Posted on

3 Traits of Great Coaches and Teachers

Last week, thanks to our Community of Competitors member, Pete Cunningham and Lancaster Country Day School, I had the great fortune of listening to and chatting with Daniel Coyle.  Coyle is the author of a number of books, with his most well known work being The Talent Code.  If you have not read this book, I highly recommend it or its’ companion, The Little Book of Talent.

In his talk, Coyle detailed the development of talent that has occurred in a variety of places around globe, including a Russian Tennis “Academy,” the development of Brazil as a global soccer power, and musical talent that was grown at a conservatory in New York.  During this talk, Coyle focused on what great coaching, and teaching looked like and in this week’s Community of Competitors Newsletter, I am sharing 3 Characteristics of Great Coaches and Teachers.

  1. Great coaches and teachers are experienced.
Great coaches and teachers have been around the block and have learned from a number of failures.  This is a huge point, the greatest coaches are NOT those that played or competed at the highest level, they are the ones that failed to play at the highest level and were forced to learn, forced to develop their skills, and forced to develop their craft to survive.  Their experience teaches them they need to continue to learn and this is the fuel in their tank, their passion.

  1. Great coaches and teachers are connectors.
These experienced coaches and teachers are able to connect with their players, spiritually, emotionally, and even physically.  Dr. Bhrett McCabe, a renowned Sports Psychologist and founder of the Mindside relayed to me one time about his Hall of Fame College Baseball Coach, Skip Bertman, and his practice of placing his hand on the pitchers shoulder or chest when he came out for a mound visit.  Dr. McCabe noted this physical touch was focused on creating the connection between the coach and the player during this mound visit.  This increased connection and focus also increased retention of what was being discussed.

  1. Great coaches and teachers have the right instruction at the right time.

In this day and age, our focus and attention can be taken in a million different directions and everyone wants immediate results, but this is not what true success is built on.  True success is painstakingly slow and great coaches and teachers provide the right words and encouragement to reinforce this process.  Great coaches and teachers are focused on the praising of effort and progress, not a student or athlete’s ability.  A great coach or teacher provides this praise only when it is EARNED.  This creates an environment where development is valued and each person’s threshold of skill is pushed forward incrementally.

If you are an athlete reading this, you might ask what does this have to do with me?  These pieces have everything to do with you.  While you may not choose your teachers or coaches, you can look for those around you that are experienced and learn from them.  You can look at your coaches and connect with them.  Then, in your own experience with a teacher or coach, pick up on what they are saying each time so you can pull out the instruction they are providing at just the right time, so as a competitor, you can take ownership of your development.

Posted on

Fill a Need and you will always be NEEDED.

This post is not an advertisement to shop at Target.
I felt like that needed to be the first line of today’s Community of Competitors Newsletter because this is not about Target making a decision to serve a specific type of customer that enters their doors.  This Community of Competitors Newsletter is about listening to those around you, even the lowest people on the lowest rung of the ladder of your organization.

Caroline’s Cart is a shopping cart that is designed for the parents of children with special needs.  The cart is designed so there is no need for these parents to push a wheelchair and a shopping cart through the store.  Drew Ann Long created the design, when she knew her daughter would outgrow the traditional shopping cart.  Target became aware of Caroline’s Cart when a local Target store employee brought it to the attention of the local store operations team.  Thus it was implemented at the local level and in the month of March 2016, Target expects to have Caroline’s Cart in each of their stores. Story on upworthy.com

I write about this in the Community of Competitors Newsletter because this idea was NOT hatched in some huge corporate boardroom by a bunch of high-level executives, those in the trenches launched it, those with their boots on the ground.  Caroline’s Cart was created by a mother who had a need.  Caroline’s Cart was then introduced to Target by an employee who had a need.

Fill a NEED and you will always be NEEDED.

This is true on every team and in every organization.  See what needs to be completed, what needs to be done and serve an important role.  In my coaching experience, there were countless times that our bench players were able to pick up the signs of the other team.  These players were not starters, but they saw a NEED, filled the NEED, and they were NEEDED.  These players were an essential part of the success of the organization.

