A couple of weeks ago, we had our first Read & React clinic of the season in Crystal Lake, IL (there’s six more clinics coming so find one near you) hosted by my good friend, Rich Czeslawski. I introduce him here because you’ll see more of him in this space in some footage from that clinic as well as hopefully some more guest posts. Rich wrote this post shortly after the clinic and I think it fits well with what we’re trying to accomplish with the Tribe:
If there is one trait that stands out in those considered the best of the coaching and teaching profession, it is passion. Watching a teacher or coach who truly loves what they are doing is both inspiring and educational. A great teacher brings out the best in those around them because their passion is contagious and creates an environment in which learning and working becomes fun for everyone.
As coaches, we must always remember that teaching is the most important part of our job, and that our passion for what we do is our greatest tool. It helps us in building relationships with players and other coaches which both enhances the impact we can have, as well as makes our job more fulfilling.
Here are 7 ways you can spread your PASSION for the game and this profession:
Pick a “Thinking Team”.
Start by picking a group of colleagues who you respect and assemble a team of people to run ideas by. This group can consist of your former teachers, coaches, and mentors, opposing coaches who you have built a relationship with, or coaches who are known for their expertise in a certain area. Try to find a diverse collection of coaches with different philosophies and coaching styles. You will find that the conversations you have with members of your “Thinking Team” will be some of the most enjoyable and rewarding you will ever know.
Ask questions. Many coaches, particularly young coaches, make the mistake of not asking questions. They feel that it shows a sign of weakness and let their pride get in the way of development. No matter what your coaching background is, you can ALWAYS learn more about the game.
Find ways to share what you learn. If you go to a clinic, take great notes and make copies for your staff and the staff of the opposite gender at your school. Sign up for newsletters and spend a little time each day researching different areas of coaching. When you feel like you have enough material, make it available to others. The internet is an incredible coaching tool. Create a web page or develop an e-mail list or newsletter and send information to those who are interested. The more information you share, the more information will come back to you. Do not be concerned that you will be giving away secrets that will cost you games. This is a common mistake among coaches. News flash…most opposing coaches will know exactly what your team’s offense and defense is before you play them.
Speak passionately about the game. Take every opportunity to speak about the game. Write an article, start a clinic, speak at clinics, have staff meetings designed to throw out ideas and debate what you are doing in your program. Talk to your players about the subtleties of the game. Let anyone who will listen know that you have a committed passion for the profession.
Investigate different ways to do things. Never rest on what you run, no matter how much success you have with it. There are always little tweaks in the game that can make your program better. Tweaks in X’s and O’s, changes in how you teach the game, and finding different drills to keep things from getting stale are just some of the areas you can improve. Go watch other teams practice. You may find that they run the same things you run, but you might pick up a different way of saying something that could improve the way you teach your players. Attend clinics. If you come away with just ONE THING from a clinic that can help your program, it is worth the price of admission. Record televised games and dissect them. Today’s technology puts you in the film room with some of the best coaching minds in the country. Study how different coaches handle different game situations. Scout the top teams and determine their game plans.
Organize your coaching material. Organization is the key to sharing information. Develop a system to keep track of the mass of information you accumulate. Organize by coaches, phases of the game, skill or come up with a system that makes sense to you. I believe there is no better tool for organizing play and drill diagrams than FastDraw. Invest in a scanner or a good filing system and you won’t be sorry. Keeping material organized and handy will save you time when a colleague asks you if you have any information on Rebounding Drills or the Read & React Offense.
Network with other coaches who share your passion. Being around others who share your passion will keep you sharp and stimulate your desire to learn. Coaches and teachers go through things that people in other professions don’t understand. Join a coaching association and attend events where coaches will be sharing ideas. Keep in touch with the coaches you meet and connect with. The relationships you build through networking will last you a lifetime.