Updated: Jun 9, 2020
We should be able to talk candidly about our coaching perspective. We all can agree that if we have a player who is driven, you must realize that you are in a position of power. They will do anything you say. They also will accept abuse in anyway that you deliver it because they desperately want the success.
When you have those players that are extremely driven they are the ones that are most at risk, because they are the ones willing to do anything, sacrifice everything and do whatever is necessary and take whatever you dish out to them because you hold the key to what they are seeking!
If you get players into survival mode as I stated earlier in another blog, then you will have them fighting like dogs. That anger subdues choking, it subdues fear. That chemistry of fear and anger can't live together. Some coaches believe that if you make the player angry that they will then play better. You can call them names, infuriate them and all the nerves go away, that's what the screamer coaches realize. It's manipulation as opposed to allowing them to figure things out and how to control their own nerves.
Is there a different way?
Humans tend to perform much better when they are driven. When they see the opportunity to do something extraordinary for a cause much bigger than themselves. They respond in a special way when they realize all of their hard work and suffering isn't about them anyway.
Great coaches know this power, the power of fighting for a loved one. They do it for a cause that is more than their own validation, or their own self interest and thus more sustained results.
Coach Wooden was very tough. He was a taskmaster. However, he always had his players best interest in mind. It was never about him. It was about the players and what he did with them, how he taught them, would affect them the rest of their lives.
This is what he told me how he would determine what a success he had been later in life, 10 years from the time that they left his supervision.
The real report card. This is when the season is over. As much as all of us want to be at the top and accepting the championship. The real sense of satisfaction is going to come later. Like at the reunion, the wedding of a player, etc. This is where you know it was a truly meaningful experience, one that shaped their lives and that they are grateful for. It's at this moment where you will not feel any better as a coach.
Sometimes the job gets in the way however. We just get into the mode of winning games. We forget how to value moral character. How can you prove you value character if you don't measure it and reward it everyday? How could you implement into your practice today? Start by recognizing that person that was most unselfish, encourages the most and reward that person. That person doesn't have to run at the end of practice for example because this was measured, rewarded. The players will see that this is a value to you and they will try their best to achieve it.
During one Final Four that I attended, I heard a coach say to another, "You can tell what a coach values by what they are willing to lose for." So true because we are always afraid of what can happen if we don't get the wins. We are tested each day. How much do I value winning and how much do I value developing people?
This comes back to your perspective. Are you playing for today? Or are you playing for a perspective that is going to ultimately determine the success of those under your supervision as a person.
Ask your players: How can you tell if a coach values winning over developing people? I am interested in learning what you discover?