How To Refresh And Revamp Your Coaching This Season
It’s easy to get into a coaching rut.
To remain at our best, we need to continually look for new sources of inspiration to reinvigorate our coaching.
Even small changes can have a big impact on your coaching energy.
Try some of these ideas to reset, renew and refresh your coaching:
1. Write Or Revisit Your Coaching Purpose
In his book Coaching Better Every Season Wade Gilbert explains that your: “…coaching purpose defines why you do what you do; it is your fundamental reason for being (a coach).” (P.5)
Formally recording your coaching purpose in writing will force you to think deeply about what you do. Such deep reflection can be enlightening. It can help you to tackle your coaching with renewed vigour and intent.
Once created and recorded, regularly touching base with your coaching purpose can fuel your motivation. If required, it may even renew your coaching passion.
As Gilbert says: “…clarity of coaching purpose serves as a beacon for navigating the choppy waters of coaching…”. (P.5)
2. Create a Top 10 List
Ask the kids you coach what makes coaching sessions fun for them. Collate the top 10 most popular answers. Use this list to guide your coaching content. It may change how you coach.
Look at this list when you plan a session and see how many of the Top 10 you can fit in. Refer to the list again after the session. It probably won’t be a surprise to you how closely your ability to include the Top 10 fun factors correlates with the success of your session.
For more information about creating a Top 10 list, click HERE.
3. Ask For Athlete Assessments
At the end of a coaching session, ask the participants what they most enjoyed about the session. Their answers will sometimes surprise you. Expect the unexpected. Kids often pick things that you wouldn’t have.
What the kids say will certainly give you a better understanding of what they find most engaging and may encourage you to approach your coaching in a new way.
4. Start a Coaching Journal
Regularly getting your thoughts down on paper is a wonderful way to reflect on your coaching and build up a resource filled with material that you can look back on. What should you write in a journal? Whatever you want! Hand-written or typed, it doesn’t matter – whatever works for you, and whatever will make it more likely you will do it and keep doing it.
If you have the time, write a review of every session you coach. We espouse to athletes the benefits of keeping a training journal. It is just as valuable for the coach to do so.
I like to include:
- A summary of the content
- Some comments and observations
- What I learned
- What aspect of my coaching I want to focus on next time.
For electronic records, I recommend the note-taking app Evernote and the journaling app Day One.
5. Become a Mentor
If you are in a position to do so, consider taking another less experienced coach under your wing. It is widely accepted that teaching something to someone else is one of the best ways to learn it better yourself. A mentoring relationship can benefit both the mentee and mentor. Mentoring is a form of professional development that cannot be underestimated. It will make you to look at your coaching in new ways.
6. Observe Other Coaches
Watching others coach is not only a great way to gain new material for your sessions, but you can also study the strategies others use to engage the athletes in their charge. And don’t just watch coaches from your sport; seek out coaches from other sports. It will widen your coaching horizons.
7. Try Using Some New Content
Try doing things differently during your sessions. It will be refreshing for your athletes and refreshing for you. I’m not just referring drills, games or challenges here. I’m also talking about things like the coaching cues you use and the way you deliver feedback.
For example, learning about the power of external coaching cues has changed my coaching language. Read more HERE.
8. Experiment With Some New Equipment
Adding a new coaching aid to your kit will widen your coaching repertoire.
And new equipment doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult to source.
For example, read about how I use pool noodles, coloured tape and ribbons HERE.
9. Arrange For Someone To Video You Coaching (and then review it)
It is common for coaches to video and review the performance of their athletes. Why is it that many coaches don’t watch themselves on video?
It is amazing what you can learn when you watch yourself on video. It can provide a whole new perspective on your performance as a coach. Things such as your positioning, body language and the tone, pace and volume of your voice can all be better examined away from the heat of the session.
If video review can work for athletes, imagine what it can do for coaches?
10. Start Listening to Coaching-Related Podcasts
Even if you find it hard to make time in the day for self-education, podcasts allow you to learn on the go. They can also add some spark to some otherwise dull and monotonous tasks! (Think washing the dishes or vacuuming!)
11. Buy a New Coaching-Related Book
A book doesn’t necessarily need to be specifically about coaching to inspire you as a coach.
Some that I have recently read that have refreshed and influenced my coaching in some way include:
- 7 Keys to Being a Great Coach by Allistair McCaw
- Atomic Habits by James Clear
- Changing The Game by John O’Sullivan
- Conscious Coaching by Brett Bartholomew
- Essentialism by Greg McKeown
- Legacy – What the All Blacks Can Teach Us About the Business of Life by James Kerr
- Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
- Start With Why by Simon Sinek
- The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle
- The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle
- This Is Marketing by Seth Godin
12. Attend a Professional Development Event
Coaching workshops and conferences are wonderful for learning, sharing, connecting and revitalising.
Look outside your sport and even look outside sports coaching when considering what may be of benefit to you.
Are there any professional learning opportunities related to communication, technology, management, etc, that could be relevant to your coaching?
13. Enrol In Some Online Learning
Learn and be inspired at home in your own time!
- Subscribe to a coaching-related website. (I recommend the UK Coaching website).
- Sign up for a webinar.
- Enroll in an online course.
14. Try a New App
There are some wonderful apps that can add an extra bow to your coaching.
I am a fan of the video app Coaches Eye, which can be used to provide instant video analysis and feedback to the coach or athlete. It has changed my coaching.
15. Start to Follow Reputable Coaches or Organisations On Social Media
Social media can get a bad rap at times, but used wisely it can be a wonderful place to learn from and connect with others. Mix in the right circles and you can find a bunch of generous people sharing a wealth of valuable information and experiences that will help add that extra spark to your coaching.
My favourite place to pick up golden nuggets of information is on Twitter. Some coaches/organisations very worthy of a follow include:
Apologies to those very worthy of note who I missed!
Can You Suggest Any Other Ways Spring Clean Your Coaching?
Let me know by leaving a comment/reply or by using the below contact details. I would also love to know if any of the above suggestions work for you!
NOTE: There are links on this page from which Coaching Young Athletes can earn a small commission. This adds no cost to you but helps to keep this blog sustainable. I really appreciate if you do purchase through my links. Please know that I only recommend books that I use and love myself, and all opinions expressed in this review are my own. Thanks for your support. Darren
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Darren Wensor is a sports development professional, coach educator, specialist coach of young athletes and founder of the blog coachingyoungathletes.com. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Anchor or via email.