I find myself reading more books about coaching and leadership these days. I really enjoy reading about successful coaches who are good planners, motivators, innovators, and effective communicators. I find myself thinking that although the strength and conditioning profession involves having very strong and current knowledge in training methodology; being able to communicate and lead effectively is more important. You can be the smartest person in the world, but if you can’t communicate and apply the knowledge that you possess to your athletes or clients, then you aren’t any good. That’s reality. Also, and I think that this is more important than being a smart coach and an average communicator- if you are a jerk, then you aren’t any good either. I really believe in the quote which I first heard from Mike Boyle, “No one really cares how much you know until they know how much you care”.
One of the books that I am actually re-reading is Bill Walsh The Score Takes Care Of Itself. What I find fascinating about Bill Walsh’s career and coaching style was that he didn’t come across as a yeller and screamer when he was coaching. I’m sure that there a more than a few former 49er and Stanford players who would disagree with me, however, I think the public perception was that he was a cerebral coach. He was the ultimate planner and he broke everything down to the smallest detail when it came to operating his teams.
Sure, we can say that he was the coach of the 49ers, which was a team that was stacked with talent during Walsh’s years. However, good coaches get the most of out of their players. More importantly, they get them to play as a team. Today, (although I am a Patriots guy), it is hard not to think about Coach Belichick and the Patriots. Tom Brady, like Joe Montana, wasn’t the best prospect coming out of college. Belichick, like Walsh did with Montana, continues to get the best out of Tom Brady. It is the day in and day out of coaching that helps him be one of the best quarterbacks in the league.
What does this have to do with strength and conditioning? Like I said in a blog post before, we need to see ourselves as leaders when it comes to working with our athletes. We need to be effective communicators and motivators to help our athletes be successful and get the most out of our time with them. Anyone can write a program and give it to their athletes. However, it is the good ones who can apply what’s written on the sheet of paper effectively and get results.
Here are some quotes that I got from this book that had to do with hard-work, dedication, and teaching:
– When talking about a season-ending loss to the Dolphins- “The memory never leaves you and acts as both a positive and negative force, spurring you to work harder and harder while also creating a fear inside that it might happen again.”
– “If you’re up at 3 A.M. every night talking into a tape recorder and writing notes on scraps of paper, have a knot in your stomach and rash on your skin, are losing sleep and losing touch with your wife and kids, have no appetite or sense of humor, and feel that everything might turn out wrong, then you’re probably doing the job.”
– “If you’re growing a garden, you need to pull out the weeds, but flowers will die if all you do is pick weeds. They need sunshine and water. People are the same. They need criticism, but they also require positive and substantive language and information and true support to really blossom.”
– “The ability to help the people around me self-actualize their goals underlines the single aspect of my abilities and the label that I value most- teacher.”