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Do Your Personal Goals Take a Back Seat to Coaching? Here are 12 ways to help you carve out more time in your busy schedule.
This post was provided by Busy.Coach
By Mandy Green
Carving out time in our busy schedules to accomplish things outside of our coaching lives isn’t easy. After all, we coaches are all too versed in the multi-role lifestyle. We’re coaches, we’re significant others, we’re parents, we’re colleagues, and we’re friends.
Whatever your goals are outside of coaching–starting a coaching blog, running a 5K, losing 10 lbs, and so on–if you’re not working toward achieving them, you probably have a long list of excuses which purportedly explain why you’re still in stand-by mode. And lack of time because of your coaching job is very likely to be at the top of that list.
Coach, do you sometimes feel like you are “sacrificing” your work for personal goals?
I found this definition of sacrifice: “to give up something for something else considered more important.”
If what I am saying rings true for you, you need to stop using a lack of time as an excuse and start making the time to pursue what you want. But how do you find time when you’re incredibly busy?
Below you’ll find 12 ways to make time to achieve your goals. Obviously, there are more but I just wanted to give you a few ideas to get started.
No matter what goals or aspirations you might have, no doubt there is at least some form of sacrifice required for progress. And the only person who can determine whether or not it’s worthwhile is YOU.
So I encourage you to look at what’s really important. When you are making a decision between your personal and work goals, carefully evaluate the risks and rewards. What will be left behind? What will take its place? What do you really want, and what are you willing to give up in return? What price are you willing to pay? And how much is too much?
These aren’t easy questions. They force you to look at the whole picture and how your career impacts other areas of life. It’s not just about the money, or the title, or the lifestyle. It’s about ALL of these things and what they mean as a whole—to you, your family, and your future.
This article was provided by Coaches Network
By Alan Hargreaves and Richard Bate
There is nothing worse than a player who won’t or can’t listen. Because successful communication with your players is crucial, it pays to have some insight into the field of knowledge called communication. This field of knowledge has much to teach us, including the fact that, although we all have the ability to receive as well as transmit messages, many of us—especially coaches—are more skilled at transmitting than receiving! We might improve ourselves as coaches simply by becoming better listeners! Also, we know that body language, posture, and gestures (nonverbal communication) are all very important in transmitting messages to others, especially messages of enthusiasm and commitment.
What we say or do usually carries with it an emotional message. For example, some people can convey intense anger with a softly spoken word or inject humor into the most violent-looking gestures. We want to highlight three types of communication that will enable you to gain access to the minds of your players. These three types, which are often combined, are verbal, visual, and physical communication.
As coaches, we probably use verbal communication more than any other method. We know from experience that talking with players, rather than at them, can be one of the most effective means of communication. When you tell players what to do, always consider how they will receive your message; try to anticipate their reactions.
Receiving good news is always pleasant; we all enjoy being praised, provided that it is sincere praise. When you see a successful performance, stop the practice and explain and demonstrate why the performance is successful. We call this the double positive approach because you simultaneously reinforce the player for good play while establishing the correct points of technique for the benefit of all players engaged in the practice.
However, players do make mistakes. When coaching players who can be especially sensitive, try to correct mistakes without discouraging them. If you go directly to the negative—the failure or mistake—you can very easily make a player feel insecure to such an extent that he may avoid trying again. Instead, begin with a positive opening remark before you correct what the player is doing wrong (e.g., “Good try, but . . .” or, “Yes, that move was OK, but . . . ”).
By giving an encouraging opening comment, you make the player feel secure and thus receptive. To be really effective, you must open the player’s mind to advice. In this way you avoid creating the closed mind of the irritated or reluctant player, whose negative emotions might momentarily interfere with cooperation and reason.
In our view, the double positive approach is the most important of all of the strategies. If you can spend most of your coaching life looking for and positively reinforcing what is right, good, and correct, then you are much more likely to be a happy, successful, and respected coach.
We believe it is a mistake for any coach to continually tell players what they should be doing. You can often achieve far more by asking players rather than telling. We recommend what is known as the question-and-answer technique. For example, if you ask your players a question such as, “Who can tell me why that was such a good pass?” or “What defensive systems are our opponents using?” you will achieve two objectives. First, you will elicit the correct technical diagnosis; and second, by involving the players in the discussion, you will encourage them to develop their own powers of observation and critical analysis. Getting players to appreciate and develop their own knowledge of the game is surely at the heart of good coaching, and the question-and-answer technique enhances this process.
