Can You Really Change?
Posted by Dean Holden at July 28th, 2016
by Wayne Goldsmith, 27 July 2016
How many books about sport, coaching, performance, success and winning have you read? How many videos have you watched on line, how many “You Tube” links have you connected to, how many podcasts have you listened to about being the best, getting the most out of your athletes, creating a winning culture and being all you can be?
How many motivational sayings have you read, copied down, printed out, sent to your athletes and stuck up on your wall?
Done all these things yet still doing the same old things the same way – and not achieving the coaching performances that you want to achieve?
Don’t worry. You’re not alone.
Most coaches who read the motivational books, watch the motivational videos and put up the motivational signs on their walls don’t actually read, watch or pay attention to the messages and as a result – they don’t change – and without change there’s no progress, improvement or success.
“But I don’t know what to do”, you say.
Most coaches know – within a relatively short time of becoming a coach – what it is they need to be doing – what the things are in planning, preparation and performance that they can do to help them realise their peak coaching performance.
Ever hear a great coach say the words “be totally committed to your coaching?”
Ever read about a successful coach who spoke passionately about the importance of hard work?
Ever talked to a coaching colleague and had them tell you that the best season they ever had as a coach was when they really connected and communicated with their athletes?
The reality is that most coaches already know what to do – they just choose not to do it.
They know what they need to be doing to be all they can be. They’ve read, watched and purchased more motivational items than they could ever need – yet – for some reason – they continue to choose to be unsuccessful.
So, can you really change?
Yes – you can. But it takes more than books, videos, slogans and posters.
It takes courage and a strong personal commitment to change and continuous improvement.
How can you change?
- Just change. There it is. Simple. Direct. Just change. It’s a fact that the majority of people who start New Year’s Resolutions on January 1st have given up on them before the first day of February. You don’t need a special day or a list or a t-shirt with a slogan on it or a personal trainer to inspire you to change. Make it happen.
- It has to be personal. All change is personal. It has to be. Because change is not about words: it is about the actions and behaviours you commit to. It’s you and nobody else who actually has to make change happen. Unless you willingly accept and commit to the changes you know are important, they will never happen. It’s not your best friend’s job to get you out of bed in the morning. You don’t need an “app” to remind you to change. Just make a personal commitment to doing what needs to be done – and do it.
- Most coaches leave change until it’s too late or almost too late. It’s a sad thing to realise but most coaches do not change until it’s too late – or almost too late. Coaches become committed to improving their athletes’ technique and skills AFTER they watch the athletes lose an important race. Coaches become more committed to focusing on physical preparation AFTER they watch all their team tire and lose an important game in the final ten minutes of play. Don’t be a late-starter. Do it now! Do the things you know you need to be doing – today.
- The good plan started now – is better than the perfect plan never started. Too many people talk about change but wait for the mythical “perfect” moment to start the change process. If not right now – when? If not today – what day? If not this moment – what moment? When will it be the “perfect” time to start making the changes you know you need to make? There is no perfect time! There’s only now.
- You don’t have to be great to start – but you have to start – to be great. You don’t need any specific skills, any special equipment, a Master’s degree in psychology or any particular talent to change. Anyone can change – but so few people do. The majority of great coaches, elite athletes, Olympians, world record holders and professional players were not born great – and they don’t necessarily possess any special, extraordinary physical talent. They chose to be great – and they became committed to living a lifestyle based on change, learning and continuous improvement.
- Stop buying books, watching videos, buying posters and sending motivational images to your athletes. Stop wasting your money and time on trying to buy change. The only people you’re helping to change, are the people writing the books and producing the videos. They are changing their beat up old car for a brand new Mercedes Benz – and using your money to pay for it.
- Don’t reward yourself for doing what you want to do and should be doing anyway. Understanding change is a commitment to a lifestyle where you continually review, assess, learn and change the things you do in order to get better. Too many coaches start what they believe is a “change-process” then feel the need to reward themselves with a day off or some take-away food or another special treat – just for doing the things they should have been doing anyway. The best reward for hard work and the improvement that comes from it, is the opportunity to keep doing it! Excellence is its own reward.
