By Mark Hull
Not long ago, a top level women’s basketball coach left the coaching profession out of sheer frustration. On her way out she told us why:
“Kids are not as coachable as they were years ago,” she told the Associated Press. “I see kids sometimes talking back to their coaches and it’s like a way of life. I’m just being honest. The rules and everything they get, they haven’t taken time to appreciate. I was happy to have a scholarship. Kids nowadays are more concerned about when their next cost-of-attendance check is. It’s just a different world. Maybe I’m old school. It’s not necessarily what I signed up for and I’m not going to adjust my coaching to the way kids are these days. That’s how it is these days, coaches having to adjust to kids, rather than kids having to adjust to coaches.”
We can’t pretend to know the specific situations that elicited this blanket judgement of her athletes. We do know this: she’s not happy and it’s her athletes’ fault!
Frustration comes from unmet expectations. She had certain expectations of her athletes, expectations that she believed they would willfully submit to because of her title of “coach” and their involvement in sport. Instead of understanding that trust is built by cultivating relationships, she expected it to come from her title. “In my day…” becomes the scapegoat statement. Coaches, times have changed. It’s NOT our day anymore and we need to deal with it!
This coach’s “my way or the highway” approach led her to take the highway. If our mentality is that we coach a sport, athletes just seem to get in the way! But when our focus is on coaching athletes, the sport becomes the primary means to reach into their lives.
“Power can and will be abused, so it’s important to remember that positional power is not the same as the power that comes from relational trust.”Click to tweet
There once was a day when coaches had almost all of the power. That day is long gone. Right or wrong, it is our present reality. Power can and will be abused, so it’s important to remember that positional power is not the same as the power that comes from relational trust. It seems that this coach loved the power of position, instead of positioning herself in the power of love.
The sun has already come up on a new day in coaching. Through our 3Dimensional Coaching training, we want to help coaches walk in the light of this new day. How do we motivate the 21st century athlete? How do we develop confidence as a “belief in skills” instead of the prevalent false self-esteem that seems to be a belief in belief itself? Can athletes and coaches be both great and good? Do we have a clearly defined transformational purpose that acts as a foundation for our coaching? This foundation of PURPOSE is crucial if we are to successfully carry the weight of the pressures that come with coaching today.
Check out this short video where Athletic Director Lindsay Carlile shares the impact that her coaches are having with athletes by taking a 3Dimensional approach.
While it may be true that there has never been a more difficult time to coach than in the 21st Century, we also believe there has never been a more rewarding time to coach either. However, the reward only becomes ascertainable when we change our perspective. When we begin to see our athletes in all three dimensions, and then develop strategies to engage them accordingly, we will become agents of transformation in their lives and leave a powerful legacy of impact. That reward is priceless.