In my spare time I coach my daughters midget age hockey team. As all who have been involved in kids sports will understand, coaching is my part time job with full time hours. Fortunately in my particular case, the group of parents involved with our team are reasonable people appreciative of the amount of time not only myself, but the entire team staff devote to their kids development. Nonetheless, occasionally parental expectations and a coaches vision will differ. And so it was for me, very early in the season when one parent, in casual friendly conversation asked me ‘what are your goals for the team?’ To say the question took me by surprise would be an understatement, and my response was accordingly lame (something about identifying areas of specific weakness, and working on improvement).
‘That’s not good enough’ came her reply, and then she carried on to very nicely explain to me how it is important for people to have goals, etc. The tone of the conversation was amicable throughout, and I actually count her as one of our staff’s greatest boosters. Nonetheless I pondered her words for the balance of the day, and developed a conclusion. My response, or at least the message behind it, was good enough, it was just very poorly articulated. By nature,at least when it comes to sports, I am very competitive, and I do have a goal for our team, or any team I coach for that matter – the goal is to win. A goal without a process however, is useless. The process put in place for my team is to develop the skills and habits necessary to maximize the potential for victory in every game we play.
While this is a story about kids hockey, you may agree with me that in this way, coaching a kids sports team is no different from developing a business plan for realtors, or brokers for that matter. Identify the arena of play, your strengths, the typical weaknesses of your opponents, and put together a plan to develop your skills and ingrain the habits that will lead to a greater number of successes. Without first developing your own personal process, your goals are unachievable. With a well thought out plan on the other hand, you will be amazed at what you can achieve.
You may remember the saying ‘look after the pennies and the dollars will look after themselves’. It has long been a favourite of mine as a metaphor for focusing on the process (the pennies) in order to reach the goal (the dollars). Most of us are all too eager to focus on the dollars. It’s the folks that pay the most attention to the pennies however, that will end up with the most dollars.
Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year!
P.S.: While everything I have written here is an accurate reflection of events and my opinion, I do feel like I should add that I do not believe kids sports should be all about winning. Team sports, in my view, are a great way of teaching kids that the sum of their parts is greater than their individual skills and abilities might suggest, when and only when each member of the team embraces their role and does it to the best of their ability. Sport, is a powerful metaphor for life. Learning how to win is important, but learning how to lose is just as important.