- Most stress is caused by not doing things when they should have been done. Get nervous when your team runs out to play on game day? You should have worked harder and smarter – more often. Get nervous about how your athletes’ technique and skill will hold up when they get tired? You and your athletes should have been working on technique and skills every day for the three months before the event. One of the great things about change is that if you’re committed to it you don’t stress out at competitions, because you know you’ve done the things you need to do to be successful. Doing leads to knowing: knowing leads to confidence: confidence leads to stress free competitions for the coach and athletes!
- Forget goal setting. It doesn’t work. Everyone talks about goal setting….”short-term goal, medium-term goals, long-term goals”…blah blah blah…forget it. Just start doing the things you know you need to be doing and your goals – and your dreams – will take care of themselves.
- Get in the moment. And stay in it. Think “this”. This session. This lap. This practice. One of the biggest “change-killers” is the word “next”. “Next week I’ll start my new commitment to coaching” or “Next session I’ll really work hard on coaching”. No! Do it now: it’s now or never. Make a small change right now! Start a commitment to a small technical change that you can and you will make in your training program – i.e. at “this” training session.
Six of the most powerful words a coach can learn are: I can…I will…I did.
These six simple words demonstrate very clearly and very simply the real power of change:
- “I can” – making the personal decision to change;
- “I will” – making the personal commitment to implement change and
- “I did!” – what happens when you live a lifestyle committed to change and continuous improvement.
- Is change essential for you to realise your potential and experience the thrill of seeing your dreams become reality? Yes. But is change easy? No. That’s why so few people make it to the top, why there’s only one gold medal awarded in each Olympic final, why there’s only one winner of the grand final and why there’s just one world champion.
- You can’t buy change. You can’t download change. You can’t put a motivational saying about change up on a wall and hope that it will make a meaningful change to your life. You actually have to change. You have to live the actions, standards and behaviours that make effective change a reality and to live a lifestyle committed to excellence through continuous improvement.
- Start small – start simple but start now. As soon as you finish reading this article write an innovative new training session. Or call a coaching colleague and kick around some ideas about developing skills. Or leave for practice early and be ready with a new warm up routine for the team. Or go for a run and work on your own health and fitness but coach – yes you .…… JUST DO SOMETHING!!! You’ll be surprised what a difference actually starting right now actually makes.
Wayne Goldsmith has been at the forefront of high performance sport and coach development for the past 25 years. He has worked with a long list of Olympic athletes and coaches and influenced numerous professional sporting teams including several AFL teams, NRL teams and Super Rugby teams as well as the Wallabies and Tennis Australia / Australian Open Grand Slam. His work is focused on the realisation of peak personal performance potential – and helping athletes, coaches and teams to achieve sustainable success. Originally trained in sports science, Wayne’s work now centres on teaching athletes, coaches and parents how to develop high level expertise in personal performance skills such as commitment, courage, confidence and personal values including integrity, honesty, humility, discipline, composure and patience. Wayne has worked with athletes, coaches, teams and sporting organisations all over the world including USA, UK, France, Portugal, Greece, Spain, Japan, Thailand, Canada, Fiji, South Korea, South Africa and New Zealand. Wayne’s connecting to NZ stretches back over 15 years. Since 2013 Wayne has worked with Sport NZ’s innovative national coach development initiative and has influenced, educated and mentored coaches all over the country. He is a winner of the Outstanding Contribution to Swimming in Australia Award, the Outstanding Contribution to Coach Education in Australia Prize and the International Prize for Creativity in Sport.
Category: art of coaching, Ask the Experts, career counselling, coach development, communication, decision training, deliberate practice, education, effort, environment, expertise, feedback, focus, kaizen, leadership, learning, mindset, motivation, philosophy, planning / periodization, professional coaching, routine / ritual, self-awareness, self-improvement, teaching, work ethic