Monday, June 22, 2009

Telling the Story

One aspect of the Art of Coaching is the Art of Storytelling. I'm not talking sit the kids down and tell'em a fairy tale and it doesn't have to be a speech with fire and brimstone that sends the troops into battle. I mean using stories that illustrate a point, or give an example. They convey a message and enhance credibility.

As a young coach its often a challenge to have the stories you need. It also may not be in your nature to do this easily. So where do your coaching stories come from?

Colleagues and Mentors
As you are building your own experiences, borrow stories. These should come from mentors and colleagues. They can come from books or at conferences. Don't take credit, but use the story as a credible example. "You know Johnny, your not the first athlete to go through this. One of the best strength coaches in the country was just talking about how All-Star Joe, went through the same thing and succeeded in the end...."

Your (team, school. facility, etc...)
Borrow from those you work with. You institution and other coaches there have stories. They are closer to home for your athletes and can carry more weight. Learn your institutions stories a well.

Your Own
Over years of coaching you will gain stories. They can be become more dramatic and profound if you stay around sport for a while. Be careful though, the most powerful stories aren't always about the famous athlete or the winning team. They may be something that happened earlier today. Sometimes it's enough for an athlete to know someone else has gone through this or travelled this path before.

The story is a tool. A tool to convey meaning to your athletes by showing them a bigger picture, giving an example, and transferring the emotional power of it to them. Used well, and not abused by trivialization, a story is a key part of the Art of Coaching.

Any Given Sunday

Remember the Titans