You cannot change the past, but you must learn from it if you want to have a chance to be a remarkable coach. What is remarkable? Being remembered in a positive way by the people you can influence, both players and their parents, if not the opposition.
Coaches should not use their background in a braggadocio manner, but more from the point of “I wish I would have known that when I played.” The best coaches realize they can help players from their negative experience as much as from the positives. Unfortunately, many coaches simply follow the negativity and recycle the cynicism they experienced. It’s necessary to evaluate one’s experience to understand what that negativity was, so to develop a game plan for your coaching philosophy and strategy that helps kids develop as players and people.
For example, I certainly have an advantage with one area of helping kids – with confidence, because I had none when I played, especially at the major league level. Believe me, that is no way to play, so I always am trying to help youngsters in that area. The good news is that negative experience has made me a better coach, as I relate to many young ballplayers who struggle with confidence, which are most.
The best way to go about that is to evaluate your playing days and answer the following questions.
• What things and words do I remember that my parents did that inspired me or dragged me down? Every athlete will have at least few of both in their past.
• The same goes for one’s coaches, what did they do to help or hurt my self-assurance?
After evaluating those, think about your coaching style to make sure you are bringing out the best in players and keeping the negativity to a minimum. Be sure and watch other coaches and parents to watch for the good things you may want to follow and to make sure you are not doing the cynical things that others do.