Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Coaching Philosophy 101...

            One coach got a text from a parent this past weekend asking if he was going run the same line ups as the day before. When he replied yes, she simply texted back, “We won’t be there.” 

            The half way point of a season tends to be where patience wears thin: for coaches, athletes and especially parents. Why aren’t we winning more? Why isn’t my daughter playing more?

            What tools do you have to keep this “schizo midterm” from derailing the rest of your season?

            As was written in this blog some weeks ago, ASU head coach Jason Watson saw his team win 13 of their first 16 matches but then saw the wheels come off, losing 7 of his next 8 matches. That could have been the downward spiral of the season.  But as Watson said, they stuck with their coaching philosophy and got through the rough patch and on into the NCAA tournament for the first time in 6 years.

            When was the last time you looked at your coaching philosophy? Better still, did you ever have one?

            Every IMPACT clinic, time is spent writing up a quick philosophy. New coaches struggle with this task as they don’t know what to write, they don’t know what is ahead of them. Experienced coaches have shaped and altered theirs to the experiences they have had to overcome and navigate.
            Newly hired Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Bruce Arians spoke publicly about his road through pro football and cataloged what he liked and just as importantly, what he didn't like through his 32 year career. “Treating people with disrespect, that a coach was more important than a player and lying to a player to try to fool him into believing something, things that I had seen,” Arians said. “I knew that wasn't the way to do it.”  
            Arians philosophy of trust, loyalty and respect permeated his season last year in Indianapolis and will be prevalent in Cardinal red going forward. “Those are things you build on,” he said.
            The Phoenix Suns recently hired Lindsay Hunter in his first head coaching job ever. A 17-year veteran in the NBA, Hunter has gathered many an idea from his past coaches and teammates. “ I've always taken something from the guys I've played for,” Hunter said. “I share a lot of their philosophies and beliefs, and they've all been influential to me.”  His biggest influence was his former coach Larry Brown. Hunter has taken the essence of Brown’s teachings and morphed it into his philosophy. 
            “With as many players as there are, everybody can’t be happy,” Hunter said. “But if you’re honest with them and you just tell them the truth, I think that goes a long way.” This also was driven by Brown’s insistence on coaching everyone on the team.  “I loved that about him and I think guys respected that about him.” Hunter remembered. “That’s one thing that I always said that I would do. I would coach everybody.”
            A philosophy is born.
            New coaches might need help. Getting started, the A.V.C.A. has a power point you can watch by Don Burroughs entitled “Developing a Functional Coaching Philosophy.” 
            You can also check out Athlete's Assessments for a FREE workbook on developing a Coaching Philosophy. (You will have to get through a mid-document infomercial, but it is free) 
            Ask other coaches what their philosophies are and maybe how they got them.
            In the end, this should be a blue print of why you do what you do, how you treat your athletes and a compass for when your calm seas become white capped. It’s only as important as you make it! 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Best Part of Coaching.....

Welcome to the ‘Welcome Diner.’

It’s located in downtown Phoenix at 10th Street and Roosevelt. No, this hasn’t’ become a restaurant review blog although the food is legit!

This is a story of the best part of coaching.

You see, Jenn is a former players. She played on a couple of club teams growing up, won a State title at her high school and after deciding to leave volleyball behind,  spent the next few years going through a rigorous college career that took her through such rib ticklers as  ‘organic chemistry’ and ‘sustainability.’ She worked this past summer in Santa Cruz measuring and sampling water in the lakes and streams and ocean.

Now, she’s a restaurant entrepreneur.

As coaches, you hear the phrase random often when it comes to our game, but it’s even more true of our athletes. Coach long enough and ‘what goes around, comes around.’ Some go on to play in college, some decide to head to school and some have their future decided for them through economic hardships or amazing opportunities too good to pass up.

And sometimes the random takes over.

Lisa played four years of college ball and along the way,  got bitten by the travel bug. To date, she has traveled to and stayed for week long stints (or longer) in Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, Belize and Guatemala. She has sampled their foods, stayed in hostels and met other young travelers writing their own adventures. She is readying a trip to the Far East in the coming months.

Mindy and Jenny are immersed in their nursing careers. Michelle is a dental hygienist. Trisha is a softball coach at GCC and strength and conditioning coach. Sarah is getting her graduate degree, Lindsay works with hazardous biochemical’s that require an FBI background check and arriving in the mail this week, an announcement that Tracey tied the knot with her beau of a year in her Parents backyard in an impromptu occasion.

All this from just one team. Oh, and by the way, almost all of them are coaching in the Region this season!

It’s comforting to think that some of the skills these girls learned over their careers have helped them become the young women they are today. 

Watching Jenn navigate the brunch rush at the ‘Welcome Diner’ she was communicative, making sure those in the kitchen (that is half the size of a walk in closet), knew when she was behind them.  She was all about the team, helping where she could, jumping in to help cook and serve and/or take out the trash when needed. She worked harder in that hour than most will work in a day and she made sure everyone who came and went knew who she was and invited them back. As a libero, she needed all those skills and maybe, just maybe we’re seeing the fruits of her labor all those years playing volleyball.

This isn't a food blog, it’s just a quick nod to those amazing young women who don our uniforms, make the best of themselves and through the good times and bad, make us proud.

The best part of coaching!