Tag Archive for coaching motivation

Don’t give me reason to want to bury you

The other day was the anniversary of my initial arrival in Sweden. Facebook told me so. I was only there initially for a couple of weeks to get to know the Svedala area a bit after leaving England. I went to Germany for about three weeks before I actually began work with the team at the start of preseason.

At that point I didn’t know what the future had in store for me. I knew I was coaching my first professional team. That’s about it. For the first time in a while I didn’t have concerns about my next step in life.

Seven months later it was a very different situation. I’d just been cut loose by the club out of the blue. It was definitely a shock, and it stung. At that point, though, my main focus was on getting out of Sweden and finding a new job. Then I had to move and start a new position. It was a whirlwind that probably didn’t give me as much time to process things emotionally as might have been the case otherwise.

A couple weeks ago I chatted with one of the Svedala players. I asked her how things went after I left. As much as I wanted to know during the season what changes were implemented – if any – I didn’t want to ask. It could have been a distraction, which would not have been fair to the team.

Anyway, major changes were highly unlikely. The squad was too small and the player positions and roles were well-established. She confirmed that and told me the big issue the rest of the season was player confidence in certain areas. Sadly, that was a reversal of a major focus from the first part of the season.

Surprisingly to me, some emotion about that whole Svedala situation bubbled up recently. The timing is interesting given the anniversary. I found myself thinking about going back to Sweden some day with the intent to dominate the Elitserie with another club. It’s definitely an “I’ll show you!” type attitude.

And thus do you learn that telling me I can’t or I’m not good enough is a great way to motivate me to show you just want I am capable of – at your expense. 🙂

How do you prove your value as a coach?

In what was nominally about coaching motivation, Mark included a quote from Shane Battier (basketball) in one of his At Home on the Court posts. The first line of it goes:

“There’s not a coach out there who doesn’t want to prove their worth.”

If you want to go further with the motivation subject, I encourage you to go to Mark’s post and follow on from there. You can argue for or against Battier’s suggestion and/or what Mark says in the first line of the piece (has to do with winning). What I want to focus on in this post isn’t the motivation side of things, but rather the “How?” which must necessarily follow on from Batteir’s statement.

How do we as coaches prove our worth?

There is a secondary question which I think must be asked before we can even start to address this one, though?

To who do we need to prove our worth?

For the sake of discussion, let’s exclude anything related to the idea that we don’t need to prove our worth to anyone. I think at a minimum we all want to prove our worth as coaches to ourselves on some level or another.

Generally speaking, there are a few potential constituencies involved in answering the “Who?” questions. Many of us have a current employer and prospective future ones. We all have players on our team, and in many cases parents of players. There may be boosters and alumni. Certainly there are our coaching peers.

No doubt there’s a lot of overlapping interest between these groups – for better or for worse. For example, winning and losing probably factors in for all of them to a greater or lesser degree. Each, though, also has its own perspective on things. For example, if you coach at a college you are going to be judged by your Athletic Director a lot on the things you do off the court, but your players probably won’t care too much about that stuff. They’re more interested in the training and competitive environment you foster.

Unfortunately, for many of us we have multiple individuals or groups we are proving ourselves to at any given time. Sometimes they conflict, which means we have a balancing act to try to keep things going well. At times it means we have to prioritize one group over the others.

So who do you have to prove your value to and how do you do that?

And does this conflict with your own motivation for coaching?