Coaches Often Fail to Ship

So a book that I've read that I keep coming back to time and time again is Linchpin by Seth Godin and it's a real cracker. Vern Gambetta put me on to this terrific author and I have to say it's been a really good read. There are lots of take home messages for me. One that stood out for me was what Seth refers to as 'shipping'.

Basically humans are pretty good at sabotaging projects at the precise moment that we are about to complete them. The reason is because we are scared of what will happen when we 'push the button' and complete the project. Back in late 2010 I started to write a You're Hired and it took the best part of 4 years to get it published and out into the hands of the people that need the book the most.

One of the reasons it took so long was that despite pulling together over 100 pages of content, every time I went to push the button I bottled it! I failed to ship. It's sat on my hard drive for almost 2.5 years doing nothing! I must be nuts! I'm actually pretty annoyed with myself too because that's such a dumb thing to do. So why did it sit on my hard drive for so long? I think the main problem was that I have a habit of trying to produce the perfect book. I kept 'polishing' the content, making draft after draft after draft. Every time I made a new draft I failed to 'ship'. I still wrestle with the problem of 'shipping' and I know that many coaches struggle to ship too, particularly when it comes to writing training programmes and annual periodised plans. We are always looking for 'perfect' when the reality is that in the world of performance sport 'perfect' rarely exists. At some point you have got to stop 'polishing' the programme and 'ship' the programme. Push the send button and put it out there, it's only any use once you actually start to put the programme into practice. No one sees the benefit of a programme sat on a hard drive!

I remember when I was working with England Netball and I was worrying about a training session that I had planned. The coach (actually the best coach I've ever worked with, Lyn Gunson) said 'Nick, is it the best session that you can deliver under the circumstances that you're faced with' - my answer was 'yes' - and it was at that point I realised I should just crack on and deliver (ship) the session.

The perfect programme or training session does not exist - if it does, it's probably still on a computer hard drive somewhere being polished!


I would love your feedback - let me know what you think.