When I was growing up I was in a LOT of activities. Softball, Dance, Cheer, Basketball, Track, Field Hockey, Drama. I liked to be involved and I always wanted to be a part of the action. I loved being on a team and having the built-in family those team provided. But most importantly I learned how to coach and how to be coached. These skills have proven invaluable over my life.
A good coach believes in you and the team. They make you think you can do anything (with enough practice). They believe their team is invincible. Actually, they may not really believe that. What’s important is that they make the TEAM believe it. Coach will tell you, “When you bring your A Game, nobody can beat you.” And you believe it!
A good coach makes you work on the basics. “We aren’t learning any tricks until you can perform the basics with your eyes closed 100% of the time.” It’s important to build everything off the fundamentals in everything you do.
A good coach focuses on the positive. When you make an error, the last thing you need is for your coach to point it out to you (and your team, parents, fans). You are WELL aware that you messed up. What you need is for your coach to tell you you’ve got the next one.
A good coach calls you out when you need it. On the other hand, when you’re being lazy or goofing-off, your coach will tell you to get to work. They’ll even make you run so you don’t do it again. I think that’s good. You only have a limited amount of time together. You’d better make it count.
A good coach pushes you out of your comfort zone. Let’s say you’ve never pitched or thrown a basket-toss or done a monologue. I think the best coaches MAKE you do them. It’s vital that the coach teach you, mentor you and support you, but pushing you off the ledge is part of their job.
A good coach knows when to back off. If you show up to practice crying or start having abnormal behavior, it’s the role of the coach to know something else might be going on. The coach should pull you aside to check in and see if you’re okay. Sometimes it may be nothing other than stress, heavy workload or hormones. Sometimes it’s boyfriend/girlfriend, family or school issues. A coach needs to be aware.
A good coach notices what makes you special. Each person on the team serves a specific role. Sometimes the role is talent-based. Sometimes the role is character-based. Your coach knows WHY you are on the team and what role you fill. The best coaches can articulate that and TELL YOU why you’re special.
A good coach walks the walk. A coach should never ask from the players what they are not willing to give themselves. If players aren’t allowed to cuss, neither should coaches. Coaches should be held to the HIGHEST standard. It’s their job to demonstrate respect, sportsmanship, hard work, etc.
A good coach won’t let you beat yourself. “Nobody can beat you , but YOU. Don’t you dare beat yourselves today.” All teams have been there before. You’re in a funk. Or you’re playing down to the other team’s sorry level. It’s the coaches responsibility to call you on that and pick you back up.
Let me tell you why I know ALL about what makes a good coach. It’s because I had the BEST coach. My softball coach when I was growing up demonstrated all of these characteristics. I got to see them on the field and off the field. My best coach was also…..my Dad.