3 Keys To Coaching, Leading, and Living Successfully


I’ve talked before about how faith has a major role in sports.  The day our seasons are over, we’re already thinking ahead to the next one…and what we need in order to win it all.  When we meet up with our teams in preseason, we set goals and project forward to the end of the season and the success that will hopefully be waiting for us there.  In my mind, that’s called faith.  Dictionary definition: a firm belief in something for which there is no proof.  Sports seasons by their very nature require faith.

Which brings me to one of the highlights of my convention: the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) breakfast.  They’ve sponsored this breakfast for as long as I’ve been coaching and it’s always good.  It’s a nice way to start the day and it’s fun to meet people…plus, it’s a free breakfast!  This year’s speaker was Stephanie Zonars, owner of Life Beyond Sport.  She does team building stuff, personal coaching for folks who want to maintain balance in their lives (gasp!), and also lots of speaking engagements.  She spoke about living successfully based on the book she wrote about Kay Yow…the legendary basketball coach.  Here’s what she had to say:

3 ways we can live our lives purposefully and successfully

1.      Be persevering. To persevere means to continue in a course of action without regard to discouragement, opposition or previous failure.  I’m sure we all do this when it comes to our teams and keeping them motivated.  But when we step back and look at Kay Yow’s life and her struggle with cancer…persevering takes on a new light.  I can’t imagine there’s much worse news to get than the prognosis of cancer, but from all reports, she remained a motivator and a positive influence on those around her.

2.      Be present. In our lives as coaches, we talk about this a lot, right?  All of the previous wins and losses (from the current season or even previous seasons) don’t mean anything more than the moment we’re currently in…right now is about right now.  But what about being present with our families when we finally make it home?  What would happen if we turned off our Blackberries, closed our laptops, and really took time to be present with our friends, our husbands and wives, our kids?

3.      Be thankful. I think that most people could do better with this one.  We could be more thankful of the effort that our teams put in each day in practice…of the time they give us.  We could be more thankful for our support staffs…the athletic trainers, the sports information folks, the administrative staff that takes care of data entry or accounting paperwork, the people that keep our gyms and fields in tip top shape.  We should be more thankful for our family and friends who understand that we go underground during season and that they shouldn’t expect to hang out until season is over.  And we should be especially thankful for spouses who have to deal with us when we’re grumpy after a crappy practice or worse yet, after our team performs poorly in competition.

Those were Stephanie’s key points from the FCA breakfast…with my spin put on things.  It’d be interesting to see what our lives would look like if we were intentional about doing these things daily.  I think we’d be better coaches and better human beings.

This week is devoted to my thoughts from the AVCA Convention, which was held in December. Why this week?  Because it’s Valentine’s Week and that’s all about love.  And I love coaching and I love volleyball, so this was the perfect time for it!  Topics for the week: getting the most from professional development, the FCA breakfast (an early morning!), and girl drama.  Stay tuned!