Everybody has their own End-of-the-Year List and I’m no different. Discover the 5 Greatest Things I Learned in 2015!
I’m an obsessive learner so imagine my challenge at arriving at a list of ONLY 5 things I learned all year! But, it’s my best 5 and it seems fitting to end 2015 with this list. I hope you enjoy it!
Learning for me isn’t an occasional habit, or nightly glance through the paper – it’s literally an obsession. I’m often distracted from something I NEED to do by something I want to learn. It can be random things like learning the most remote lighthouse in the world is probably the Aniva lighthouse on a small rock off the coast of Sakhalin, to more useful information like finding out that Stephanie VanBrakle has each of her Alabama pitchers keep a detailed journal during practice and games.
I’m fortunate to speak at lots of clinics throughout the year which gives me the super cool pleasure of hearing other coaches speak, and learning from them! If you ever attend a clinic where I’m speaking, look for me in the back of the room feverishly taking notes – not only do I simply love hearing new perspectives and learning new things, but I also feel it’s my obligation as a coach to continue learning as much as I can to help every single player I come in contact with!
So let’s get started. Here’s my list of the 5 Greatest Things I Learned in 2015:
- Players Want It – Team culture was a bit of a theme this year. I read a tremendous book detailing how the world’s most successful team – the New Zealand rugby team, the All Blacks – rebooted their team culture following their 2004 World Cup loss. They realized they had talented players but needed to have a healthier culture so they started from scratch with the premise that “Better People Make Better All Blacks”. That’s a great statement and it’s just one of the nuggets I got from that book. For those of you readers out there, the book is titled: Legacy: What the All Blacks Can Teach Us About the Business of Life – James Kerr.
I also had the pleasure of doing a Team Culture clinic for a softball organization we work with and this was eye-opening for me! I separated Players, Parents and Coaches in all 5 age groups within their program and asked each to answer these 4 simple questions:
- What does your team look like? NOT look like?
- What Behaviors will you allow? NOT allow?
The answers were incredible!! Players WANT IT! From world class pro athletes to 10 & under softball players – they want a healthy culture, they want to connect with adults, they want us to lead them and make the hard decisions, and they want to be good players and good people. Players Want It!
I’ve become so motivated by this Team Culture topic that I am finalizing a brand new eClinic on Team Culture that I’ll be releasing next year. This eClinic will walk you and your program through what it takes to identify and create a healthy Team Culture that will allow everyone within your program to thrive! Look for it.
In the meantime – check out our book – A Coach’s Guide to Creating Team Chemistry: Tips on Coaching Female Athletes
This year taught me that I need help from others just as much as the players I work with need help from me. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, but rather a signal of motivation!
Use your help resources this coming year, from your friends or teammates, your family or co-workers. We’re here to help you at Softball Excellence so please call us anytime!! 1-800-995-1014
Next up was our partnership with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) that targets Travel Ball, Youth Ball and High School coaches by providing practice plans and drills to help make your lives easier. This program required a lot of my creativity and planning skills and was centered on the fact that coaches all want to learn better ways to hold practices and make their team better.
And finally we held the first-ever Pitching Summit! This sold-out event was 3 days of extensive training by college pitching coaches for college pitching coaches. I’ve wanted to hold this event for years and just never got the courage to do it – and through the forceful nudging of a dear friend – I finally pulled the trigger and was amazed!! The energy, enthusiasm and dedication of the 100 coaches that attended was truly inspiring! We not only have the dates set for our 2nd Annual Pitching Summit (August 8-10, 2016 in Tampa), but we’re in talks to hold a Pitching Summit in December 2016 at the NFCA Convention in New Orleans, open to ALL Pitching Coaches!
I accomplished things this year that I went into telling myself, “I can’t”. I’m like that sometimes. I throw up roadblocks if I feel I either don’t understand something or can’t really picture how I’d do it. Either way, I needed help and nudging to get past my self-made blockade. I found out I could do more, and I was soooo much better off for that discovery!
I go to the gym a couple times a week and work with a trainer I’ve had for years. He always challenges the crap out of me by having me do workouts that at first, I don’t think I can do. Earlier this week we (which means me) did the 100 workout. Basically that means you do 100 of each exercise. Sounds easy, and since the weights are pretty light, at first it even seemed easy. That is until long about 60…then easy isn’t a word I’d consider using at all! At first I think “I can’t”. But then I learn to quiet that voice, take a short break if I have to, just make the next 5, and then before I know it I’ve knocked out 100.
You CAN Do More – and it’s our greatest gift as coaches to help our players realize that on a daily basis!
We take breaks to watch birds fly by and wonder what we look like to them. We name large bald eagles “Fluffy”. And we throw balls at water bottles left in the fence as a form of awesome target practice. Part of passion is Joy, and nobody excels at anything without some passion.
We can all use more Joy in our lives – so my Holiday wish to you is Live Life with More Joy!!
From all of us at Softball Excellence to all of you – have a very joyful holiday season and Thank You for a wonderful 2015!