A while ago I commented on a blog post which discussed 10 things that lead to coaching failure. The same author has a related post looking at the habits successful coaches develop. They are loosely based on the ideas put forth in the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey (which is definitely worth a read).

They are as follows (paraphrased):

  1. Make training harder than competition
  2. Learn and develop at a faster rate than your athletes
  3. Make your rate of learning faster than your opposition
  4. Develop your creative thinking abilities
  5. Coach the individual
  6. Ensure that each player out-prepares their opposition
  7. Develop training plans which optimize impact on each player
  8. Make training as game-like as possible
  9. Adopt an integrated approach to talent development
  10. Lead

The first entry is something I have long lived by, and I think #8 has been pretty well covered. Notice the heavy focus on individual athletes. Also see how many relate to continuous learning.

I think #4 deserves a little extra attention.

You may not think of it this way, but coaching is a creative endeavor. At least it is when done well. I’m not talking about whether coaching is an art or a science, or some combination. It’s much more simple than that.

Coaching is about identifying a need and figuring out to meet it. That almost always involves trying to work around limitations or constraints. It’s creative problem solving. An example of this is dynamic practice planning.

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John Forman
John Forman

John is currently the Talent Strategy Manager (oversees the national teams) and Indoor Performance Director for Volleyball England, as well as Global Director for Volleyball for Nation Academy. His volleyball coaching experience includes all three NCAA divisions, plus Junior College, in the US; university and club teams in the UK; professional coaching in Sweden; and both coaching and club management at the Juniors level. He's also been a visiting coach at national team, professional club, and juniors programs in several countries. Learn more on his bio page.

Please share your own ideas and opinions.