My contribution this week delves more into the delivery aspect of my job as a strength coach. Yesterday, marked the start of my first full year with the university I coach at and it got me thinking about all the intangibles of coaching that oddly enough, I’m as equally cognizant of/concerned with than the actual programming that I provide the student-athletes under my watch. Here’s the simple fact, maintaining my status as “leader” of a group of 30 alphas, is the most important, and exhausting, part of my job. How do I maintain rapport? Here’s what works for me:
Consistency: In no circumstance do I deviate from the expectations I place on my student-athletes. And it doesn’t matter if you’re the guy that hit 20 bombs last year, or the utility guy that had 20 pinch-hit appearances, they’re both the same in my book. If I’m going to lift with perfect form, they’re going to lift with perfect form, everyday; I don’t care if that means their preconceived strength prowess takes a hit. Overtime, the garnered respect, and the athletes realized improvements, will speak for themselves.
Civil: The coaches I had who got all hot and bothered, enjoyed tossing around profanities, never did much for me (thankfully this was extremely infrequent!). In fact, I found it kind of humorous that they couldn’t come-up with more intelligent ways to voice their displeasure with a certain individual or situation. Even if their “constructive criticism” was delivered with a smattering of “bombs,” it always felt weird. It's like listening to a friend attempting to share some guidance after a couple too many, kind-of intelligible but the frequent burping is all you really remember. I always try to get my point across without all the theatrics so my message isn’t muddled as it passes through oftentimes still maturing-thick-skulls and short attention spans. They’ll respect the civil delivery, and the line separating friend, and authority figure will remain clearly intact. Plus high-blood pressure runs in my family.
Belief: I don’t care how little, or how much, you know about developing a plan of best practice, any doubt you have in what you’re imposing will be quickly exposed. I encourage questioning from my student-athletes as it’s a way for them to learn and recognize all the considerations that go into the plan I provide them. This dialogue also proves to them that each and every movement on the sheet has a purpose. But, whether my approach today will be the same as it is tomorrow, I have to believe in what’s on the sheet. Because sometimes looking a kid in the eye and saying, “because based on my current understanding, I believe it’ll make you a better person and athlete,” is reason enough. Believe in yourself, believe in your capabilities, and they’ll have no choice but to believe in you.
Maybe this made sense,