Practical advice and knowledge to help business owners.
Imagine if athletes were cars racing around a racetrack, where lap times are a performance indicator and the coach is the one driving the car. There are mechanics, technicians and other specialists (strength and conditioning coach, physiotherapist) in the pits providing support and information, but the driver has to listen. All of a sudden a warning light (pain) comes on in the dashboard. The driver sees it, but ignores it. One of the technicians sees it on his computer, but can’t do anything about it while the car is racing around the track. Soon the car will come in for a pitstop, change of tires (new shirt) and a bit of fuel (water). The technician tells the driver, I need to have a look at that warning light, I think I know the issue, but it will take time to fix. The driver says, sorry, haven’t got the time I need to be on the racetrack. The technician says, well, if we don’t fix it now it might turn into a bigger issue (injury) later in the race. If it that car was your athlete, what would you do?
As parents, building our children’s confidence and self-esteem in this competitive World is seen as a vital outcome if we are to be seen as ‘successful parents’. Combine this with a society where consumerism, online reviews and ratings are the norm, then expectations of the products we consume are increasing. This includes the sports programs that we as volunteers run. So what can you do as a club and coach to manage these expectations?
When I watch my four year old son in the playground, I see a few things. I see imagination, creativity, learning and him challenging himself to learn new things. He knows when to ask me for help and when to tell me he can do something himself. He is engaged in his learning in this playground and he is learning how to perform. Don’t we want something similar for our athletes? For them to be engaged in their performance, where they are learning and thriving?
As coaches, we are often seen as many different things to a youth athlete – coach, teacher, leader, mental support, parental figure, role model. In today’s world where often both parents are working, the nuclear family is under strain or non-existent then the relationship between athlete and coach is much different to that of previous generations. In my athletic performance framework, a key part for an athlete to achieve their potential in performance is to be well educated in managing their personal wellness.
The current era of All Blacks domination started in a hole, a deep hole, in 2003. They lost to Australia in the Semi Finals of the World Cup, 22-10, despite going into the tournament as favourites. Then in 2004 lost to South Africa with a dangerous alcoholic aftermath that bought to the surface the toxic culture and poor leadership principles being employed. Something had to change. Under Graham Henry and following a three-day meeting in the NZRU headquarters in Wellington, a conversation began about how to fix the issues. And so began the organisational change required to bring the All Blacks into the Professional era.
© 2019 Paul Mead