Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I've been doing a lot of reading and self-study on coaching recently. In addition, I am starting to audit practices of other coaches and actively looking for forums to continue to grow and learn in what has become one of my passions related to the game. Today I read a short article by Sean McCann, from the U.S. Olympic Committee (found here). I specifically appreciated some of the basic observations related to coaching and general leadership skills. The article is simple, two pages on the importance of credibility in any leader.

One of the key themes in the article that I always try to be cognizant of is consistency. Here is a brief excerpt:
Increasing consistency...is easy to say but often difficult to accomplish. One common mistake is to make a rule that is applied strictly for some athletes and less so for a star athlete. This is a classic example of the kind of inconsistency that leads to a loss of credibility...I have frequently advised coaches not to establish rules or expectations that they are unable to enforce. If you know that you can't be consistent in your behavior, don't pretend or you will lose credibility with your athletes.
Establishing rules and expectations that are unenforceable has always bothered me. If you are going to establish a rule or a policy, be ready to apply it - whether it be to your best player or your least talented. Most importantly, be ready to do it when you need that player most. Otherwise, your credibility is shot.

Personally, anytime I catch myself starting to elaborate on a policy or rule related to my team, I make sure to focus on the concept of how I will allow for the uniqueness of each situation, keeping the door for an adaptable response that fits the nuances of whatever the context may be. In my opinion, it is possible to do this and still maintain discipline and provide adequate direction for a team.


Luke said...

Is that quote about coaching or parenting?

wilablog said...

That was one of the reasons I like the thought. While I know nothing about parenting, I imagine it is totally relevant. It certainly applies to training Jozy!

rc said...

Case in point:

RC to Son (Jake, who is 2): If you don't go to the potty we can't go for ice cream.

RC thinking to self: Please just go to the potty, I really want ice cream.

Jake: No Potty, No Need Go Potty. Get Keys, Go Ice Cream (something along those lines).

This went on for a good 45 minutes, and it ended w/ ice cream for no one. So by sticking to my guns, everyone lost!

Luke said...

rc, so true. I hate the feeling when I make a threat to my girls and immediately realize, "Oh shit. Now I'm going to have to follow through with that".

Wayne LaBar said...

hmm way to serious for me