Secrets of Productive Coaches

This article and other helpful coaching tools can be found at Coach Dawn Writes

By Dawn Redd-Kelly, Head Volleyball Coach at Beloit College.

I read a lot of business blogs and magazines, because I believe there’s a strong connection between coaching and the business world.  Teamwork, leadership, excelling within a group construct…I think we coaches can learn a lot from the CEO’s and presidents of the world.  This article on, Secrets of the Most Productive People I Know, is one of those that I think is valuable to coaches.  Here’s my take on that post:

4 keys to being the best coach you can be

They have a life.  I know we coaches take pride in “getting after it” and working ‘til all hours of the night, so much so, it almost seems like we wear not taking days off as a badge of honor.  But what if doing something of value outside of our jobs made us better at our jobs?  Maybe you teach a Sunday School class at church, or take guitar lessons, or landscape your yard nicely.  Whatever it is, having an outlet to take our minds off of the grind keeps us refreshed and excited for work when we get back to it.

They take breaks.  Like assembling a thousand piece puzzle of the sky, our teams can present us with challenges.  When we’re working on that puzzle and staring and ten pieces that look like they should fit, but don’t, sometimes we get up from the table, push our chair in, and come back to the puzzle later.  In the same manner, when our team is experiencing a problem, sometimes we need to step away from racking our brains trying to find the elusive solution.

They’ve often worked in different industries.  Whether it’s coaching at multiple levels or even different sports, it’s helpful to have a different perspective of what “normal” is.  It seems that a lot of coaches come from the playing ranks (like me) and don’t necessarily have experience with different ways to skin a cat.  Early on in my career, I would watch other sport coaches with their teams.  I’d take notes about how the coach set up their practice, how they interacted with their team, how their drills flowed into the next, how they opened practice, how they closed practice, everything.  Even for established coaches, challenging our norms is a good thing.

They have great outside collaborators.  I’ve got a coaching friend that I can text with my random questions about our sport.  I’ll ask her if it’s crazy to do whatever it is I’m thinking about and she asks the appropriate questions and we can work it out.   I’ve got coworkers whose offices I can pop in when I’ve got a coaching dilemma and they help me work through whatever it is I’m contemplating.  Our team won our conference tournament a few years ago, but I remember slumping into a chair in another coach’s office after the very first game of that season and telling him that I knew we had a problem.  And we did.  He and I talked and he gave me great ideas about the situation.  With his help, I was able to solve the problem early on which made the championship possible.

While each of these points is different, the common thread is connectedness.  Whether it’s being connected to something significant outside of work or having great coaching friends that we can count on…we can all be more productive if we use these tips.


Are you tired of walking into practice and seeing lackluster effort from your players?  Have you had it with trying to get your female athletes to care about the team as much as you do??

Click here to find out more about Coach Dawn’s eBook: Motivating Female Athletes

Comes with a FREE PowerPoint presentation called Guarantee Your Success: Using John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success To Increase Your Team’s Cohesion.

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