Thursday, December 6, 2012

Coach or Being Coached

A new event has taken a part of our lives lately. It is going to wrestling matches and basketball games. We have three teenage grandsons in high school and middle school sports, so we are busy traveling the area to games and meets. This is another benefit of being grandparents (and retired to have the time to do it!).

As we were watching the wrestling match on Tuesday night, I couldn't help but notice the coach. I always said, "Being an instructional coach is just like being a coach of sports." This was very evident at this meet. I would watch the coach and think: "That is just what I do as a coach. Or at least I hope I do!" Here are a few things I learned.

Coach is seated second from left.
The coach observes what is happening. When I visit classrooms with the intent to coach the teacher, I sit back and watch. I take notes of things that I see...things I notice, questions I have and suggestions. Watching is hard. It takes practice to look for the right things and take note of them. The coach isn't there to evaluate in the sense of grading, but to see what support can be given.
"Make sure that team members know they are working with you, not for you." John Wooden

Coach is leaning over to player
The coach makes comments. When I work in a teacher's classroom, I might sit beside them as they conference a child. I sometimes stop the teacher in the middle of the conference and suggest a direction to take the child. If I do this, the teacher and student both realize I am there to coach the teacher. It is a wonderful thing for children to understand that we are always learning.
"The Coach does not play in the game, but the Coach helps the players identify areas to improve their game." Byron & Catherine Pulsifer, from What Does a Coach Do?
Immediately after player's competition
The coach encourages and suggests. Right after I have been in a classroom, I either take time with the teacher to talk over what I noticed, questions I have and suggestions as to where to go next or another approach. When we were at the wrestling match, we were so impressed with how this coach would walk up to the player coming off the mat, shake his hand and lead him to an area away from the attention of others. There he would stand and talk. Sometimes you would see him modeling examples of what to do. You would see him with his arm around the boy's shoulder. You would see the great degree of caring and support the coach had for the player. This is what a coach does!
"A good coach will make his players see what they can be rather than what they are." Ara Parasheghian

"The test of a good coach is that when they leave, others will carry on successfully." Author Unknown

No matter if you are a coach or the one being coached, it is the attitude you have that makes it successful.  One last quote:
"Coaching is a profession of love, You can't coach people unless you love them." Eddie Robinson
Ty, our grandson, competing

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