Okay. I’m old. But I’m not old school.
I played my competitive sports in the 70s and 80s. That means I was coached by people who’d played their competitive sports in the 50s and 60s. And I’m guessing that not much had changed in those thirty or so years.
In the 80s, the majority of my junior football coaches thought it would ‘toughen us up’ if they withheld water from us until we’d sweated it out through the 50/40 drills at the end of our two-hour summer practices. These guys actually thought it was good coaching to put players in full-contact drills three days before a weekend game. They thought we could ‘shake off’ concussions. And we did what we were told to do, partially because we were dumb kids, and partially because we’d been taught to respect our elders and all that.
They were (mostly) pretty smart people and they all loved the game they were coaching. They had college degrees and had played pro ball and had moved on to solid business careers. But when I look back at their approach to coaching from a vantage point nearly forty years into the future, it’s hard not to wonder what the hell they were thinking. Or what I was thinking.
But as recently as the late-2000s, one of my kid’s coaches thought it would be a good idea to withhold water from his young hockey players during practices. When I pointed out the proven physiological danger in that approach, he relented. But why did he adopt that policy in the first place?
He was coaching the same way he’d been coached. And that’s always struck me as a weird thing to do. Basically, if I coach the way I was coached, and my coaches coached me the way they’d been coached, and so on, and so on, then I’m coaching like someone from the 1800s. Yeah. That’s weird.
We work with next-level coaches.
There’s just a ton of coaching knowledge available today, a ton of science to support various innovations in thinking and approach, from technique to strategy to physiology to psychology. There are a ton of resources and tools to help with coaching. And that’s all making coaches smarter and more effective than ever.
We often get emails and calls from coaches who tell us they’ve been looking for a smarter way to communicate with their players and parents, who’ve been trying to collect meaningful data for their kids using spreadsheets or who want to provide benchmarking metrics but can’t invest in costly digital timing gear. They’re looking to bring new thinking and ideas to the sports they love, and we’re thrilled to become part of their coaching toolkits, thrilled to help them take coaching to the next level.
Old school? Okay. It’s a pretty funny movie. Maybe let’s leave it there.
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