When life influences coaching

A fellow volleyball coach blogger shared something he struggled with for a while. He was feeling a kind of resentment. In his case, he realized his decision to stop playing volleyball negatively impacted his enjoyment of coaching volleyball. My playing days are long in the past, so I can’t relate directly to his feelings (though I’m sure others can). Still, the post made me to ponder the idea of resenting coaching myself.

I confess, there are times when coaching feels more like drudgery than something I love. Usually, that is when I want to give my focus to other things. Though sometimes I just want a little break. Funnily, in those situations it’s almost always the case that the “I really wish I didn’t have to coach tonight” feeling is forgotten once get to the gym. That’s something I keep in mind when those thoughts arise.

Pondering these sorts of issues makes one realize how easily our coaching can be impacted by what’s happening in the rest of our lives. At least it can if we’re not careful. This makes our approach to coaching inconsistent. By that I mean the personality we project to the team, and things like that. It is important to be aware of. Consistency is something former Australian and Canadian national team coach Stelio DeRocco talks about. Here is an example from his Volleyball Coaching Wizards interview:

I think most of us counsel players to leave life’s troubles outside the gym door. We should do the same ourselves. The problem is, we don’t have someone overseeing our work. That means there is no one to call us out when we let life intrude on our coaching. As a result, we have to be extra vigilant. It also means sometimes we need to factor these potential external influences into our plans. They can influence how we choose to operate.

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John Forman
About the Author: John Forman
John most recently coached for an NCAA Division II women's team. That followed a stint as head coach for a women's professional team in Sweden. Prior to that he was the head coach for the University of Exeter Volleyball Club BUCS teams (roughly the UK version of the NCAA) while working toward a PhD. He previously coached in Division I of NCAA Women's Volleyball in the US, with additional experience at the Juniors club level, both coaching and managing, among numerous other volleyball adventures. Learn more on his bio page.

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