Please join me for a fun series. My mission, and I’ve chosen to accept it, is to write a post based on each letter of the alphabet. The English major inside of me is very excited about this project…and my inner nerd is even more fired up! Keep checking back as I tackle the intangibles of sport…from A to Z.
K’s were admittedly a bit harder for me than the previous letters up until now, so I went back to kindergarten and brought phonics back… “k” is just going to have to go with coaching.
Coaching philosophies are the guiding post that each of us must continually go back to…whether it’s after a tough streak of losses, or recruiting, or practice planning. Essentially, our coaching philosophy is there to remind us why we do what we do, why we love what we do, and why we won’t stop doing what we do.
K is for coaching philosophy
Knit. If our coaching philosophy doesn’t permeate throughout everything we do as a coach, then we’ve got to come up with a new philosophy! My philosophy is based on the cornerstones of John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success: work hard, have fun. That philosophy is omnipresent…as I scout opponents, recruit new players, chat with alums, develop new teams, and even as I cultivate solid work relationships. I don’t mind working hard, because I get to do something fun: coach volleyball!
Keep. We’ve got to keep our philosophy somewhere that we see it. Mine is short and sweet, so I know it off of the top of my head. I’ve gone to my share of professional development events, though, where I’ve come up with a personal mission statement or coaching philosophy. Those are a bit longer…I keep the latest and greatest taped to my computer screen so that I can always see it: I will inspire my team to excel and be successful through my example as a leader. I promise to be available to them and to support them to the best of my abilities. That’s a lot longer than “work hard, have fun”. (Read about 8 words or less mission statements here.)
Knowledge. In my opinion, our coaching philosophy is a map that takes us where we’d like to go. I believe that if we use it in recruiting, coaching, and general interactions with folks…those types of people will want to play for us. For example, a coach with a philosophy of “win at all costs” will attract a different type of athlete than a coach who says “victory with honor”. Not a worse athlete, not a less moral athlete…just a different athlete. So as you come up with your coaching philosophy, think of the kind of athlete you’d like to draw into your program.
As we create the vision for ourselves, our program, and our players, having a coaching philosophy that we believe in will help guide us as we go. I wrote How Great Coaches Leave Their Mark a while back, check it out to get more in depth with coaching philosophies.