If I was a coach, today … I would hire the smartest 6-year old I could find to teach me all about how she connects to her Universe. She has never known a world without an iPhone, or Facebook … has probably never mailed a letter through the USPS, and if she is American, has always lived in a country at war.
It would be interesting to learn how she sees the future, how she communicates. Why? Soon, maybe very soon (depending on where I coach) I might be recruiting or coaching her.
If I coached, today … I would
- buy the best liability insurance policy I can
- never, ever, under-any-condition be alone with an athlete
- only transport my team using professional drivers and equipment
- make sure every member of my board, or athletic department management, or whoever makes financial decisions that impact the experience of the athletes, spends a day walking in the athletes shoes
If I was a coach, today … I would take a referee out to lunch. Pronto. And I would pay.
I’d ask all sorts of questions — digging — to understand how a ref thinks. I would ask what I can do to make the referee’s job better. Yes, better. And easier. More fun. What do coaches do he hates, and what do we do he loves?
I really want to know what drives him nuts. I remember having lunch with a friend, and he invited a buddy who was a police officer. That one-half hour I had with my friend’s friend (and he was very gracious as I peppered him with questions) changed the way I drive, and the way I look at police officers (hint, their work-life is tough and they get a lot of grief. A lot.).
If I was a coach, today … I would think every parent could do a better job than me. I wouldn’t believe it, but that’s what I’ve been told.
So what I would do is invite my loudest critic to coach for a day. To sit in my seat, pace on swim-deck, drive my launch, stand on my sidelines with a whistle, and coach. I don’t expect this experiment would change the critic much; but it might give him a little understanding of how a coach has to work in the Wild World of Coaching Sports Today.
Over the years, at my college, our coaches have made an effort to invite faculty members, parents, critics, to join them on the sidelines. To actually be “Coach For A Day.” We have had great success creating engaged (and knowledgeable) supporters that way. Scary, huh?
If I was a coach, today … I would ask my athletic director to let me shadow him – so I could get an understanding of his job. The phone calls he gets, the decisions he makes, budgets he has to balance, the tough conversations he has. (Hint, see above Coach For A Day). Even scarier.
If I was a coach, today … I would ask my significant other to write down everything he or she does when I am coaching. Then, I would take the day off of coaching and do all those tasks, chores, errands that the sig. other does. A greater appreciation goes a long way. Scariest of all!!
If I was a coach, yesterday (1900) … I would have thought, if you told me that tug-of-war, underwater swimming, and croquet would be dropped from the Olympics, you were crazy. And if you told me that in 2016 mountain-biking and trampoline-gymnastics would be popular Olympic events I would have tried to have you committed.
If I am a coach, tomorrow … I will wonder why we:
- weren’t more proactive in preventing concussions
- stalled in efforts to reverse global heating
- allowed good coaches to be driven from the profession while we tolerated bad coaches who did so many terrible things
If I was a coach, anytime … I would practice what I preach to my athletes. If I’m waving my arms and telling them they need to “eat well, take vitamins, drink water, stay fit,” then I’d be doing the same.