How great coaches leave their mark
Leaving your mark. It’s something I talk to my teams about a lot.
But what about for us coaches? How do we leave our mark on our teams? Here are three ways that we can inject our philosophy and personality into our programs.
1. Write down your philosophy.I’m a big proponent of having a coaching philosophy. I’m of the camp that asks, “How will you know where you’re going if you don’t have a map?”
Having a written philosophy is good for those days when things aren’t going according to plan — it keeps you on track. It’s good for those days when your team may question what you’re doing, and it reminds them of your personal goals. Having a written philosophy is good for when you’re having a one-on-one conversation with athletes or parents, because it communicates your integrity and ability to lead.
2. Have visible reminders.
Put your personal philosophy somewhere in your office where you can see it. Make sure your team’s goals are somewhere that they can see them every day.
I once read an article about leaving your mark in business. It said, “If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.”
Obviously, we’re not hiring, but we are recruiting to get athletes involved in our program. We should be sure to get student-athletes who move us forward. In addition to that, we’ve got to convince our teams that the way to get our teams to the top (and stay there) is to recruit players who are better than they are. A hard sell to be sure, but a necessary one.
If the team is more worried about playing time than the team, your goals will be awfully hard to accomplish.
3. Celebrate your backstory.
You need to inject your personality into your organization in some tangible way, and I think that’s something we coaches already do. Every year, we have a hall of fame induction dinner for those athletes who excelled at a great level during their competition years.
Even though I don’t know the folks who get up to the podium and thank their families, professors and coaches, I still love every minute of it. Because it shows that the love, patience, kindness, toughness, caring and character of the coach they had years ago. That coach still has an impact on their lives, and it’s pretty remarkable.
There’s a Bible verse that says to not get weary in doing what’s good. So I’ll say the same thing to you. The folks in our profession do good things daily — let’s not forget it. Remember that when your eyes are tired from looking at film, your throat hurts from talking at practice, or you don’t get the pat on the back that’s well deserved.
Dawn Redd is the head volleyball and assistant track & field coach at Beloit College in Wisconsin.