I was doom scrolling through instagram yesterday when a post by Darren Roberts caught my eye. It turns out that being children of the 70's, Darren and I share the same love of a cartoon character called Mr Benn.
Darren's instagram post really resonated with me and I asked if I could share it here for everyone to read. He said yes (I have dirt on him from a trip to Vegas!). Here's his post.
Mr Benn is a programme I loved as a child growing up in the 70's and 80's, I actually have this piece of original art in my 'kitchen'.
Mr Benn visits a fancy dress shop every week, where the shopkeeper would suggest an outfit for him to try in the changing rooms. When he had the outfit on a door would appear behind a curtain, and as soon as Mr Benn stepped through he would be immersed in an adventure relevant to his outfit.
The spacesuit costume would mean an adventure in space, and at a key moment the shopkeeper would reappear beckoning Mr Benn through the door, which brought him back to the changing rooms.
Mr Benn would get changed back into his normal clothes, decline to take an outfit that day. He knew the shop was magic, the shopkeeper knew the shop was magic, yet they didn't acknowledge it.
On his way home Mr Benn would always find a memento from the adventure in his pocket.
As a coach I need to change my character to fit whoever is in front of me in the environment we find ourselves in. I can't promise a magical adventure through a door to another dimension, but I hope I am able to give the athletes an experience they remember. Fun, challenge, consequences and something we can all learn and grow from.
So much of what Darren talks about resonates with me.
When I speak about what it takes to be an effective coach, one of the things I discuss is then need to be like a chameleon.
A great coach has the ability to change and adapt to their surroundings. We need immerse ourseleves in the athletes world. The ability to fit in with the athletes, coaches and sports we work with is really important. Understanding the traditions, the language, the spoken and often unspoken rules goes a long way to having an impact on performance.
Like Mr Benn we are still the same coach underneath. We don't change just because the costume is different, but like the chameleon we blend in.