LeadershipUpdated Monday January 9, 2017 by Richard Schwartz.
After coaching 25 years, one of the most common complaints I receive from players is that I sometimes stop the flow of drills too often in order to make “teaching points.” Here is what happens. I see something wrong that applies to the team as a whole, and I “freeze” the drill, and discuss the teaching point. Players detest having to slow down and just want to keep moving the ball, shooting, etc. As a leader, I think it is very important to empower players at every age group to be the best they can be, and to help their team achieve success. My “style,” if you will, involves these periodic freezes in order to empower the players to change their thoughts, techniques, vision, etc. in order to make them better.
The other day at a practice, one of our freshmen was struggling to set an off ball pick, admittedly one of the most difficult concepts to teach, let alone practice, in lacrosse. While every player exhibited some level of difficulty, here was a player trying his hardest, but just not getting it. As the coach, I started to realize that there were a few “tips” I could have mentioned during the “educate/demonstrate” portion of the practice. I was just about ready to stop the drill for one of my infamous teaching moments, when I saw a seasoned player step in, put his arm around the struggling player, and physically show him the basic principles of setting the pick. I was awe struck by the site … rather than hear players insult the struggling player, I witnessed encouragement. The player offering assistance gave up his own opportunity in the drill to help another player.
Then it hit me. The drill was stopped for a teaching moment. That player became a leader.
Teach leadership. Tick that one off the list. Mission accomplished.