Ask any great coach why they started coaching and they’ll likely begin to tell you about someone else who affected them in a profound way; a mentor that guided them and shared their knowledge and passion for the game.
If you ask them how they sustain success, they’ll often explain how they are students of the game, constantly look to fellow coaches and even opponents for new information and concepts in order to stay relevant and successful. At the highest levels in sport, there is endless collaboration and exchange of information in order to elevate as a team, program, and sport.
The best coaches understand the importance of learning how others do things and implementing it within their own organization. And they understand the importance of sharing with others as well. No one person has all the answers.
If there were only one power house team in the SEC, would other programs be given the resources to compete? Would games be televised if all of the games were one-sided? Likely not. It’s the combined strength of that conference and of many, many top programs, that makes college softball both great and popular. Through connecting with others and swapping information, an entire field elevates, and if that happens, it’s good for all involved.
All coaches face similar challenges. Most of the time it’s not the X’s and O’s that slow one down, or that cause good coaches to leave the game. It’s player management, team cohesion, and character development. Carol Hutchins said it best when she said, “We are in the business of growing people up.”
Coaching is an incredibly fulfilling job that comes with a profound responsibility to mentor young people. If we kept this at the forefront of our minds, then it wouldn’t be so difficult to reach out to a new young coach and offer guidance. We’d be open to learning from our on-field opponents who seem to have mastered something we have not.
The best part about collaboration and the exchange of information is that it’s free. Coaches ask their athletes to continually develop themselves as people and players. Imagine the effects on organizations, communities, and the sport if we had the same expectation for coaches. I challenge you to reach out and ask questions of a coach who you’ve played against and were impressed with. I challenge you to reach out and offer your experience and knowledge to a new program or organization within your hometown. You never know what they could teach you as well. Every single person knows something you don’t.
This is true for people who coach players at any age. Two tee ball coaches sharing information and experience makes the whole league better, and that in turn helps the game. One drop of energy can spread a long way over time, so ask you peers and opponents the questions you have.
Ask ONE Softball, too. We are here to help you collaborate with an even larger group of people passionate about improving their knowledge set and improving the game.
Let’s start sharing and elevate our great sport.