As part of her prep for our next collab webinar series, Smarty Pants has started chatting to other coaches to find out what they wish they knew when they started coaching.
What do you wish you knew when you started?
I remember that first day, looking out at a sea of faces (or even worse, only a coupla faces) all waiting for me to blurt out something quite clever and revolutionary?
Hindsight #1 - most of them aren't waiting for any such thing... you know that right? They're either wishing they hadn't eaten quite so much right before training or they're waiting to be told to warm up...
I remember the prep before hand. Sketching out to the minute exactly how each drill was going to run. And wondering if introducing a new concept without enough time to practice it might turn them off roller derby forever?
Hindsight #2 - things never go to plan. I still map my sessions out but I go with the flow of the session. I diverge, I come back, I truncate, and I extend. I following my conceptual running order. I don't watch the clock; I watch the athletes.
I remember fumbling over my words and thinking I was confusing things all the more.
Hindsight #3 - Sometimes this is true. So now I just stop babbling and I show. And then I ask them to explain to me what they're seeing. And we find the words together.
What I wish I knew when I started coaching is that coaching is a collaboration.
The coach, the athlete, the team working together make the session successful. Not taking all the onus for success onto yourself as coach doesn't mean that you don't have a lot of work to do. Collaboration is so much harder than a dictatorship. There are so many skills and pitfalls and, dear god, personalities.
What makes coaching hard is never what you think will make coaching hard. But it is what makes coaching worthwhile.