Good visual communication—the ability to demonstrate well—is a priceless gift. Not only does a good demonstration provide a picture for your players, but it also adds to your credibility and prevents the boredom of long verbal explanations. Following are some important characteristics of a good demonstration:
Simplicity. Emphasize only one major point and perhaps one minor point each time you demonstrate. Bring out additional features in the next demonstration.
Reasonable goals. Your demonstration should always set goals that are within the ability of your players.
Appropriate body language. If you want players to move quickly and urgently, demonstrate the correct pace and tempo of the movement. If you want to stress calmness and composure, let your body movements and your voice convey these qualities.
Talking while demonstrating. This enables you to draw attention to key points while you are actually demonstrating them.
Refraining from overdemonstrating. Restrict demonstrations to one or two repetitions. You may occasionally need to demonstrate a skill three times, but four or more demonstrations will usually bore your audience.
You cannot afford to continually make errors in front of your students. How, then, do you handle a mistake when demonstrating? You may find the following strategies useful:
Always try to rehearse in private. If you need a server, practice with that person. If the server makes a mistake in the actual demonstration, don’t try to compensate; stop and try again.
Before you demonstrate, say to the group, “I may need two or three attempts to get this demonstration right.” If you alert the group to the possibility of failure, it won’t be a disaster if you fail. Furthermore, this implies that the players too must be prepared for failure and that failure is not necessarily a bad thing. Of course, succeeding the first time is a bonus.
Stop after your third unsuccessful attempt at demonstrating. Don’t keep on failing! If you are not successful by the third attempt, start the players working with a comment such as, “Sorry, it’s not going well for me today, but you can see what is needed!” No one is perfect, and the players would rather practice themselves than watch you fail. A sincere coach has nothing to fear from an occasional failure.
The ability to give good demonstrations is a priceless asset. There are limits, however, and no one who is seriously interested in coaching soccer should be discouraged by an inability to demonstrate. You would not, for example, expect every track coach to sprint 100 meters in under 10 seconds! What matters most is that you know what should be done and why and can get that knowledge across to your players.
If you do not feel confident enough to demonstrate, consider using a preselected demonstrator, the discovery approach, a group challenge, or visual aids.
Preselected Demonstrator: Select a good performer, take him to one side, and have him rehearse the skill or movement several times. Then let this player demonstrate for the entire group.
Discovery Approach: With this method you introduce the topic and start the group off without an introductory demonstration. For example, to coach accuracy in passing, you might start with the players in pairs passing to each other, or you might organize mini-games of 3-on-3. As the players pass, watch for players who pass accurately; then stop the practice and ask the accurate passers to demonstrate for the others.
Group Challenge: Give small groups of players the same task. After a set period of time, let each group demonstrate in turn. In this way you will produce a number of tactical moves to discuss with the players. Further, you will have challenged your players’ initiative.
Visual Aids: Coaching videos, handouts, and charts are useful, but you must use them with care. Examine them in advance, and show only sections you want students to see. Showing a video of a complete game can often be a waste of time, for example—be selective.
Physical communication involves guiding players’ limbs through the correct movement. This is more important when coaching younger players. Young children must discover how to perform new skills, and they learn more by doing and feeling the correct pattern or shape of the movement than by listening.
This technique affords a special advantage when coaching younger players. Young athletes really respond to being coached by someone who is literally on their own level rather than someone towering above them and perhaps talking down to them in more ways than one.
The overriding strategy is really quite straightforward: observe the players, diagnose their strengths and weaknesses, and then select the methods of communication you think will best suit the group at that particular time. Then, depending on their skill levels, concentrate on making each drill a little more demanding than the previous one.
This is an excerpt from Skills & Strategies for Coaching Soccer, Second Edition, published by Human Kinetics
In an article on the USA Volleyball coaches education site, http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Volleyball Corey Radford from the USAV’s Florida Region offers advice for optimizing your coaching mindset. Here are a few of the highlights.
