Act two, scene one, front stage right

Well that was that, the trimmings were down, the cast was off and I had returned to my usual drive to our practice facility in preparation for our first session of the new year. I was somewhat excited at the prospect of returning to the ‘floor’ after such a long break, three-weeks is quite a long time to be away from a team, shared concepts, joined up thinking and just simply being. Time is a common point of debate within sport, time to practice, time together, time to rest! We are often debating the merits of year-round practice, high loads vs periodised loading. Sessions per week, hours per session! Time is such a commodity. I had spent some of this currency over the Christmas break revisiting my practice, reflecting on the what, how and why of my teaching. I wanted to be better, I needed to be better. I felt the stage was set, I was ready to reveal my August Wilson and command the respect of George Benard Shaw!! Act two here we come…

We had achieved a number of team goals over the first half of the season and I wanted our opening session of 2019 to be up-tempo, high energy and most importantly, meaningful. I wanted us to continue to strive to be the very best of who we were. In doing so, I had built up an image in my head, an elaborate scenery worthy of our three dimensional dance. I envisaged leadership, vocals, crisp movement, sharp cuts and purposeful drives at the basket. This would then be followed by the defending of ‘home’, guarding the ball with passion and pride, and filling the gaps at speed before recovering to individual assignments. I didn’t think  I was asking for much, I felt like coach, I arrived at practice wanting to be coach, yet I couldn’t get them to enact my play! Did this make me not coach? Or rather, was it that what I saw wasn’t what I had pictured. The question is, is there a difference? In my 9-5 job I was told that in order to be a good teacher we must enter the world of our students’ and be prepared to ‘sit a while’, enjoy the scenery and take in the culture in order to better understand it. As coach, I question my ability to do this. After all, practice wasn’t that bad, we revisited a number of concepts that we had agreed we would be good at. We directed, shared ideas and supported each other. And most importantly of all, we had a good time doing it. Did we get better? Did we learn anything? These are the questions that I must start asking and answering if I am to get better, or perhaps, more effective in my practice.

The drive home was an interesting debate between my various selves. Be more critical! A point I have made over and over again within my role as lecturer, however, had I taken this too far in my coaching practice? Was there any objectivity to my analysis of self? As a father, husband, coach, teacher and everything else that I hope to be good at, I often did not have the patients to wait. I would steam in and condemn anything that was not good about self! There must be some part of my practice that was effective? I wanted so to affect change, direct thinking, support greatness and offer a hand to those I come into contact with. In order to do this I must work harder, try for longer and continue to develop. My thoughts were all over the place, like an excited school child I battled to stay on one thought at a time. It was no good, I turned the music up and my thoughts down. Coach had exited right and I would revisit the production of an effective self another day.

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