Thinking About the Great Ones – Coaches
Someone recently asked a question on Instagram about how a good coach motivates their athletes. This got me thinking about the coaches I have had and their effect on my game and in my life.
I have spent my years playing on a variety of teams under many different coaching styles. Most of us are more than one sport athletes and have had more than one mentor. These various coaches have all taught me things, some on how to play and behave, and some on how never to act in public or treat another human. The most striking takeaway for me has been that the really great coaches I've played for had one central thing in common:
They knew how to get the best out of every player on their team.
Their voice from the stands or sideline made us better, not worse. They made us stronger, they made us believers in ourselves and each other. They knew how to get us to buy in and put aside selfish shooting goals, and individual stats. They made us want to stay late and come early to every practice. They inspired our play with ideas and new strategies.But maybe the best thing they did was to increase our belief in ourselves, and our desire to want to be better.
They showed us through example how to lose with grace, and win without cheating. They expanded our circle of friends and opened our eyes to bigger worlds with more possibilities. They got us to cheer for the little guy. They got us to do pushups in our living room during commercial breaks. They got us up of our couches and brought us together from all over the place to play together, and they kept us coming back. They made us a team. All of us.
And because of their influence in our lives, whether we won or lost the game, we won, because we had each other, and we had developed a core commitment and understanding of loyalty and sacrifice. They taught us how to pass the ball and how much that unselfish act could be a game-changer. The great coaches taught us to dedicate ourselves to one another for a cause, and built winning programs beyond one game or personal glory.
That's the kind of coach I played best under, and whose teams were the most successful. The wins we got with these coaches will never be erased.