This fifty plus year journey of coaching that I am on has been rewarding in so many ways. Most of the rewards are intangible, relationships, lessons learned. Trophies and medals get lost or break but memories last. The memories remind me how fortunate I have been to be able to do what I have done. I am a first generation American; my parents had no education but taught my brother and I the value of hard work and the necessity of education. When I was a teenager I am not sure I understood where they were coming from, but once I graduated college and began coaching and teaching their lessons drove me and continue to drive me today.
So much in life both the professional and personal realms is being prepared. Being in the right place at the right time and ready to seize the moment.
Always learning, always finding ways to get better. It is finding people and situations to challenge you. Never being complacent. Being in the moment, learning from the past, taking the actions necessary to thrive in the future. It all starts with the here and now.
Always look for people to challenge you to be better. The best source for growth and personal development are the athletes you are coaching. Listen to what they say, watch what they do. Learn them as people and you will be a better coach and teacher.
Recognize that mistakes and failures are all part of the growth process. They are only mistakes and failures if we don’t learn from them. Some of my biggest failures have turned into my greatest successes. To be the best you risk, you must be on the edge and sometimes you fall off, but you can never grow if you don’t test the limits.
Good things are worth waiting for, but you must not be caught passively waiting. Keep the end vision in sight and make steps in the direction of the goal each day.
Never underestimate the influence you have as a teacher or a coach. In the last few years reconnecting with former athletes from 40 and 50 years ago has underscored that for me. It also interesting to hear what they remember, it is not meets or big wins, it is the everyday practices, the interactions with teammates and the trips in the van.
Progress occurs step by step; you can’t hurry it. If you lay the groundwork and stay with fundamentals, then incremental progress will occur and there will be occasional big breakthroughs.