Blogs and Commentary

posted 04.17.2013 at 2.30 p.m. by TJ Buchanan

Coach's Corner: PCA tip; Why Good Coaches Quit

Every month US Lacrosse sends out monthly newsletters to parents, program administrators, officials and coaches. And every month I add a Positive Coaching Alliance and Coaching Tip for all the coaches out there.

Here is where I'll keep the extended version of those tips as well as other topics that come about related to coaching.

Feel free to share this resource with all of your coaching colleagues and suggest in the comment box below with other topics for me to cover.

PCA Tip - Overcoming Failure
Coaches should encourage players to strive for greatness. Let them know mistakes are OK, especially if they learn from their mistakes. Mistakes often result from pushing the envelope, taking chances, growing and learning.

Coaches who overreact to mistakes cause players stress, resulting in more mistakes or becoming so focused on avoiding mistakes that they play too tentatively to make the great play.

Coaching Tip – Why do good coaches quit?
Excerpt from “Why Good Coaches Quit. How to deal with the other stuff”  
by Rick Aberman and John Anderson

While many of us are just getting into the meat and potatoes of our seasons, some may be ready to hang it up and call this their last year in coaching. Perhaps, their family situations have changed or maybe their jobs no longer allow them the flexibility needed to maintain their roles in coaching. But for a larger percentage of those handing over the whistle it’s about dealing with the other “stuff” they never thought they would have to worry about.  

A good friend of mine and I were discussing a phone call he received from one of his player's parent. The parent told him that they needed to get their athlete counseling because the child was upset by poor game performance. The parents did not blame the coach, but just wanted to let him know and see if he could give the athlete more time in games to help build his self-esteem. My friend was never prepared in any coaching clinic for this type of situation and really made him think about why he is coaching and whether or not he wanted to continue the next season.  

We often talk with athletes about being mentally tough and dealing with adversity. Interestingly enough, nobody ever talks to coaches about these same things and helps us to be emotionally intelligent and learn how to deal with tough situations. Eventually the stress of these types of events wears on you and you either hit rock bottom and resign or you figure out a way to cope with the stress, which may or may not be a positive experience. Have you ever had a player approach you and say that your negative behavior was affecting the team performance? Being emotionally intelligent will help you to realize what you are doing and allow you to help your team reach their optimal performance.

What does an emotionally intelligent coach look like?

An emotionally intelligent (EI) coach is:

•    Respectful of others and of one’s self.
•    Responsible for individual actions and behaviors as a member of a community.
•    Honest in the things we do, including honesty in our relationships.
•    Fair when we deal with others.
•    Compassionate when it comes to the limitations and the misfortunes of others.

By taking these EI strategies into perspective and teaching them to your athletes and yourself, you are more likely to develop a sustained culture of high performance. Today’s players not only expect a coach to have these qualities, but also often times demand it. It is beneficial to coaches and players alike to be able to handle their emotions properly and develop that mental toughness that we all too often preach, but don’t practice.