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Sports Coaches Game Plan

Posted by: Joyce Matthews   |   No Comments   |  Posted on: Sep 05, 2012

Did you notice that we had the Olympics in our country this summer? Did you see the non-stop coverage on TV? And the endless Olympic ‘tat’ available in all the shops, from T-shirts to oven gloves, and pin badges to drinking cups?  You probably heard the endless commentary and chatter about it on all the radio stations as well. And did you feel the wave of euphoria we’ve all been caught up in with the success of Team GB?
And as a sports coach yourself, you can relate to all the work that has gone into getting the competitors there. All the planning, all the training sessions, all the drills and practices, all the monitoring and measuring and evaluating, and all the people contributing to sporting performance at its peak. And most importantly the coaches – those people who motivate, inspire, guide, support, goad, influence, plan, and generally bring out the best in the athletes they coach. And you know what it’s taken for these coaches to get to the level that they are at. Because you’ve attended the coaching courses, got the right level of qualification for your sport, the right ‘badge’ of accreditation to show you can coach, the right certificates to show to employers or clubs or parents or athletes. You know the right drills to do to develop the right skills, the right tactical practices to develop the right strategies, and the right plays to play depending on the opposition. And you know just when to push those you coach that little bit further – to make them uncomfortable – because you know they will gain from it in the long run. And you’ve got a game plan for your athletes or team because you know just where you want them to go in the future. So you’ve got your process and product goals for those you coach. And you know what you have to do to get them there, don’t you?
So that’s it sorted for your new season. Isn’t it?
But what about you? What’s the game plan for you? What’s your master plan for you for the short and long term? Who coaches the coach? Because as a coach, you are constantly modelling for those you coach, and if you don’t model that you value personal learning and development, then what does that communicate to those you work with? How do you communicate your value when it comes to personal and professional development? Remember, you cannot not communicate, and verbal communication accounts for a minuscule 7% in the human communication process.
So does this mean that you have to get more ‘badges’ and more certificates? Not another weekend course that’s going to cost a couple of hundred pounds and means producing a portfolio of evidence?
Or are there other ways you can learn and develop – does it always have to be certified on a piece of paper to be valuable? What does a piece of paper signify anyway? That you’ve attended the course and passed a test that someone who doesn’t know you or your athletes has set? Does it prove that you walk the walk, or just talk the talk? Does it show learning potential or is it evidence that you’ve jumped through the required hoops to be certified as a consistent ready made product? Is there a better way, that’s more personalised, more tailored to you, more useful to you in both your coaching and the rest of your life? What if there was – what would it look like? Would it be coaching for the coach? Or is it something else? And where do you start to look for something like that?
Well, maybe you start from where you are right now.
In the light of this post Olympic and Paralympic dawn, think about your game plan as a coach? Do you have one? Do you know what result you want for you? Do you know where you are going, and how you’re going to get there? Or do you always think of results in terms of those you coach? Are you happy with the success you’re getting? You can’t really aspire for any more because at the end of the day, it’s all down to the athletes rather than you, isn’t it? What if their results were directly related to your own personal goals?  Aren’t you just a little bit curious to find out if there is a connection? Don’t you aspire for just a little bit more? Or even a big bit more?
So where will you be in one year, or two years or 4 years time? And where will those you coach be? On a windy pitch in Newcastle, in a sports hall in Norwich, or in a swimming pool in Nuneaton, doing the same as you and they have always done, and getting the same results you’ve always got? Or will you be at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 or the Olympics in Rio in 2016, or somewhere different? What’s your potential? And what learning, and practices will you take part in to unlock it?
So what’s your game plan?

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