In the life of the Competitor, there will be needs there will be problems.  Individuals with the Heart of a Competitor look at the problems as opportunities to find solutions, while those that are losers are stuck in the problem identification stage, refusing to identify a solution.  Great teams find solutions and great individuals fill a need.

Fill a NEED and you will always be NEEDED.

Posted on

3 Ways to Bloom Where You Are Planted

“Bloom where you are planted.” –Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop of Geneva (1567-1622)

 

As a competitor, we are “planted” in every situation to experience every challenge we are given, so we can bloom where we are planted. In a day and age where many people are looking for the next great opportunity or the new fad that will push them ahead, many times we fail to realize the beauty of where we are in the present moment.

In writing the Community of Competitors Newsletter, I am here to tell you that when you bloom where you are planted, you will live a full life, one that makes an impact on others and one that will be recognized by others.

This was truly evident while I was attending my uncle Frank “Gus” Robins memorial service this past week. Gus was not like many of the people that read this weekly newsletter, he was NOT a businessman, he was NOT a coach, he was NOT a straight A student. Uncle Gus was a genuine human being, utilizing all of his God-given ability to impact others and give to others. As a vocation, he was a custodian in a local school district for over 30 years, not a glamorous position, but one that he utilized to “bloom” where he was planted. He bloomed where he was planted to the point that his memorial service was forced to start 20 minutes late as a result of the number of people who wanted to pay their respects to his family.

The message in this newsletter is that you do not have to be a person in a leadership position, a Division I athlete, a head coach, or a high-ranking corporate warrior to have an impact. We read blogs and stories all the time of high and mighty coaches, business people, or high-level athletes that trumpet their ability to handle adversity and rise to the top; these are great stories, but it is the daily warrior that impacts the most people and creates a lasting legacy. When you “bloom where you are planted,” you impact those around you.

Here are three simple ways to “bloom” where you are planted:

  1. Use what you currently have, not what you wish you had.
  2. Be a giver. Share more than you take.
  3. Do the little things that do not seem to matter.

You are called to accept the challenge of blooming where you are planted. You are called to have an impact and leave a legacy in all of your endeavors. As a member of this Community of Competitors, you are committed to blooming where you are planted. This analogy by Saint Francis de Sales was not chosen or used by accident, where one flower blooms, there are many other flowers that follow. The same is true for people, where one competitor blooms, other competitors will grow and bloom. This is a Commandment of the Competitor, bloom where you are planted and others around you will bloom.

This week, look around; enjoy your current challenges and opportunities to bloom where you are planted.

Posted on

Every Day is New Year’s Day

Now that we are 1 month into 2016, consider this thought as you attack the first day of February:

“New Year’s Day is to refuel life with a new enthusiasm that energizes to take everything in a more positive way and helps to stay committed to attain excellence that inspires everyone straightaway.”
– Anuj Somany 
 
New Year’s Eve is always celebrated with vigor around the world.  Millions pack into New York’s Times Square to see the ball drop, fireworks are set off at the Opera House in Sydney Australia, and countless other celebrations are held on New Year’s Eve to celebrate the coming of a new year.  This celebration represents the enthusiasm that everyone has for a new start to a calendar year.
 
The competitor treats every day as a holiday, to refuel with a new enthusiasm and energy.  The positive approach to every day allows the Heart of the Competitor to continue to pursue excellence.  When excellence is pursued, it attracts excellence from others.
 
The challenge for the competitor is to treat each day as a holiday, as New Year’s Day.  In treating each day as New Year’s Day, the competitor attacks that day with an enthusiasm that is unknown to mankind.  They search out opportunities to help others, to energize others to a level that was once thought impossible to attain.
 
Many people make resolutions at the beginning of the new year.  The competitor makes commitments and develops habits in the new year because they understand that excellence and greatness is a journey. 
 
Make a commitment to greatness today!!
 
Make today your New Year’s Day!!
 
Question of the Day:
 
How can you celebrate today like it is New Year’s Day?