The following is a portion of my “Leadership in Positive Coaching Portfolio” that I completed while working on my degree at the University of Missouri. I believe that while this is a coaching philosophy, it can easily be used as a personal philosophy as well.
- Honesty- meaning we agree to never lie, cheat, or do something that is against our values. This will help guide our decision making, and it will help us to avoid unnecessary communication issues. By telling the truth and being honest it will help the team grow to trust one another.
- Enthusiasm- is important to me because it makes the task at hand more enjoyable. Enthusiasm can easily raise the energy level of a group, and help to make things more productive.
- Effort- Giving it you best effort at all times is a key characteristic to being successful in and out of sport. If you do you best, good things are likely to happen.
- Teamwork- Basketball is a team sport; much like a family, or a company is like a team. No one on a basketball team can do everything by themselves, and a family would not be a family with just one person. Teamwork is necessary for success, so I want to instill this into my athletes
- Respect- Treat others the way you would like to be treated. Coach your athletes how you wish you would be treated by your coaches in the past. Respect can go a long way, and with it you can develop teamwork, trust, and a collective motivation to strive for mastery.
My mission as the coach is to teach the student athletes that I coach to be men of high integrity and character through Wheelchair Basketball. My goal is for my athletes to feel that they are better athletes, and better people overall because of their time with this team. As a team we will always give it our all in the effort to win, but we will never sacrifice personal development and character building for the sake of getting a victory on the court.
In order to get the athletes I coach to grow as athletes and as people I expect them and every single person that is a part of the program to be honest. I will speak about the importance of honesty, and be a model of honesty for my athletes. I also believe that it is essential for every person to be passionate and enthusiastic, while putting forth their best effort at all times. If you are not trying your best and you do not have a great attitude, your performance will suffer and you will not improve at the rate that you should. Effort and enthusiasm also helps to make the sport or any activity for that matter, more enjoyable. I will always bring forth my best effort, and provide a model for passion for the game each and every day. Process over outcome, I am looking for my athletes to learn to love the process of improvement and the process of becoming successful. Sure everyone wants to win, but the person who loves the process of becoming a champion is the one who is most likely to become a champion. In an effort to create teamwork and equality, I will do my best to treat all athletes fairly. It is not always possible to treat them the exact same, because different people have different needs, but I will do my best to treat them all fairly. The last thing I really thing is essential to success is that you must believe in what you are doing, and have a vision/goal for where you want to get to. I will talk with players individually, and with the team as a whole to discuss roles for everyone, and goals for each individual. We will also set up goals for what we want to accomplish as a team. I believe that this will provide a good base for everyone to build from and learn from.
Early on in the positive coaching program I remember that I had a much stronger opinion on winning being the only thing that truly mattered. I knew that was not the case, but I valued winning much higher than teaching life lessons, and getting my athletes to grow as people. Since beginning the program I have learned that it is much more important to teach your athletes how to be a success as a human being. No one wins every single time they do something, and so there is always room to grow. Mastery is an ongoing process that requires passion, effort, teamwork, perseverance, dedication, and much more. Without all of these essential parts a person will never reach their full potential in their sport. It is these same character traits that also make a person a success as a parent, employer, employee, spouse, or friend. Sports can be a way of teaching boys and girls what it takes to be truly successful in life. The secret to success is the same in sports as it is in all other areas. Early on I always saw sports as a win or lose, not as an opportunity to teach these life lessons, and I am thrilled that now I understand there is so much more to it than that.
I think besides the fact that winning is not the only important thing to sports, the biggest lesson I have learned came as a metaphor about motivation. The metaphor had to do with grilling meat and making the fire. If you take your time and bring the fire up from the kindling and logs, the fire will burn much longer, and the meat might cook slower, but it will turn out better. If you decide to take a short cut and use paper and lighter fluid to get the fire started it will burn big and hot at first, but die out quickly, and the meat might not have the same natural taste. The point being that in order to make the best you that you can be, there are no shortcuts. You have to be motivated, and have the discipline to put in the hard work, day in and day out, in order to build your skills to the level that you want them to be. As a coach it is my responsibility to make sure my athletes understand that, and that they believe in that. In today’s society so many people want instant gratification, or external rewards, that if they do not get them right away they give up and try something new. I have learned that I want my athletes to love the process. We set process goals that are important to each athlete, and that makes them want to work hard toward those goals and their ultimate goal.