Where is your WRITTEN Coaching Philosophy?
FREE OFFER Below, to help Fellow-Coaches
I know, you dont need one, because others will figure you out if they just watch how you coach. Oh, and you are too busy to write anything down. I know; I said these things for 5 years also. As a result, I had no real clear answer to any of these questions about coaching: WHY Do This? WHAT am I about, Really? WHO do I want to produce thru my coaching efforts?
Then it dawned on me, while reading something General Eisenhower said during WWII, when he planned the biggest military maneuver in the history of the world (D-Day). He said that while a Plan may be useless in that it can and will change, the PROCESS of MAKING the Plan, and thinking it through, over and over, is THE MOST useful thing a leader CAN do. I feel the same about making a written coaching philosophy.
Your written coaching philosophy is your business card about you. It makes you better by making your mind clearer. It defines “you” when you dont have time to explain what you are thinking. It helps you make better decisions, for if something doesnt fit within your vision (no matter how great it sounds, or who else may be doing it), the answer is, “Sorry, it doesnt fit with what I am doing.”). A written philosophy simplifies–and who today does not need to simplify every aspect of our lives and coaching? And, writing down your coaching philosophy makes clear to parents, other coaches, future players, and officials, what you believe, why you coach, and what they should expect from you. It defines-up your best. Isnt this what coaching is all about? “Without vision,” the scripture says, “a people perish.” Your written philosophy is your vision.
There are 2 errors in writing a philosophy. First, trying to please others by saying everything. If you work for a corporation (or the government), you know what I am talking about. No one even reads their vision or mission statements, because they are full of words written by lawyers & public relations experts. The 2nd error to avoid is cutting & pasting someone else’s as your own. This is especially true if you are quoting from some famous coach. You cannot Google your way to authenticity. You cannot copy your way to originality. Instead, you must scratch & dig it out for yourself.
Here is my basketball coaching philosophy. I made this; it is original to me. My Basketball Philosophy is:
To teach life through the great game of basketball;
To train each player how to succeed at this, and the next, level of her basketball career, and;
To show all players how to play, and win, within the context of team.
My elements are life, the game, training to succeed individually, and showing how to win collectively.
I offer these tips to help you. Use no more than 3 bullet points; this will force the cream to the top of your thinking. Otherwise you will start to list things, and in the process go too far. Start with the really big picture, almost at God-level, then break it down from there. Include values at the individual and team levels; for basketball begins with a person, but is played as a team. Do not worry, you will not get it right the first time, even the first fifteen times! But keep working it over in your mind; say it aloud, even type it (my method). As you do so, it will emerge from the fog like a big ship. But here me: your philosophy must both be descriptive (defining how you see yourself now), and it must be prescriptive (meaning it must pull you to get even better–in your practice planning, in your selection of offensive & defensive schemes, in your hiring of assistants, and in your tryout of players.
With a good coaching philosophy, you, too, will be ready for the D-Day of this year’s basketball season.
MY FREE OFFER (I am serious) is to help you craft your coaching philosophy. If you want to share your philosophy ideas with me, send me an email. I will give you my honest feedback, for free. I love learning from, and sharing ideas with, fellow-coaches.
Terry Boesch is a teacher in Martinsville, IN (home of John Wooden), and also coaches girls basketball.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will have Terry Take a look at it…