by Ryan Krzykowski
Don’t be fooled. This is the blog for Community for Coaches, not the Changing the Game Project. But they’ve done it again over there. Reed Maltbie has written a post that is absolute spot on, and as we do a few times a year, we want to use this space to encourage you to take a look at their outstanding work. You can check out that post right here.
I must admit, when I first got the email with a link to that post, it made me a little nervous.
This question was posed: As a coach, “How do I balance my WHY with the demands of the youth sports culture?” When I first read that question, my initial reaction was something like, “Uh-oh, we’re going to teach coaches how to water down their stated purpose in an effort to appease people?”
As I read the post my fears were quieted. The exact opposite was proposed. As a coach, your WHY (or Coaching Purpose Statement) is designed to be a non-negotiable. Once we have done the hard and important work of seeking to define our others-focused purpose, it serves no one to bend it or yield in an effort to keep people happy. I know that sounds easy to say, but read the post, and imagine if the coach depicted there were to give in to the winning-focused parents. Where, then, does it stop? What good is the stated purpose of their club?
It is not easier to use opportunities like the one Mr. Maltbie describes to coach parents and families, but when done well, when done lovingly, those types of opportunities become among the most important we can have. Those types of conversations, while they likely won’t always achieve the desire effect in the short term, can have far-reaching, even eternal positive implications in people’s lives and their families for generations.
Coaches, resist the temptation to achieve “balance” between your stated purpose for coaching, and the perceived need to accommodate the misguided desires of people. You shouldn’t be a jerk about it, but there really is no compromise to be found here. There are plenty of times in our lives, in a variety of areas, where we do well to be flexible. This is not one of them.