"Everybody wants to be somebody. Once this becomes a fundamental way of viewing your team, teammates, classmates, and everyone you meet, you will become a person of influence." ~ Dodd
I do some of my best thinking when I drive. Yes, I'm focused on the road, but life and all it presents on a day to day basis races through my head. As I drove home after a couple of matches in KC this past weekend, I started to think about my young teams. Questions like how did they play? Did they compete hard? Did my training help them succeed this weekend? Could the result have been different if I did something different? What was my demeanor on the sideline and at halftime? Two games, two ties, both results feeling just "eh", but most importantly my thoughts included, "Was I a good coach for the girls today?" I started to think about each player and started asking myself if each had a good day or hard day on the field, had they improved from the week before, and did I need to give them specific feedback on their performance.
I decided that in order for me to try to be a "better coach" on the day I would need to check in with each player, kind of a "leaving September and welcome to October" type convo to see how they were feeling and ask them a few questions. My questions included, "What has been your favorite moment of the season so far?" and "What is one thing you think you could improve upon to make us a better team?" My final question, I have found, has been the most important. After seeing the quote above from Dr. Cory Dodd, a professor at The Academy for Sports Leadership, I wanted to make sure that I let the girls know they are "somebody" important to the coach and the team. I asked them, "What is one way you think I could be a better coach for you?" These are young ladies, many still in middle school, so the answers have been very predictable; "Push me harder", "Maybe show more video of our games", and "More team bonding". But even though the answers have not been earth-shattering I think the brief conversation between coach and player is making the girls feel important and giving them some say in their "experience" as we move into October. I hope they feel like "somebody" :)
Just food for thought, how can you shape this same type of simple exercise for your team since we don't all coach middle school aged players? Let me know if you try it, have great weekend coaches!