The teacher-student, manager-trainee, boss-employee, or coach-player relationship is a two-way street. Both parties must put forth their best effort to succeed.
Coaching and teaching in today’s environment can present a very real challenge. I’ve always believed coaching is teaching. I was fortunate to be trained by coaches who felt the same. Organization was paramount to preparing your lesson plan or practice plan for each day. Every minute was mapped out in detail. Every drill, technique, and play was presented in a logical progression. The meetings with players were prepared just as diligently.
Today’s challenge for educators and in some cases coaches, is the gradual rise in the attitude that students don’t fail — teachers fail the students.
I’m sure in any profession there are those who do not put the effort, planning, and passion into their work and ultimately do fail their students or players. More often than not, in today’s world of participation trophies, it is used merely as an excuse for the student or player.
The teacher-student or coach-player relationship is a two-way street. Both parties must put forth their best effort to succeed.
One of my favorite quotes regarding coaching is: “I can teach you, but I can’t learn you.”
A coach or teacher can present material in an exciting, creative, and easy-to-understand way but cannot learn for the student or player.
Dedicated coaches and players put in one-on-one time for students seeking assistance for concepts they may not grasp readily. It is proven that the best method to learn is to see it, hear it, write it, and speak it regarding subject material and then you can own it.
As a coach, I’ve always taken great pride watching my players or unit improve and produce to the best of their ability. In my teaching, I also took pride in my players’ ability and desire to learn. I took it as a challenge if a player needed extra tutoring. People learn in different ways. Often a player needed the material presented in a different fashion or needed the subject matter communicated a little differently than in the group environment.
When leadership is honest and objective in evaluating coaches or teachers they will acknowledge that there are times when a player or student has reached his competency level.
Not that a player or student won’t be able to learn, but may not be able to learn at the pace or speed necessary to produce at that level of their profession.
In my NFL experience, it was often stated that mental errors by players were on the coaches. When head coaches hire great teachers, it should also be understood there may be some players who just can’t pick up the material for the speed, volume and stress necessary for useful application on the battlefield. There are rare times a player is so talented the leader may be willing to adjust his game plan because of that limitation.
It is very difficult to justify an adjustment in a philosophy or playbook for one player.
- If there are more players or students who can’t seem to grasp the playbook then it should be considered the playbook is too complicated for the speed of the game.
- If it is only one position that has many challenges then the coach or leader should be considered as one of the possible reasons.
Leadership should make all of those assessments privately. There have been organizations where the players were told that mental errors were coaching. I wasn’t a fan of that presentation technique because it gave any player or student an immediate excuse to blame others.
Great coaches, teachers, and leaders inspire their team to work with coaches to learn the game plan.