Radford says the ability to maintain self-control and perspective during practices and games can be the difference between being a good coach and a great coach. He goes on to offer a few tips for doing this. One is to always act as if a news crew is filming or that your mother is watching. Another is to have realistic goals and focus on improvement instead of just performance.
One of the most interesting is to remember the times in your life when you struggled to learn a new skill. He later suggests giving athletes plenty of room as they’re learning new skills. Correct any errors with short and concise instruction then let them get the hang of it. As long as they’re not developing bad habits and they’re making fewer mistakes as they go, that’s progress.
He suggests putting aside 15 to 20 minutes to go over things in your head. The idea is to imagine potential problem spots and work out the best response beforehand rather than reacting in the heat of the moment.
He also uses this time to write down some of his key thoughts for the upcoming session so they won’t be forgotten in the flurry of activities that make up games and practice. “I have found that it helps me to compose a short list (1-4 items) of coaching reminders on a scrap of paper and then keep it in my pocket during the match. The list might be purely strategic in nature (i.e. call serves), purely mental (i.e. don’t yell at the ref) or a combination of both. I have found this strategy to be effective because I am emotionally collected and focused when I write the list and so it helps me regain focus during the match.” He also keeps a pen in the same pocket as the piece of paper so he’s reminded of these cues whenever he goes to make a note.
Radford says he’s always excited after games to start looking at ways to improve before the next one. He explains that evaluation requires two steps. First, is knowing what is important and what’s not. In volleyball, for example, fixing a poor service game is more important than correcting defensive footwork. Second is knowing how to spot what is being done incorrectly during games.
He also reminds coaching the evaluation isn’t just for players. He regularly writes down his own list of weaknesses and prioritizes that are most important to address.
Principles can vary from coaches to coach, but Radford says “coaching without a strong set of written principles is like hiking in the woods without a compass–you may eventually get where you’re going, but the trip won’t be easy and there’s a really good chance you’re going to get lost.” He explains that some principles, such as morals and ethics, come from the heart. Other will come from science, such as why you choose to teach a certain skill a certain way.
One of Radford’s biggest tips here is to work hard on your practice plans. Even though it takes a lot of time and effort to write out a posted plan for everyone to follow before each and every practice, he says it will pay enormous dividends in the development of your team and you as a coach.
Radford wraps things up with a directive for coaches. “Laugh at your mistakes, then get up and do it better. There will be times when you’ll laugh because something happened that was funny and there will be times when laughing will be the only thing you can do to keep from being angry or just outright crying. Have a soft, easy going nature, and remember that you LOVE what you do and it should be evident.”
Video touches every part of sports in the modern climate. Here’s why it matters and how all coaches should use it.
We know the value of video at Hudl. It’s the bedrock of our company, the cornerstone we’ve used to build our entire structure.
At this point, most coaches also see video’s value. They understand it can be used as a scouting tool or a way to correct mistakes.
But that’s only scratching the surface.
The power of video is nearly limitless, and we’ve heard the proof. Coaches have told us it saved their season or played a key role in an upset. We’re here to help you fully understand the capabilities of video and the effect it can have for you this year.
Develop Your Players
Video has become the ultimate teaching tool for coaches to relate to their athletes. It’s one thing to tell a player what to fix or what’s happening during the action. But the ability to show them what’s happening and how to adjust allows for a whole new level of learning.
“I can’t tell you how many times as a coach you would talk to a kid on the sideline and you say, ‘You’re doing this wrong.’ And he says, ‘No I’m not. I’m doing this,’” Duane Maranda, the head football coach at Westerly High School (R.I.), said. “They don’t necessarily understand the big picture and what you’re asking them to do. But when you show it to them, there’s no arguing with that.”
Coaches across all sports have recognized that athletes tend to be visual learners. While they respond to verbal lessons and can improve from instructions, adding the visual element to what a coach says helps them make a stronger connection.
“This generation of kids responds to video, whether it’s YouTube or whatever,” Michael Stewart, a coach for the Each 1 Teach 1 basketball club, said. “I think that’s the best way to get their attention. For them, it’s showing them some of the good things. They respond to it because they get to watch themselves on TV. And when bad things come up, they’re able to see right away that maybe what they thought was going on wasn’t really going on.”
