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KGB Vol 24: Good vs Great: A view from above

Developing athletes can be a defining difference in the label good or great coach. Sure, there are some tactical wizards out there, but most great coaches get that distinction based on their ability to maximize an athlete’s ability to be successful. There are athletes who are clearly less talented but get more out of the talent they possess. There are those with great talents who have a deep drive to be the best and become unstoppable. Sometimes this is achieved with determination and grit alone but more often it is a combination of these two qualities layered on top of coachability. Finding athletes with talent, work ethic, and coachability is every coach’s dream. Putting a team together requires assembling many different qualities and personalities. If you are in the business of getting the most out of your athletes here is a checklist for holistic player development.

            What can players control and practice daily? (master the basics)

  • Nutrition         
  •  Sleep health  
  •  Joint health    
  •  Stress management/recovery

There is certainly some education required to help players maximize these key pillars of performance, but this cannot be a hand holding event. These habits need to be ingrained into the culture and practiced daily.  Athletes need to learn that not every day is the same and some days may require more or less effort in one or more of these categories. Doing the upfront work to lay the foundation for success in each category will go a long way to ensuring everything else we do starts from a place of optimal athlete wellness.

            Where do coaches and support staff influence the process?

  • Strength, conditioning, sensory awareness   
  • Technical skills 
  • Tactical skills  
  •  Observational learning

These are the categories where coaching shines through. The peak of this process is observational learning where we allow our athletes to absorb the greatness of others by simply watching with an educated eye (more about observational learning). There are skill-based coaches who dig deep into these topics and shine brighter in their area of expertise, but as a head coach, GM, or parent we just want to make sure that all the boxes are being checked. At higher levels we look at ways to monitor and track certain areas of development. This helps to ensure that the balance of qualities is in order. If you don’t have the technology, simply planning your approach can ensure that you are addressing all requirements (more about organization). Sure the old saying “it takes a village” can be applied to player development. It is crucial that we give athlete wellness its due and educate our players on how to be self-sufficient in their approach to health and longevity. This is universal information and should be practiced by the coach and support staff as well. When we take care of ourselves as individuals we can contribute on a larger scale to the greater good… coach or athlete. 

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