Find your own voice. What does this mean? Many experienced coaches say this and younger coaches don't really understand it. Here is what this means. In the beginning of your coaching journey, you are like that person who was your loudest influence, by that I mean your former high school coach, maybe the person who coached you in college? In the beginning you lean on that loud voice of impact, but you have to find out and discover who you are.
Who was your loudest voice? What did you learn from them? How did they impact you good and bad?
Sometimes you will have to start from scratch. There comes a point in every coaches life where there has to be an internal question asking what is your own personal measurement going to be. Not the outside pressures. There is one coach at the end of the year who is fulfilled. One person who has won it all. If that's what is important to you, just winning. There will come a time in your career where you are winning so much that it's hard to keep feeding the monster that has been created.
Here is the decision that I believe you need to make. Make the decision to approach coaching with the desire to win the Championship. But the measurement of achievement is going to be: Am I a better coach today than yesterday? If at the end of the year you can say to yourself that you did a better job this year than last year, then you are feeding the monster inside of you, your own personal measurement. It will be rewarding, you will keep your focus on why we do what we do.
So what's your measurement of success going to be?
Ask yourself how does it feel to be coached by me? There have been many times in my coaching career where I have not been who I have wanted to be. You know going through a practice and leaving and not liking yourself that much. After a game and talking to your team and walking out and feeling awful for what you said? It's like this when winning is the thing that is driving you.
So ask yourself what does it feel like to be coached by you? You know the higher the level the more pressure and you feel the entire world is watching, you feel you need to get the players you have to the top, it happens quick and soon you don't even realize what is going on.
Having great people around you is important so that you can be reminded of that little thing, "how does it feel like to be coached by me?" No one is perfect so there will be days when you are not what you want to be. But by being aware it will help you. You will treat your players differently because you will be aware of your own standard, how does it feel, how does it feel to be coached by me?
I know there was a time that you didn't like how you coached someone? How did that feel?
There is power in asking questions. As coaches we usually are the ones who tell them where to go, tell them what to look for, what move you expect, etc. But the real power is when you ask and they answer. Try it, you will discover so much, because at first whatever question you ask they will try to please you the coach. I usually tell my players right on the spot, I don't want the yearbook answer, I want you to tell me right then and there what were you looking at, what were you thinking. I am looking for them to have a conviction in their belief of what they are doing!
Why do you think that coaches don't ask questions?
After the game, those post game thoughts. Writing things down has a dramatic impact on how we process things. Give your players the power to do that, right after a game. To write down what their thoughts are is one way, not a play by play, just a simple analysis of their own involvement in the game. Then respond to each player. Sometimes you have to go backward to gain that common ground before you can move forward!
The Power of Advice
One of the best things I have ever done is have those that have experience talk to those that do not. Seniors to freshman, veterans to rookies. "What do you wish you would have known as a rookie?" The usual advice is trust yourself, don't be afraid, let others in, connect to others that you meet. Not once has there been advice to work on your jump shot more, or work on 2 ball drills.
What would you tell yourself if you were 19 years old again?