One of the hardest things for a coach to do is completely eliminate biases from their assessment — in fact, the human mind is incapable of doing it. Hard as we fight it, our emotions are always going to affect the way we recall an event.
Don’t believe it? Trust the words of Brett Woods and Brett Haskell, athletic psychologists at the University of Nebraska.
“Our emotions can sometimes override our prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for evaluating performances, more of the logistics of evaluation,” Brett Woods said. “That can color your perception of the event and your memory, your recall is more shaded by your emotional evaluation of the performance rather than the actual event that took place.”
Rewatching a game or practice can provide the clarity that’s lost in the heat of the battle. In the moment, our brains create theories and opinions that may or may not be accurate based on our emotions.
“I develop a hypothesis and then I look for only the information that confirms my hypothesis,” Brett Haskell said. “If my hypothesis is that my team is playing terrible, I hone in on their mistakes and neglect the information that contradicts that hypothesis and tells me they’re actually playing okay. In situations where there is heavy emotion in the moment, that impacts that bias even more.”
Video eliminates emotion from the equation. Upon second review, coaches can clearly see what really occurred and eliminate the subjectivity the brain is prone to.
Find the Right Stats
Statistics are an integral part of any evaluation process. Diving into the numbers can reveal tendencies that are easy to miss during game action.
But the stats sheet only goes so far. While the data can provide useful information, linking it to video provides much greater context. With Hudl, one click is all that separates a coach from a statistic, and a corresponding playlist of the video clips tied to that stat.
Video makes the numbers come to life.
“Being able to link your passing percentage to video is great,” Bryan Amos, a former D1 soccer coach, said. “Being able to say to a player, ‘Listen, you had a 92% passing efficiency. But as a center-mid, I am telling you that you need to pass the ball forward more. You’re getting the ball in a safe place right in front of the back four, where you don’t have any pressure, and playing it outside to a wide-open right back and going back and forth in our defensive third… that’s not leading us to anything.’
“If all he was looking at was that number, without it being linked to video, he would never see that those passes weren’t helping us.”
Scout Your Opponent
It’s key to address your own team’s needs, but dissecting your rival’s game plan can be just as critical. Just ask Ryan Grates, an assistant coach at Cape Fear High School (N.C.), who scoured the video and discovered crucial tendencies that allowed the Colts to win the East regional championship.
“Our defense almost knew what they were running before they ran it because of all the tendencies we got from (the video).”
Ryan Grates, football coach at Cape Fear High School (N.C.)
Finding a key tactical edge in your scouting can be the crucial component that gives you a leg up on the competition. It plays a huge part in the process for USA Basketball. With a hectic tournament environment and little time between games, former assistant national team director BJ Johnson relied on video to get Team USA prepared for each opponent.
“Video is a huge, huge thing,” Johnson, now the coordinator of player evaluation for the Brooklyn Nets, said. “It’s something that people don’t necessarily see from the outside looking in, but it’s one of the things that really aides us in our preparations for competition. All the scouting of opponents as well as knowing our team and what makes us successful, it’s all hinged on video. It helps us grade ourselves and get prepared for our competition.”
Get Athletes Recruited
These days, the email inboxes and Twitter feeds of college coaches and recruiters are littered with messages from high school athletes hoping to get their attention.
The best way to catch coaches’ eyes is with a killer highlight video. Showcase your best moments into a short clip to get a player on a school’s radar. Flash some talent with highlights and coaches will watch full games to complete their evaluation.
And the more athletes you get recruited to top programs, the more your program is elevated and your reputation strengthened.
“You have to figure out a way to differentiate yourself, and video is a great way to do that,” Amos said. “If we saw a video that we really liked, it was, ‘Hey Bryan, you’re getting on a plane tomorrow to go see this kid live.’”
We could go on and on about the benefits of video, but we think our point has been made. Video is the connective tissue in the modern sports landscape. It helps communication with players, gives visuals to stats, gets athletes recruited and helps you find the holes in your upcoming opponent’s strategy.
Video is the present and future of athletics. Sign up and get a free mobile analysis kit, which includes an iPad, tripod, mountable iPad case, HDMI cords—basically everything you need to record and analyze your matches.