When you’re on the lookout for a quick read that makes you think about the role of a Coach, take a look at 3D Coach by Jeff Duke. Jeff’s heart comes through as you read about his personal journey as a Coach, coupled with a number of practical steps that will help any Coach at any level take their program to a new level. Jeff gets into the psychology of coaching, what motivates athletes and how to “capture the heart behind the jersey”. I can’t recommend 3D Coach strongly enough.
Last week in a Coaching Life Group we got into a discussion about an idea contained in Chapter 8 of the book, as Jeff tells the story of a young high school assistant who was assigned to visit the homes of each player in his position group in the early part of the season. There’s an engaging depiction of the interaction between Coach, athletes and their family, as a fifteen minute visit turns into a two-hour conversation and a weekly meal together in that home.
Reading the passage together, there was some resistance to the idea of visiting every home. Practically speaking, you might not actually be able to pull that off. Maybe there are just too many players, or the administration has a problem with the plan, or whatever. On the other hand, assuming it’s feasible and permissible, what’s the downside? Why not visit the families of the athletes we work with? Even if I can’t make those visits in person, maybe I can get a few minutes on the phone with each player’s Mom or Dad, thanking them for the opportunity to work with their son/daughter. Why not?
Communicating with families proactively seems like a pretty good way to build a connection and cultivate a higher level of trust. Seems like a good idea to me.
In Jeff’s story, the athletes were struggling with attendance, attitude, etc. prior to the Coach’s visit to the house. They gradually turned it around and ended up playing at the collegiate level. There is also a poignant description of the interaction between player and Coach after they are eliminated from the state playoffs in the player’s senior year. It’s a tremendous story from a tremendous book, that gives us a simple, yet potentially life changing idea.