybe a differentiator. Keep in mind…you’re asking your athletes to improve. Lead by example, and tell them what you are doing.
H) Do Your Next Year “Macro Plan”
Just by the nature of being a coach, you are a planner. What do you want your team to look like 365 days from now? Three years in the future? Five years?
It’s a perfect time to plan. Daydream. Yet don’t get bogged down in the micro plans just yet…since NO ONE knows quite what will be happening even tomorrow. Stay macro. Stay sane.
I) Make Goals for Next Year
Goals fit into your plan, and plans fit into your goals. Like peanut butter and jelly inside of bread. Work them together.
Often I had goals and there was no way I could get a plan to get there. And I’ve had plans that lead to goals I never thought of. Keep them fluid, intertwined.
J) Clean A Space
Let’s move past disinfecting for a few…and talk about cleaning. See, you’ve got a place you practice/work in. Maybe its a state-of-the-art facility. Or it’s the trunk of your car. Doesn’t matter.
When you clean something, invest labor, it’s a decent way of appreciating what you have. And for others to see that. Clean and post on social, “Getting ready for when we start up again.” This goes to not only function, but also positive vibes and visions for your team/players/you.
K) What worked? What didn’t
“This, this, and this worked this year.” Great. Keep doing them.
“Oh, and this, this, and this didn’t work.” Stop doing those, then. Perfect time to tweak your planning, workouts, equipment.
L) Organize/Upgrade/Fix your tools
You’ve got tools to help you coach. Maybe wrenches, whiteboard, whistles. Are they in good shape? Upgradeable?
Every summer I would go through my tool box, and recycle/dispose/upgrade the old and weak. Few coaches perform well with marginal tools.
Reduce your news consumption. Constant news stresses us out. And stress makes us more susceptible to illness. Limit your news intake. Constant “breaking news” WILL break you. Use that time for self-improvement, or better yet…
N) Look Around
Be nice, be helpful. Many people are hurting, scared, strapped. Can you help them? Just one person. One act of kindness can make someone’s day, save someone’s life.
At the end of the day, we have a great chance to show off the good side of being human. The true power of being a coach. It’s an unusual time. Be an unusual coach!
(BTW: the rug was actually pulled out from underneath several of my friends back in 1980, when the US pulled out from competing at the Olympics. The pain is still never far away.)