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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.