sent by Nick Grantham | 9th March 2021
In 2011 I provided S&C to the GB Men's basketball team. During one of our morning meetings, I was asked if the players had completed their injury reduction sessions after training. I explained that most of them had come through the treatment room to complete their session, but several players had forgotten. Chris Finch, the head coach, said, "Nick, they remember all the time; they just don't value it every day." It made me stop and think, and being a bit of a geek; I wrote it down in my notepad! He was spot on. The players knew they had to complete the workout, they knew their time slot, but they didn't place a high enough value on it to complete the session. A phone call, coffee with a teammate, game on the X-Box was more important. They didn't forget. Whenever an athlete tells me they 'forgot' to do something, I recall that team meeting, and I try to figure out what the athlete values more than what they've supposedly forgotten. If I can figure that out, I can then start to find a way of getting the things I would like them to do higher up the priority list so that they don't 'forget' to do them again.
Source: Chris Finch - Minnesota Timberwolves Head Coach
There's a lot to be said for being the grey person, who doesn't share every intimate detail with anyone who will listen. The person that doesn't bang on about previous feats of physical fitness. The person who doesn't spew facts and figures or drops knowledge bombs left, right and centre. Sometimes it's good to keep a bit back in your locker. It's good to let others discover stuff about you over time. It has more impact. It's essential to learn when to show people you can still shift a bit of tin in the weight room or that you're actually pretty knowledgeable on a subject. Last summer, a colleague said to me, "you don't say much, do you, Nick", to which I replied, "I only speak if it's an improvement on the silence!" In a world where everyone wants to share everything with everybody immediately, learn to be more selective with what you show and what you say.
Source: William Shakespeare
One of the critical characteristics of a great coach is being flexible and adaptable (if you want to learn about the other characteristics I think are essential, check out my TEDx talk). I remember Mike Boyle discussing how he was battered on social media for changing his mind about some of the training methods he had previously championed. But what would you rather have? A coach with a fixed mindset and a unimodal approach that they apply to every situation or one with a beginners mindset that can flex and adapt? You can either be the coach with ten years of experience or a coach with one year of experience repeated ten times! Far from weakness, changing your mind is a superpower. As a coach, you need to be constantly reinventing yourself. Coaches with experience are still required, but it's important that as coaches, we are prepared to unlearn a bunch of stuff we thought was important and get comfortable with changing or ditching some of those previous experiences to move forward.
If you've only got a hammer in your toolbox, then pretty soon, everything you see looks like a nail, and you'll try to knock the crap out of it! What we are actually talking about is cognitive bias (an over-reliance on something familiar). The opening line has been attributed to some pretty heavyweight psychologists. There are a lot of coaches who rely heavily on one tool. They may be the 'Olympic Lifting' coach or the 'Functional Movement' specialist. We've all seen them and often had to work alongside them. The best coaches can effectively 'magpie' knowledge and training methods and then apply the most appropriate strategy for any given situation. They know when a hammer is the best tool, but they also know when a Phillips screwdriver is probably a better option. Strive to become a true craftsman, capable of choosing the best tool for the job.
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