The first year I started coaching, I went to my first major coaching convention. A week-long affair, I learned so much about the profession that I thought my head would explode. As a young coach, fresh out of college, I was living in a parallel universe of reliving my past glory as an athlete and trying to gain respect as a coach.
While at this convention, one of the speakers (unfortunately, I can’t remember her name) gave me two nuggets that I still remember to this day…this is the aforementioned great coaching advice:
- You can’t be a great coach until you stop trying to be a great player.
- No Sh*t Coaching (N.S.S.)…more on that later.
I received an email from a reader recently and she’s been doing the camp circuit over the summer and felt that her fellow camp coaches didn’t respect her because she didn’t play in college. I told her, like I’d tell anyone, that we all have to learn to be coaches…playing doesn’t prepare you for the profession. How many of us know folks who were all-Americans in college, but can’t figure out how to teach a movement or skill? Coaching isn’t about playing, it’s about teaching, leading, motivating, prodding, believing, and guiding a group of people. Coaching is a learned profession and you don’t learn it from playing. You learn it by doing and by studying those who’ve gone before you.
“Get the serve over the net!”–volleyball coach
“Make this shot!”–basketball coach
“Run fast!”–track coach
No Sh*t Coaching is stating the obvious. Using the examples above: Of course volleyball players should serve the ball over the net, does a coach really need to say that? Will a basketball player become better if his coach tells him he should make a shot immediately after he’s missed it? Does the sprinter really not know that she’s supposed to run fast? It is track after all.
When the speaker said this, it was the beginning of my desire to really delve deeply into my sport, to learn the hows and whys of each movement and every assumption that I had about volleyball. I’d advise every coach to go beyond the surface level coaching and give your athletes critiques and corrections that they will be able to use to become better versions of themselves.
Hopefully you find the speaker’s advice as great as I did!