Don’t you hate it when you’ve been working so hard at fixing something or helping someone and then you hear something that makes you think, “Have we made ANY PROGRESS!?!?!”
You feel like you are back at square one (even though that is definitely not true).
That is how I felt after I heard about a coach who sat John, a deserving player on the bench for the final 5 games of their soccer season because he used to have a negative attitude. I happen to know this kid and he not only working on staying more positive but he was clearly more positive, especially when things did not go his way. Coach has written him off and was too busy to notice his improvements.
However, coach did play the assistant coach’s son Steve in that same position. I did some homework and reports confirm that this particular player loafed at practice, boasted about his abilities, and actually was not as good as John.
Bad coaches show favoritism
Please Note: this is NEVER EVER EVER EVER an excuse to stop being positive, kind, or to stop giving your best effort. The best players know that if they keep doing the right thing and keep striving to be the best they can be, eventually it will pay off.
However when a coach causes this or let’s this happen, it opens the doorway to the gigantic enemy of team unity, GOSSIP. Kids talk. Parents talk. Team unity suffers and then eventually, culture goes down the drain.
Isn’t it incredible how powerful a coach is?
Coach, use this formula to AVOID favoritism and gossip on your team:
If that coach would have taken time to proactively talk with John about his expectations and what was needed for him to get playing time, it would have been a different story and a gossip free season. If you do not have time to meet 1 on 1 with your players at least 2x/season, you are too busy to be a great coach. You’ll need to lower your expectations for your players and team.
Great coaches are also honest. Do not sugar coat things- tell them where they are underperforming and that if they do not get better, they will not play. Write it down on a sticky note and stick it on their shirt.
Your players who do not start are always asking, what does it take to start or get more playing time?
Knowing that they are always asking this question in their minds, a great coach will address it proactively. I share the entire system to Creating Your Performance Pillars in my upcoming book, The Youth Truth.
One thing I know about great leaders (coaches are leaders) is that they understand everything rises, falls, and is manifested because of their leadership or a lack thereof. Everything is their fault- what you allow and what you settle for, what you like and do not like about your team. You are the problem and you are the solution (same goes for leadership in the household).
STOP SETTLING FOR A LESS THAN EXTRAORDINARY TEAM (or family) CULTURE!!!
Write down on paper right now the most incredible team culture characteristics you can think of:
All players are kind and friendly toward one another
They acknowledge, recognize, celebrate one another for accomplishments
The players pick one another up when they are down
Gossip free- trust and respect is high and therefore people are honest with each other instead of rude behind their backs
Great communication- the right hand knows what the left is thinking or doing
Diligent, HARD working, relentless determination to win- never give up attitude
Stand before your team and address “organizational health issues”, apologize for your contribution to the current culture of gossip and entitlement, let your team know things are changing (then prove it), share your new Performance Pillars, and create the change you wish to see.
Everything begins with a HEALTHY TEAM CULTURE. Everything. You will never get that joy, happiness, sense of satisfaction as a coach that you are longing for until the culture is healthy.
Parent...coach...you are a leader. And you have the capacity to be a world-class one too. You can create whatever culture you wish. All it takes is a relentless effort to study→ learn→ and grow through trial and error. Gotta take some risks and try something new.
Reading this is certainly helping. I’ll see ya next week. Make sure to follow me on facebook as well- I’ll be diving into more of the shocking Youth Truth’s over the coming weeks. You won’t want to miss these.
Dedicated to your athlete’s joy and success,