Rose-tinted spectacles portray coaching as an incredibly simple concept, one of delivery striving to develop the participant. Exchanging spectacles for a microscope unveils the finer details and complexities that sculpt effective coaching practice. Securely embedded at the core, at the heart of coaching is the person – the person that seeks our service. Ultimately, our service is to improve one’s ability to perform their sport to fulfil their ability. The routes used to achieving that goal is unfathomable and drastically differ from coach-to-coach.
Do undefeated seasons, playoff championships, and groundbreaking tactical and technical knowledge define effective coaching? No – I believe it doesn’t. If all of the above is achieved, and is achieved by holistically developed, successful and happy people – then you have truly succeeded. Comparatively, if this is achieved by broken athletes that have lost their love for the sport under your guidance, then I would kindly suggest you revisit your philosophy and adjust your moral compass. The moment a coach measures their success on sport-specific results, is the moment they’ve failed to grasp the true concept and impact a coach can have.
Written in the beginning chapters of every elite athlete’s story, is a young-gun with a desire and a passionately deep love for their sport – for playing, and competing, and learning. Throughout their journey, sport-specific goals will develop; therefore adjustments to the application of coaching will inevitably occur, but the aim remains the same – ensuring the athlete has a continuous love for what they’re doing. However, alongside their sporting commitments, every athlete has a life – a constant, ever changing, whirlwind of occurrences that spark all emotions. Inevitably, life will affect sport, and sport will affect life – that’s just the reality of the situation.
Often, I see coaches overlook the well-being of the person first; totally blinkered, and therefore avoiding the reality of a happy person, consequently becoming a more successful person in all aspects of their life. The coaches role continues to evolve and cast away from the robotic provision of, turn up, run drills, a game, and go home. Coaching is a collaborative interaction between coach and athlete, architected on a fundamental need to be humane. Sharing experiences as a collective, being compassionate, and communicating all elements of ones life that impacts their actions and behaviours.
Once the open-relationship between coach and athlete has evolved, the coach can tap-in to the athletes talent and aid the athlete flourish into something of finery. Every athlete, and every coach is a person first. Create a culture that celebrates humanity, only then you will develop the most successful people through the beautiful-Game of sport.