As the summer comes to an end, I can’t help but sit around and smile, reflecting on the past two months of hustling, grinding and coaching our athletes to the limit so they can be more than adequately prepared for the seasonal demands ahead. This past summer, we had the privilege of coaching and developing over 300 athletes in our 7-week seasonal program; almost three times as much as our first summer in 2012. We helped prepare over 50 incoming college freshmen for schools that range from Division I ACC to the Liberty League of Division III. We had record-breaking amounts of middle school, incoming high school freshmen and even adult athletes; all taking a shot and finding out about the RYPT experience. With the biggest staff yet, our interns and coaches have raised and set the bar to new standards for not only our company, but for our athletes as well. But yet, that’s not even close to what I’m really proud about. What I’m especially proud of is our athletes and their discovery and realization of their true potential!
In my last blog post, I touched on an aspect of coaching that we tend to hear about all too often; the transactional or “what can do you for me” style of coaching. I addressed a variety of personality types or coaching situations that were thoroughly explained by Joe Ehrmann, author of InsideOut Coaching. From misfits to saints, transactional coaches look at the immediate actions instead of long terms goals and results. From twitter updates or ESPN ticker announcements, these types of coaches and methods almost always flood our information channels and affect today’s youth.
And after a long hiatus from writing to focus on my family and business, there couldn’t be a better time to explain what I and a few others in this field are so passionate about; transformational coaching, or as I call it “coaching with a change in mind”.
You see, now is the time where our fall sport athletes and their parents reach out through twitter direct messages, emails and text messages just to say thanks. “Thanks for being great role models, thanks for pushing our children outside their comfort zone, thanks for helping them understand they are capable of so much more!” Nine times out of ten, it’s got nothing to do with a beep test score, a rep max on pull-ups or making the varsity squad as an underclassmen. It’s about them walking a little bit taller; speaking with a little bit more confidence and owning the field they are about to play on. It’s about helping them realize what it really takes to be great and to keep them moving forward in sport and life.
When working with inexperienced athletes at any level, how hard is it to improve their fitness, get them a little stronger and improve their mobility? Not very difficult. But, what about the intangibles? What about having the self-esteem to confidently walk onto a new campus and join a new team that is thousands of miles away from your comfort zone? Or the mental strength to balance a part-time job, apply to Ivy League schools and captain a repeat championship team?
We’ve all heard the rally cry of “Tough times don’t last, tough people do”, but are we teaching our kids toughness and perseverance? Are we using our platform to transform athletes of all levels, from Under-Armour All-Americans to NARPS (Non-Athletic Real People)?
Are we transforming our kids into better people and athletes? Are we helping our athletes truly understand what they’re capable of? Or are we simply blowing the whistle and running them through drills?
Transformational coaching is the anti-thesis to transactional coaching. It is the fire extinguisher to our flames, the light to our darkness, the finish to our start.
Transformational coaching is the pinnacle of winning, both in sport and life. By acting as a transformational coach, we continue to pay it forward and see the big picture without sacrificing our personal and professional morals and values. We treat our athletes how we wish to be treated because in the grand scheme of things…
How would we want to be coached?
It’s understanding that it’s ALWAYS about the athletes first. It’s doing what’s best for the athlete and team versus what’s best for you. It’s taking a set or two off the script because you know it’s not really needed that day and they could probably use a break. It’s remembering what it felt like when WE were in their shoes…
And sometimes, it’s even getting invited to their wedding or receiving a family Christmas card in the mail a few years later. It’s being the answer to the following question…
“Which coach had the biggest influence on you during your life?”
So, as you gear up for the beginning of your season or await the return of your athletes, remember the position you’re in and the power you have amongst today’s youth. Because you’ll never know which moments you create will leave not just an imprint, but an everlasting impact on an athlete’s life.
I want to especially thank Coach Joe Ehrmann for writing InsideOut Coaching and reminding me it’s OK to care…
Thanks for reading,
P.S. If you’d like to check out the influence for these last two blog posts, check out my presentation at the 2014 NSCA Coaches Conference titled “Coaching and Communicating with Today’s Youth” below.