There was a lot of excitement about Twitter in the early days. I remember first seeing it and thinking how cool it was. And for many years it has grown to be the social media choice of many.
But . . . today . . .
Ah, today. Twitter has become a utility. Like the phone (not smart phone, but voice-to-voice phone), toaster, and microwave, Twitter is hardly thought of now. It is used, no doubt, but taken for granted. It is there behind the scenes, a piece of furniture.
That brings us to coaches. I suggest that coaches are going the way of Twitter, toasters and microwaves.
What does it all mean?
Truthfully, I’m not sure.
Will coaches become like a piece of furniture, taken for granted until it is time to cart it to the dump, or give it to the college students down the street?
Again, I’m not sure. But I am fairly confident that becoming like Twitter matters.
Here’s why – coaches are an important part of our society. We play an important role. You do not have to search far to see coaches, regardless of the age being coached, acting as counselors, advisors, a surrogate parent, or a resource for a struggling individual.
Coaches help athletes in so many ways outside of the competitive environment – all across the country. At all levels. But the impact of coaches becomes lessened when they are taken for granted, when they are considered to be common-place, when they become a utility.
The decay of utilities
All across our country utilities are in a state of decay. Power lines, water mains, bridges, telephone poles. Decaying and falling by the wayside.
When something is taken for granted it doesn’t receive attention. Without attention, as with animate objects, inanimate objects (such as utilities) decay.
And so the danger becomes that if coaches are considered a utility, and taken for granted like Twitter, they won’t receive attention and the decay sets in. With that decay, sports suffer but more importantly athletes become at risk.
There are signs
I am not giving an idle warning of something years in the future. It is possible that this moment-of-truth is upon us now. There are signs in the paper, on television, on social media that the decay is here.
And is this our new coaching reality?
If I am right a new reality may be upon us. I’m not sure what the reality could bring or how it would be different than in the past – but it will be different.
For instance, a statement such as “This is the way we’ve always done it” is no longer applicable in the coaching world and can get a coach in significant hot water.
My wife recently gave a talk at a coaching workshop about how educational organizations (and coaches) must now accommodate for students (and athletes) with food challenges. This is something very new and prompted by legal action. Once it used to be okay for a team traveling down the highway to all roll into the same fast food restaurant and if there was nothing to eat for one of the athletes coach could say “Tough Luck.” Now that statement of “tough luck” can be a career ender for coach.
But do coaches know of this change? Of the 150 or so coaches she presented to only a handful knew. Again, they had received no attention about this important matter and so decay had set in. (If you’d like to watch the 18 minute video just click here – it might save your career!)
I like twitter, and I like toasters and microwaves and telephones and other utilities. I just think that we should be very careful about coaches becoming one.
If you like this post, please share with a colleague, especially the video link. And if this post did nothing for you, let me know. This newsletter is about you, and that is important to me.
– Mike Davenport