One of the benefits of being a coach in the millenial, digital age is access to an endless range of knowledge sources. Wisdom gained from experience, some good and some not so.
Many a successful coach (success qualified as recognised by their players, peers and record) quote influence from Abraham Maslow as a guiding principle.
“You will either step forward into growth or you will step back into safety” where the growth aspect is considered an ongoing awareness of integrity and standards while gaining experience and knowledge that advances the development of players, staff, team, club and community.
As a contrast to all the goodness that can be sourced, there are also many reflective insights into the experiences of others that are not exposed daily in the papers or sport websites and blogs that offer deeper knowledge and wisdom.
Becky Carlson sent the interweb into a frenzy across social media with “An Open Letter to the Athlete We Must Stop Recruiting” (LinkedIn comments = 1567 & climbing), that exposes the flaws of coaches enslaved to the mechanics of sport, not the principles, when in pursuit of a talented player. A complete insight into coaches consumed by the winning imperative within the lure of improvement that is somewhat distorted.
Stop Making Everything Perfect For Your Kid by Susan Speer, another view of the interfering parent, not purely in a sporting context, that easily invokes reflection of a situation that emerges at times in a coaches experience.
In cricket, accredited coaching programs from mid to elite level have shifted the focus onto genuine learning and knowledge gain with the ability to sensibly communicate, as being far more important than the latest technical and skill acquisition methods.
This focus prompts the coach to understand their philosophy, personal integrity, mentoring and being capable of effective communication in a safe and progressive learning environment. A key part of the communication is strongly emphasised as listening…….(another post coming shortly).
Reflection on the integrity aspects can be a difficult challenge for a coach. Many coaches are lumped with every conceivable task imaginable, then some more that are not listed in a position description. Overlooked often is an outlet, mentor or coach for the coach. If you are reading this and belong to the management section of a club, kindly please consider this paragraph again. The ability to be of support and strength in this alone is capable of making a measurable difference.
Coaches who are shackled to the expectation of winning can occasionally let slip the expected integrity and standards of their qualifications. It has been reportedly overheard that “he might be a top, level 3 qualified coach, but is a complete c#*@head with poor standards of behavior” a concern to club management that feel somewhat compromised.
Sections of the community are quite forward and capable of initiating and expressing outrage towards unacceptable behavior of adults towards children. Religion, education, law enforcement and community groups are some from the community that have been held up in the brutal spotlight and judged beyond any legal ramifications.
The coach who strays into like unacceptability by relentlessly sending unwelcome communications under the guise of recruitment to prospective players aged eighteen and less would be viewed dimly upon open exposure. Not to mention the harassment felt by the players and the potential embarrassment to mates innocently drawn in. Harsher terms – stalking / bullying – could be construed by minds with a different balance.
The emphasis by the sport on genuine learning and knowledge gain is key to the belief this will ensure that integrity and standards in all aspects of coaching are set perpetually high.
“Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights.” – John Wooden