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Learner, know thyself

Story Highlights
  • Lack of skills isn’t what holds people back. It’s what they don’t know about themselves.

Source | | Mike Prokopeak

Coaches learn just as much from their players as their players learn from them. When the person you’re coaching is your own kid it’s even more so.

I was my son’s soccer coach last year. Pick any player from his team of 7- and 8-year-olds and it was guaranteed they had more playing experience than their head coach. We had a good season despite that. They learned to play as a team, developed fundamental skills and had fun. Well, most of the time they did.

During one game, a loose ball squirted out of the pack right at my son’s feet as he stood a couple of yards from the other team’s goal. He had a clean shot on goal for his first score of the season. He hesitated and in that moment a teammate swooped in for the goal. He was mad at the kid.

So before the next game I took my son aside and counseled him to act fast. If the ball comes anywhere close give it a swift kick and go. Don’t think, just follow your instinct, I told him. Without missing a beat, he said, “But Dad, my instinct is to think.”

I paused a second, said a few words of encouragement and the game went on. But I kept thinking back to that exchange on the sidelines. It made me realize just how much more the person being coached knows about a situation than the coach. And how much coaching isn’t about a skill being taught but about the capability being built.

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