🏆 Coaching is HARD. Here are 9 Lessons ALL Coaches Need to Learn.
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Here's what's coming:
- 9 Great Lessons that ALL Coaches Need to Learn. 📋
- Some Dalai Lama GOLD 🥇
- A Jon Gordon classic Tweet on the impact of a smile. 😊
- Read Time ~ 6 minutes
Let's dive in.
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💭 ONE THOUGHT
Coaching is HARD Work. Here are 9 Lessons ALL Coaches Need to Learn.
I replaced a Hall of Fame Basketball Coach at age 26.
I coached for seven years. We had good success, including one fabulous season in 2004-05, going 25-2, undefeated in our conference; the first team ever to do that.
I then had a decision to make. I had just finished my administrative license and had an opportunity to get a Principal position in a neighboring school district.
It was a harder decision than you would think. But I also was driven to LEADERSHIP. So I took a leap of faith.
Two years later, in 2007, a Principal position opened up at my original school, Lake City. I applied and was fortunate to be back home.
Seven years later, the Varsity Basketball position opened back up. I applied. I got the job. And for the last 10 years, I have been a High School Principal AND Boy's Basketball Coach.
We have been fortunate with great success (221-49 record), including Nine consecutive Conference Titles and Two Section Championships. I have had the privilege to coach some great kids, including numerous players who have played at the next level (D1, D2, D3, NAIA). All from a small school in MN.
"What I learned during this "Gap" time was incredibly important for me. I definitely grew as a coach. I learned a new perspective. I thought differently about the game. I got better."
Below is a list of 9 things I have learned in my years of coaching, many of which I wish I knew more deeply as a young coach.
1: Learn the 20-40-60 Rule ASAP
- In your 20’s - you worry about what others think.
- In your 40’s - you don’t care what others think.
- In your 60’s - you realize no one was thinking of you to begin with!
TOO many young coaches get hung up in trying to please people.
You will never please everybody, so it is best just to try to please yourself. Do your best, know that this is enough, and be confident that your best will allow you to sleep at night knowing you can look in the mirror and be satisfied.
The 20-40-60 Rule reminds me of a great Gandhi quote:
"I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet."
Do not ever let others' negativity impact who you are, what you do, and what you believe. The earlier you learn this as a coach; the better off you will be.
2: Simplicity Wins
Can you explain your ”O” philosophy in 8 words or less? Can you explain your ”D” philosophy in 8 words or less?
You should. And your players should.
Less is more. Simple wins. This can be very hard for coaches, but every veteran coach I know does this. They can simplify the game for their players and focus on fundamentals.
Coach Belichek has a great perspective on Simplicity!
Belichek GOLD 🥇👇
— Greg Berge (@gb1121)
Apr 30, 2022
3: Play the Long Game
Culture WINS. (A Great Book, by the way, 😉. Find it here: Culture WINS)
Culture is the long game. Culture is fragile. Play the LONG GAME.
I define Culture as the following:
- What you Allow
- What you Emphasize
- Every Day!
Focus on your Culture EVERY DAY. Know that every decision you make defines your culture. It is critical that you think this way as a coach.
Your players will challenge you, they will push the envelope. They will do this because they are 16-17-year-old kids and it is how their brain is wired.
No matter how strong your culture is, you have to have a mindset to BUILD your culture every day. You will make decisions every day that will mold your culture.
4: Relationships First
Coaching is about managing and leading others. And leading people is always about RELATIONSHIPS.
Don’t lose sight of this.
Focus on connecting your people. Focus on building your people.
Get to know your athletes. Talk to them freely. Explain your WHY. Make sure they know that you care about them. Be incredibly honest with their role on the team. Don't sugarcoat anything. This is incredibly important.
5: Players not Plays
In pressure situations, do NOT worry about plays. Focus on your Players.
This is a constant challenge for me. I love x's and o's! But I have learned that this has much less of an impact on a game than I thought as a younger coach.
It is so easy to worry about a “play.” In reality, "players" win. Get the ball in the “player's hand who will make the right “play.”
6: Give up Control
As a young coach, I felt I had to control how we played. I coached Basketball like I coached Football. Play by Play. I have since done a 180.
We now teach HOW to play. HOW to think. HOW to make decisions. We give players freedom in our offense. But we still have clear roles defined.
It is much more enjoyable to coach. It is much more enjoyable to play. Team Success has followed.
7: Find a Great Mentor
I was very lucky. I had a 30-year coaching veteran as an assistant coach. His wisdom was priceless, especially for a young coach.
One time, early on in my career, I had a sticky decision that I had to make with a player/parent. The wisdom and insight of my assistant validated my thoughts and principles.
I was grounded on principle, and it worked out. I was lucky to have my mentor.
8: Connect with Colleagues
Coaching is hard. The skill set needed to do a good job is incredible. Most people have NO IDEA how much work and challenging being a Head Coach can be.
You are oftentimes on an island. You need a support system. You need coaches to connect to and share stories, ask for opinions, and more.
Connect with your coaching colleagues in your area on a personal level. They are not just competitors on another team. They are colleagues in a very difficult and challenging, but rewarding profession.
These relationships are lifelong and priceless.
9: Family First!
Coaching is a family commitment. Find a supportive spouse. I was Lucky!
Don’t lose sight of your time. Don’t lose sight of your commitment. Always make time for your kids and family.Done right, raising kids in a coaching household has incredible rewards.
Coaching is HARD. It is crucial that coaches are lifelong learners who are always looking to grow and get better.
The sooner a young coach can learn and apply the knowledge and wisdom above, the sooner they will be on their way to a lengthy, stable, and hopefully successful coaching career!
📜 TWO QUOTES
“During critical periods, a leader is not allowed to feel sorry for himself, to be down, to be angry, or to be weak. Leaders must beat back these emotions.”
“There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do, and mostly live.”
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🐦 THREE TWEETS
TOP THREE LEADERS LIST
Are you one of the TOP 3:
✅ hardest workers?
✅ best teammates?
✅ most competitive?
✅ most mentally tough?
✅ most enthusiastic?
✅ most optimistic?
✅ most accountable?
✅ most coachable?
✅ most trustworthy?
✅ most respected?
— Jeff Janssen 🇺🇦 (@janssenleader)
Dec 15, 2022
“EASY” doesn’t create GREATNESS!
— Coach Hines 🇺🇸 (@CoachKurtHines)
Jan 25, 2021
🙋🏼♂️ POLL QUESTION OF THE WEEK
Which of the 9 Critical Coaching Lessons Resonates the Most for You?
📚 BOOKS: Culture WINS and Coaching GOLD
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Contact Me: Greg Berge, [email protected]