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In Pursuit of Great Coaching

(Photo Credit: Al Behrman/Associated Press)

Growing up in Indiana, basketball was my first love.

Whether it was watching Larry Bird highlights, shooting hoops in my gravel driveway, or find the nearest pick-up game, I loved the game and thought that someday I would grow up to be a “coach.”

I was incredibly lucky in the fact that growing up in Muncie in the late 80’s, I got to watch some amazing basketball, highlighted by an amazing coach…

Rick Majerus.

This guy was always known for doing things his way, and getting the most out of his players.

And as a coach, what more can you ask for?

Every person who reads this blog is a coach of some sort.

Maybe you “coach” athletes…

…maybe you “coach” personal training clients…

…and maybe, the only person you “coach” is yourself.

With the passing of Coach Majerus, it’s gotten me thinking quite a bit about what makes a great coach.

What are some characteristics, or personality traits, that make up a great coach?

Here’s just a short list of qualities that I’ve come up with that defines what great coaches do, day in and day out.

Tireless dedication to improving their craft

If you watch any great coach long enough, you realize these people are in it for the long haul.

Here’s a famous quote that I love to refer to:

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you live forever.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

Learning the in and outs of your chosen profession takes years, even decades to refine. That’s why I love learning from older coaches who have “been there” and “done that.”

Make it an effort to learn something about your craft every single day, and you’ll be on your way to becoming a great coach.

Looking beneath the surface to motivate athletes

A transcendent talent like LeBron James, Michael Jordan or even Kobe Bryant has eye popping skills and can take over a basketball game at any point in time.

These athletes are typically easy to coach, as their motivation and drive to be the best is unparalleled.

But what about the less talented, or less skilled athletes?

As strength coaches and personal trainers, we realize that we must step back and look at the complete person in front of us: Physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, if we want to get the most out of them.

Without looking beneath the surface to find out what really makes this person tick, it’s incredibly hard to maximize their talent.

They understand coaching teaches life lessons

I remember in high school my varsity basketball coach used to always tell us, “sports are a great to learn the lessons of life.”

How true that is.

If you’re a coach, you realize that the principles we employ in the gym translate to virtually every aspect of life itself.

Hard work.

Dedication.

Discipline.

Focus.

When you realize that the lessons we learn in any given sport can translate to other avenues or aspects of our life, I feel that’s incredibly empowering.

Quite literally, if you can improve yourself in sport or in the gym, you have the tools to improve in life itself.

Pretty cool, if you ask me.

They focus on the task at hand

With all of the information available nowadays, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

In sports, the same thing can occur – whether it’s remembering plays or reacting to what the opposition is doing, you’re in deep doo-doo if you can’t focus.

A great coach helps you shed all the irrelevant stuff that’s bouncing around in your head, and focus on the task at hand.

Make the next move.

Take the appropriate action.

Rather than focusing on all the possible outcomes, if you focus on the next actionable step, chances are you won’t succumb to overwhelm, and you’ll perform better to boot.

Seeing athletes for what they can become

In my opinion, the most valuable component of what a coach does is to show the athlete what they can become.

When athletes come to us, they could be broken, lack confidence, or simply not that talented.

A great coach sees this athlete not for what they currently are, but for what they can become.

They say all things are created twice:

First, in the mind…

…and then, in reality.

If you can help an athlete see their destiny, or what they can become, you have truly become a great coach.

Summary

Becoming a great coach, for me, will be a lifelong pursuit.

I love working with people, and it’s something I fully intend to do for the rest of my life.

But I’m interested…

What drives you to become a great coach?

And what do you do everyday to make yourself better?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!

All the best

MR

BTW – if your goal is to become a great coach, consider becoming a part of the Elite Training Mentorship. This week only we’re offering a discounted $1 trial, and you get a ton of extra bonus materials as well.

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