There’s no greater thing that coaches can do that’s more powerful than being their genuine and authentic selves, not trying to be somebody else or coach the way somebody coached them. They have to figure out who they are and be that person. I know college coaches right now that are losing. And they have to work at a very conscious level to stay focused on what you say your values are, regardless of the outcome, regardless of winning or losing. If we can help coaches stay focused on the values of sport, besides the wins and losses, they’re going to feel more confident and competent.
Looking back on my coaching experience, when I first started doing this work, I was thinking now, who am I to coach coaches? I’m like, I never won a championship. I felt like I was an awful coach. And yet, now I look at it and I say, well, who better? I made every mistake in the book, and I know every stress that’s out there. I recognize there were some aspects of me that were very immature, and I probably led the league in technical fouls. And what I’ve learned through this whole process is just how important it is to have self-awareness about where you struggle. Where do you need to improve? And I think the other part as young coach, I was very defined by my results. I was very, if I win, I’m great. If I lose I’m pathetic. So everything became this up, down, up, down, where we’re trying to train coaches now, is I know how important it is to be in the middle, to be able to stay here.
The coaches felt more supported when they need to talk through an ethical situation, or they need to talk through they’d lost five straight games, or whatever it is. Coaches don’t want to necessarily talk about, do I run a two-to-one full court press? That’s not what they need. They need to talk through managing the stress around this, when at all costs mentality, when it all cost environment, or when there’s parents that are pressuring for that and their kids getting the playing time so they get this college scholarship.
Every coach should have a circle of influence around them. Having some truth-tellers around you that can tell you, honestly, where you need to improve. Not enough coaches have that. Coaching’s a hard profession when you feel like you are prepared. But if you’re not prepared, it can crush you, and it can crush the kids you’re coaching.