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Unlock Your True Potential as a Coach

When a season ends in disappointment or the scoreboard doesn’t reflect the result you think you deserved, it can be easy to get down and start questioning your abilities as a coach. While it’s important to self-evaluate and improve, it’s also important to identify your strengths and recognize the value that you bring to your program. One way to do this is to ask yourself a few simple yet significant questions.

In an article on, Erica Quam explains that coaches often struggle to recognize their value, and instead are conditioned to constantly question if they’ve done something wrong or if they need to change. Though it’s definitely helpful to find ways to improve from year to year, Quam argues that when coaches understands how valuable they are, they can start to unlock their true potential.

“I'm talking about recognizing your true power,” she writes. “Begin to acknowledge and celebrate all the unique abilities and skills you have as a coach. The way you coach and connect with your athletes to help them learn, grow, and develop is something that's unique to you alone.”

One reason this doesn’t always come naturally to coaches is because others rarely acknowledge their value. Especially when the season isn’t going well or following a difficult loss, athletes, parents, and people in the community can be quick to blame, judge, and criticize coaches. This criticism can hurt and make you feel inadequate, but Quam writes that it’s important to remember that you aren’t going to serve your athletes by making them happy all the time. Sure, you want everyone to have an enjoyable experience, but that doesn’t mean you should stop pushing them towards their goals. Your leadership is essential to their success, so when things aren’t going well, that’s when they need you the most.

Another roadblock can be the scoreboard. People will often judge your effectiveness as a coach based on wins and losses. Yet, even when the results on the scoreboard aren’t there, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to find success throughout a season. Quam points out that coaches need to remind themselves of the small steps they are making with each athlete. Recognize the small breakthroughs, improvements, and growth that happen throughout the year, and be proactive about drawing on them and pointing them out. This will show your athletes and those watching that there is a lot more to gain from a season than a winning record.

Quam also writes that coaches struggle to see their own value because they’re not used to it. Coaches often feel like they have to carry the burden on their own and that they shouldn’t ask for help, but that type of approach to leadership can be exhausting and unsustainable. For coaches to be successful, it’s essential that they understand their strengths and delegate responsibilities to those who are stronger in other areas. And if you are in a position where you have to teach something that you’re not fully confident about, it’s essential that you ask for help.

In order to truly understand your value as a coach, Quam recommends asking yourself these four questions:

1. What desires and/or dreams do you help your athletes achieve?

2. What doubts or limiting beliefs do you help them overcome?

3. What mistakes do your athletes make that you've helped them understand and/or change?

4. What problems do you solve or solutions do you provide to help your athletes through their challenges and struggles?

Click here to read the full article.

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