Coaching the “Inside Stuff” by Coach Eric Curry
Almost every single issue we deal with today is a character issue—good or bad. In today’s world we hire people for skills and then fire them for character. The same can be said of sports. Today, talent is not enough. Character and skill develop excellence. Skill without character develops mediocrity. If the skill levels of two players are equal, the player with the higher level of character will perform most consistently than the other one. It’s time to focus on the intangibles, the “inside stuff,” which makes the difference in our players’ performance, and in their lives. In sports, our fields, courts, courses, tracks, and wrestling rooms provide an “experience” to make that difference. Character comes from a Greek word meaning “to scratch or engrave”; “the qualities or features that make up and distinguish an individual.” Most coaches know the importance of character but long for a game plan and practical tools to develop it in their players. Remember, sports do not develop character, a coach does. Each season is an incredible opportunity to “scratch and engrave” into your players the character qualities they need to improve performance, attitude and heart. First, we need to realize that behind every skill we are teaching there is a character quality or two that can be developed to improve the performance we are looking for. We must begin to recognize the character quality that will help that skill. As a coach, can you articulate the change needed in character to improve the skills of the game? Let’s take perseverance, which means to endure difficult situations to become stronger. Now as you coach, a skill like a swing, shot, serve, etc., you are looking for the player to “finish” the technique all the way through. When they don’t, your teachable moment is “You need to persevere or finish your follow-through to the top.” And when they do it, pounce on them, “That a way to persevere and finish that swing! You’re a Finisher!” And in that moment you are coaching the character needed to improve the skill. You are coaching the person to be a better player, and not just the skills of the game. It is here we are Coaching 4 Life…not just a season.