“Yeah, I know I should floss everyday, but …
“Okay, a baby aspirin once a day is a great idea, but …
“Sure, driving with my headlights on is safer, but …”
There’s a benefit to taking those simple steps. You may never have a great payday doing them, but odds are you’ll have less teeth hassles, less health issues, and less accidents by doing them.
When the spotlight is turned to our world of coaching there are many simple things we should be doing there as well. Now I’m NOT speaking from the top of a “I’m smarter than you” pedestal. However, I’m coming from, “Dang, I-wish-someone-had-told-me-to-do-these-simple-things-a-long-time-ago.”
Here are three that can have a huge, and immediate, impact on your coaching.
SIMPLE THING #1: INSURANCE
Straight up, I don’t know a lot about insurance. But I DO know one thing, if you coach you NEED TO HAVE LIABILITY COVERAGE. (Yup, my use of those capital letters mean I’m yelling.)
Bad things happen in sports. Some awful things, like injuries and accidents. As a coach, you may have a responsibility when one of those nasties happen. (Notice the use of the word when, not if.)
Here’s the rub, whether you had a part in the problem or not you could easily find yourself facing legal issues. If that’s the case you need coverage to help protect you.
How much coverage? Whose coverage (yours or the organization you coach for)? How much does it cost? All dang good questions which you need answers for, from smart people who know your situation. So, get the answers by asking your supervisor, your insurance agent, your lawyer.
I asked those questions and based on the answers I now pay for a $1 million umbrella liability policy, on top of my organization’s coverage. Why? Because that was the recommendation from smart people.
It was simple to ask the questions, and get the coverage. Probably took about 2-3 hours total. Hope I never have to use it, but it’s there if I need it. [And there certainly are coaches who have needed it. ]
SIMPLE STEP #2: DON’T MEET ALONE
Short and sweet, I’ve yet to find a reason why a coach needs to meet with an athlete alone. In fact, THERE’S NO REASON TO DO IT! SO DON’T. (Yes, yelling again, and I’m not apologizing.)
Listen, if you meet with an athlete in *private* it puts the athlete, you, and your institution/organization at risk. Yes, I know you are a wonderful, upstanding, honest, caring person, without a mean bone in your body, who would never do anything wrong.
The world doesn’t know that. And hence, you are risking waaaaay too much with a closed door, coach-and-athlete only, “Oh, this is a really important,” meeting.
If you need to meet with an athlete,
- keep the door open
- have another adult in the room
- use age appropriate language
And one more suggestion, if the conversation involves discipline or uncomfortable topics (such as cuts) make notes of the conversation.
SIMPLE STEP #3: IMPROVE YOU
Our profession is all about one thing … human development.
It is NOT about *winning*, *fundraising*, or *branding*. Our main role as a coach is NOT those things. Instead, our main role IS being a human development specialist (HDS) first-and-foremost. Those other things are side-benefits of coaching.
Many coaches don’t want to hear that. Too bad. (I’m trying really, really hard not to yell again.)
As an HDS you expect your athletes to develop, grow, get smarter. Right? Interesting, they expect the exact same from you. But …
… how many coaches do that — improve themselves on a consistent basis?
Well, a recent story in the NYTimes reported that less than 10% of youth coaches have any formal training! And somewhere around here I saw a report that noted only 30-40% of professionals focus on improving themselves.
Bottom line, a simple self improvement program can yield great benefits. So are you improving? Are you trying?
You expect them to, and you tell them that every single practice. In turn, they expect you to continue to improve. The difference is that they are probably not telling you that, at least to you face.
But I will. And we can still be pals, okay?
* * * * *
The payday if you do any (or all) of these 3 simple actions just might be a longer and happier coaching career. I want you to know this: coaching is really challenging. All three of those simple steps are really about you, protecting you, helping you. I care about you, and appreciate you being here. It’s a crazy thing, coaching in today’s wild world of sports. Together we can get through it. Deal?