A friend of mine has an eleven year old daughter.
She comes home from soccer practice last night in tears.
“I’ve scored 12 goals this season in 5 games. Coach just told me today that I am not scoring enough. I need to be better. I don’t feel good, dad.”
The backstory is that coach is not happy that his team has tied three games and won only one. His expectations are not matching up to reality. Therefore, he is looking to his best player to further carry the team. He wants an 11 year old’s INDIVIDUAL efforts to result in a victory for a TEAM sport.
I know that if MY team is not winning, it is my fault. I need to become a better leader. But I don’t think this coach realizes that he is the problem and the solution to his teams challenges. His discontentment with the results comes from his poor perspective.
Plus, after dad called the coach, the coach was distraught. He had no clue he had made this 11 year old girl feel so bad.
Is that coach a bad coach?
But once that coach hears this message, if he chooses not to change, then yes he is a bad coach. Why?
Because good coaches don’t just make their athletes play better temporarily.
Good coaches make their athletes feel better, perform better, & become a better person- more confident, courageous, and joyful.
Dad had to spend the night reversing the pressure and beat down mentality that his daughter received at practice from her coach.
Here is what I believe this coach needs to do:
Create a definition for SUCCESS and WINNING that is relevant, realistic, and controllable. If he continues to measure success by wins and losses for a 6th grade soccer team, he will likely never feel satisfied.
Pay more attention to and care more about what is going on in your players hearts and minds than what is going on with their performance. The teams that win & have the most confident, strong charactered young men and women are led by coaches who do not get blinded by performance.
Ask your players specific questions about how they are feeling. “Jamie, I know you might be feeling the pressure right now. Are you? Are you feeling confident or unconfident?
Apologize. Humble coaches are needed now more than ever. If you care about who your kids become 15 years from now, apologizing is the best thing you can do for them.
There’s a lot more that the coach can do to connect with their players better, motivate them, challenge them, and inspire them to greatness. Those are just a few uncommon ways.
If you are a parent, forward this along to your athlete’s coach. It may just be what they need to hear right now. The societal pressures that COACHES feel to win is at an all time high.
Give the coaches grace, be patient with them, seek first to understand them, and remember that leading your kids to their full potential and best character is a journey.
The trials your kid faces with coaches are part of that journey. It will make them better, stronger, and more resilient.
P.S. Building an UNSHAKEABLE Athlete, mind body and spirit, is one of the mini video courses inside the Confident, Courageous Athlete Course. We created this so that athletes would be PRE-PREPARED to deal with difficult coaches. You can check that out here if you’d like.