sent by Nick Grantham | 15th December 2021
Getting a seat at the table seems to be the sole focus of a lot of coaches that get in touch with me to ask for career advice. It's partly why I wrote You're Hired. You see, once you have a seat at the table, opportunities present themselves, you start to land the types of roles you've been looking for, get paid the sort of money that puts a smile on your face, start to mix with the other people at the table. Often what people want to hear is that if you have the right qualifications, the appropriate level of experience and razor-sharp communication skills you'll have what it takes to pull up a chair. The problem is, that's rarely enough. Pulling up a seat at the table requires more than that. There's going to be a little bit of luck (but I personally think you create your own luck). What you need to do is demonstrate a level of persistence, doing your best work over an extended period of time so that the right people can see it. There are no overnight success stories. The people sitting at the table probably pulled up their chairs after at least a decade of doing the right things, at the right time, for the right people to notice.
Ever since she wandered in late to the first day of a UKSCA workshop with a coffee from Starbucks in hand, Bernadette (Bernie) Wilson has had an impact on my career in a number of weird and wonderful ways. One thing that Bernie is really great at, is spotting interesting stuff and this quote from Deloitte Insights was one that she put me onto recently. Thanks Bernie. Every organisation, particularly high-performance sports organisations, seem to have a love affair with big data. It would appear that at the moment you can't do your job without being hit over the head by 'big data'. While huge amounts of data are being collected by every type of organisation, it is rarely collected strategically, organised or understood. It just sits there forming a bloody great 'data lake'. The challenge then, for everyone, is to figure out what data they already have, where it lives, what pieces of data may be useful, and most importantly how to transform the vast data lake into meaningful insights that have an impact on performance. ? Elizabeth O'Brien, sports marketing manager for IBM, hit the nail on the head when she said "Data is data until you put it in context and unlock it for people."?
Source: Deloitte Insights by John Ferraioli and Rick Burke
Inspiration can come from funny places, even slogans on a t-shirt! I'm not sure the slogan would have caught my eye had I not been fortunate enough to speak at an event organised by Red Bull during the summer of 2019 and listen to Sam Sunderland, who races the Dakar Rally and World championship events for the Redbull KTM factory rally team. Sam gave an insight into the problems of the mundane. Sam explained that possibly the most dangerous stages of the Dakar rally are the liaison stages (untimed sections of the rally route). These stages are not too demanding, they're mundane. There's not a lot going on to concentrate the mind and without some excitement, a lack of focus creeps in. That's when crashes can happen! As he was describing the problems of the liaison stage it struck me that much of what we do as coaches is dull as ditchwater! From the super organised spreadsheets to the structured warm-ups. It's bloody mundane! When a programme is all laid out, colour coded and very strict, the training process becomes mundane and that's when you start to run into problems. My early attempts to programme action sports athletes were the programme design equivalent of a liaison stage! Handing back some of the decision making to the athletes was really an important breakthrough for me. Sometimes it would mean that the programme would get a little chaotic, but it was our chaos, and chaos concentrates the mind! It may have appeared to be a shit show from the outside but with each season I became increasingly comfortable with being the ringmaster of our particular shit show! Most performance programmes focus on the drudgery of training. Whilst we can't escape it fully, we have to allow breathing space within the programme for activities that keep the athlete engaged in the process. Probably the most important thing that action sport has taught me is that it's OK to be the ringmaster of a shit show
Source: Seen on a t-shirt!
I've been fortunate enough to have had some amazing mentors. I think I can safely say that all of them embodied what James Clear said, they all remembered what it was like to be at the start of a particular journey. When I was at university, Dave Kellet who at the time was Head of Sport and Exercises Science, understood how tough it was for a student trying to gain experience. ?Not only did he help me secure a role delivering sports science support but Dave and his wife, Pauline, always let me stay with them the night before I started work and made sure I always had a decent meal. They didn't have to do that. When I first started work at Lilleshall Sports Injury and Human Performance Centre, Nigel Stockill made sure we settled into our new home and got to know the locals of Newport! He went the extra mile. When I wanted to set up as a consultant, Bill Beswick took the time to sit with me and help me establish working practices that would help me get organised. I can think of many examples of people who I would consider to have been mentors in my life that all remembered just what it was like to be starting out.? ?I now find myself stepping into mentoring roles from time to time and the one thing I try to do is remember just what it felt like when I was starting out or facing a new challenge. ?If you're looking for a mentor, make sure they can still remember what it was like to be a beginner
Source: James Clear
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