Coaching. . .Falls

When was the last time you fell down?  I don't mean, hey I tripped hit the ground and bounced right back up, hoping that no one noticed, but really fell?  Would the Russian judge give you a “10” for your fall?  Previously, I have discussed my own slips and trips as a coach, but I think there is value in discussing some of falls.  The goal is that through the process you will learn at each stage so that success can be achieved.

In 1995, I was leading the Girls Cross Country program at LA Baptist High School.  I was scripting all the workout whether they were drills or normal runs.  I had a good team of girls who worked hard.  However, sometimes no matter how hard you work, you just are not going to perform your best on a given day.  If that were the case, no one would ever lose in baseball or football or any other sport for that matter.

As we entered our peak season, I tapered the workouts to focus on speed and short distances versus the long run that formed the base and bulk of their yearly training.  As we headed into our League Championship meet, we were running good, but then the unthinkable happen – we had a bad day.  That year we finished in fourth place, which isn't too bad if it weren't for the fact that the top three teams move on to the Division Prelims.  That was the first year in about ten years that a girls team from the school had not made the Division series.  As you can imagine, I was crushed.  Our team was crushed.  Parents were in shock.  Other schools were equally as shocked.

As I re-calibrated myself over the next few months, I was determined to not repeat that fate the next year.  I spent more time planning the workouts.  I studied what other good coaches were doing.  I studied my own athletes with greater diligence.  I was determined to redeem myself.

This fall was not easy to take.  I mean this fall was one that kept me down for a bit, but it did not take me out of the game.  A good coach will realize how a fall can help create focus, passion, clarity and determination for creating success.  I labored over this effort for months.  When we began work during the summer of '96 for the upcoming fall season, all of the workouts were complete.  Each day was scripted with a plan and a new focus.  I don't think the girls were ready for what was ahead, but I was!

You might be thinking, well, that's great Dave, but how can that help me.  Here's how:

  • Step away from the fall – put the fall out of your mind for awhile-shift gears, do something different
  • Review the fall – it is important to take stock of how you fell
  • Create a goal – what is your endgame, your end goal?
  • Craft a plan – create a plan that focuses on getting you to the goal
  • Execute the plan – in order to reach the goal, you have to execute the plan
  • Adapt – don't be afraid to adapt the plan, sometimes your greatest success happens when you go off-script
  • Enjoy – have fun!

These are some guiding principles that helped me focus in on having a great next year.  I hope that these principles help you as well.

Question:  Think about your fall, how have you bounced back?

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I help facilities manager and planner create spaces that are backed by research, engage employees of all generations, and drive business objectives. I am also the founder of Dave's Book Club – a once per month reading experience designed to help professionals grow their influence.

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