Monday, September 3, 2012

Reflecting at the end of a season

Players win and coaches lose.  It's that simple.

When I heard former Montreal Expos manager Felipe Alou say that in an interview 20 years ago, it stuck like glue.

Your final assessment of how a season went does not always boil down to wins and losses, but you have to take an honest look at how you did in terms of being a coach.  You have to look at the failing moments and see where you could have done better.  Blaming the players is not an option.  That's what Alou's statement meant to me.

My stronger coaching mentors also had the same approach.

At the end of summer 2012, I will find myself at 2 extremes.  My U13 boys team will finish last and my U17 boys team may finish first.  Reflecting after both seasons have ended will be educational for me and, I hope, formative in my approaches in 2013.

Every year I ask myself the same sort of questions:
  • Do I enjoy coaching this team?
  • Am I the right coach for this group of players?
  • Did I present the information in a way they were able to learn from me?
  • Did they improve as individuals and as a team?
  • Did the players enjoy themselves?  Do they still want to play soccer next year?
  • Are they motivated to play with me as the head coach? 
  • How was attendance?
  • Do I still have something to teach them?
  • Is my voice becoming background noise?Are they still listening?
  • Can I conduct an honest and open tryout after spending an entire season with the same group of players?
  • Do the parents trust me to continue coaching their children?
My personal belief is that when you feel you are above self-analysis and honest reflection, you're finished.   To assume you are the right person for the job without evaluating yourself says that you are not willing to subject yourself to the same scrutiny as your players.

Reflecting does not mean you look for a reason to quit.  It tells you where you need to make adjustments to your delivery and to make sure your players are getting the very best you have to offer.  The end result might be that you remove yourself from that situation, but that's not the intention.

I will share my personal reflections for each team when the seasons end.

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