What are the things that great coaches do every day that makes them great?
Make training more challenging and more demanding than the competition your athletes are targeting;
Great coaches realize that competition is not the time to find out where your athletes’ physical and mental limits are. Training needs to be more challenging and more demanding – physically, mentally, technically, tactically, emotionally – than the competition your athletes are preparing for.
Example: A few weeks before a major international professional Tennis Championship I observed a leading professional player play 6 sets of 9 games (i.e. first player to 9 games with a 2 game lead, e.g. 9-7) and against 4 different training opponents (one left handed and three right handed), i.e. as opposed to a standard competition match of 5 sets of 6 games against 1 opponent. His coach made the training practice tougher, more challenging, more demanding and more difficult than any tournament match could ever be. Result…he won!
Learn and develop as a coach at a faster rate than your athletes;
Great coaches realize that success is a moving target and to stay relevant they must be committed to life-long learning, honest personal and professional evaluation and continuous improvement.
Example: A swimming coach realized that two of the athletes in his team had the potential to be world record holders but that he had not coached world record holders previously. He raised some money and invited two world class coaches from other nations to come and honestly review his coaching and his program regularly to ensure his knowledge and skills were also world class. Result: One world record.
Accelerate your rate of learning faster than your opposition;
The Internet has insured that there are no secrets in sport. Everyone knows what you know. Anyone can get anything, anytime, anywhere and for free. Everyone is learning something everyday. Great coaches understand this and strive to accelerate their rate of learning faster than their opposing coaches.
Example: A high performance rugby coach with an outstanding success rate at the highest level spent one month each year, immediately following the end of the competitive season traveling the world learning from other coaches in other sports in other nations to ensure his rate of learning and development was superior to other coaches in his sport. Result…the most outstanding coaching record in professional rugby.