My first unpaid coaching job was with a girls softball team. The girls ranged in age from 5 to 7 years old. Our first practice was all about finding out how much we all knew.
Practice –Drill – Rehearse –Actions
- I started by observing the talent, reviewing what they could do.
- Demonstrating, Teaching Fundamentals, Observing the girls practicing.
- Making mistakes, learning and adjusting from our mistakes.
- Team play actions learned rotating in offensive and defensive positions.
- Practice games with the girls in assigned positions.
- Then the season started.
As you can guess, as the coach, I was all about influencing and nurturing the best that each player had to offer. As their Leader, I had a vision for what the team should look like and I pushed and helped them remember what we needed to do for the team to win each game. As the season progressed, we began stretching, getting better and better. We worked at learning each player’s responsibility to the team. We worked hard at keeping the right person in the right position at the right time so we could win games. As the coach, I was calling out assignments. ‘Eye on the ball’… ‘overrun first base’ … ‘Man on first, where’s the play?’ I would coach and preview plays while waiting for everyone to echo in response, ‘Plays at second.’ My influence and support would become all the girls coaching and echoing their support for each other. We influenced, nurtured and supported each other. We were our own cheer leaders. We developed our own team cheer. ‘Try, Try, Try until we Try…umph.’ Our winning efforts were all in the extra …umphs.
Fast Forward when those same girls were playing in the 15 to 17 year old league. They graduated from playing assigned positions to playing positions with the permission of their team members who knew their strengths. Now they were all leaders with a shared vision for their team winning. I was a leader as their coach but they were leaders too. They had complete trust that the right players were in the right positions for the team to win. They knew and were able to coach each other. They were now calling out both offensive and defensive plays to each other. I was now a member of their team, one of the coaches. The team members were all player-coaches. We celebrated our mutual Try…umphs.
I was reminded of this when I got a Facebook alert from a lady, now 40 years old, named Karen. She reminded me of that time in our life together. She told me that she was still a player-coach. Her age and experience now put her in the category of coach more than player. She was enjoying the role and reflected how much she could remember from her earlier years and our playing time together.
Question: are you a Player-Coach? If you want some help, please download PAR3 from the team2learn website. It was developed to assist people in what we called ‘curbside coaching.’ Prior to going into a meeting, use the guidelines. They can serve to set your mind with the right attitude for success. Attitude creates Environment, Environment generates Outcome(s). May all your Player-Coach Actions get better and better as you ‘SPIRAL UP.’