Tag: football life

Coaching is a Business

Coaching is a Business

coaching is a business

This is the time of year when coaches are shifting jobs. Some of those changes are by choice, but many other coaches are unemployed and looking for work because they have learned one of the hardest lessons in coaching. Regardless of how nice the administration is, or how well you get along with your boss, when push comes to shove, coaching is a business.

Whether you coach in secular or private settings there almost always comes a point where you realize that coaching is a business even when you want it to view your work through the lens of ministry.

There’s no way to prepare for the “you’re fired” conversation even when you expect it because rarely do people handle these things well. Rather than look you in the eye and say hey, I’m sorry but we have to go another way they will feel guilty and start to make up excuses and pretend they aren’t the ones making the decision. Or worse, they aren’t courageous enough to have a conversation themselves and the decision-maker actually has someone else deliver the bad news.

Regardless of who tells you that you no longer have health insurance and a salary or why they are likely to leave you feeling as if you’ve been sucker-punched. Colleges have to balance their budgets and the reality is that donors are more likely to give to winning programs and kids are more likely to stick around when they have a chance to play for winning programs as well.

When administrators aren’t willing to trust the recruiting efforts of the coaching staff or if the coaching staff can’t recruit the right players it doesn’t matter how well everyone gets along. Coaching is a business.

Even when things are moving in the right direction it’s possible an administrator, trustee or alum will decide that it’s time to go in a different direction. This feels especially unfair because the coach usually knows the next coach will reap the benefits of their hard work. Regardless, coaching is a business.

At the high school level, things vary depending on whether a teacher has tenure and if they are in the public or private school system. But coaches rarely want to stick around if they aren’t going to coach and teach. Occasionally they will find themselves stuck in that they are so far along years or steps moving would mean a significant pay cut. As it has been explained to me, this can cause a coach to step out of coaching for a few years until they can lock in retirement and then they may start over someplace else. It’s also why so many coaching families are two-income households.

It’s also important to remember that your favorite player’s parents are also going to quickly complain when their kids don’t earn starting positions. Parent’s aren’t above exaggerating to get their way. Where do you think their kids learn that strategy? If we learned anything from Operation Varsity Blues it’s that many parents believe their child is the exception to the rules.

While we can always hope that administrators will believe a coaching staff before a parent, the reality is that it’s not always the case. It’s especially helpful to have a parent to blame when they are looking for an excuse to part ways. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ever be friendly with parents, but just like co-workers, it’s important to remember that when you are competing for a promotion some people will choose themselves over the truth when they want something bad enough.

Don’t Limit Yourself

After you’ve been burned in the coaching business the instinct for many is to put up a wall of protection, but in truth, doing so limits your experience. There are so many amazing friendships that happen on a coaching staff when you let yourself get to know each other. But just like any other job, there are limits. It’s important to have boundaries and to understand that ultimately, at the end of the day, every coach must do their job to the best of their ability. Even when they do, sometimes leaders will make bad decisions and in the business world, that means the low man on the pay scale often gets the raw end of the deal.

When things feel unfair it’s easy to second guess your previous convictions. We’re you supposed to take that job in the first place? Should you have accepted that other job offer that came along rather than staying put? It’s hard when things don’t feel good or make sense to remember that God is still present. In those moments where you’re tempted to second guess your previous decisions remember that obedience often requires sacrifice. God knows that we can get ahead of ourselves even when we don’t know the end of the story so because he is merciful he often only tells us what we need to know so we can focus on the tasks ahead.

It’s so much easier to obey God and step into our calling when we know that our goal is to advance the kingdom by serving the people in front of us rather than being paralyzed by the fear of an impending bad ending. The Bible is filled with stories of people who God called to do incredibly hard things. Ruth, Esther, Joseph, Abraham, David, and Joshua are just a few who stepped into their calling without knowing the ending. Their obedience impacted generations and so does yours even when your ending in one location doesn’t come to a close the way you prefer.

Obedience
Post-Season Musings

Post-Season Musings

Football and Family

January post-season here in Central Illinois is fairly routine. The rules allow for lifting but not much else, so there isn’t much to do after school or on the weekends other than monitoring the weight room. This provides a lot of routine for our boys which is something they haven’t had for extended periods of time prior to this move. 

This still doesn’t mean that he is home as much as many assume. When Ordell coached college football many thought that after the season he hung out at home for a few months until practice started and basically worked four months a year.

Now that he’s teaching and coaching at the high school level the question many start with is “Is he a teacher or a resource person? Or does he do something else?” I’m grateful that at the very least there is an understanding high school coaches work for pennies so my husband must have an additional career or job of some sort.

However, the conversation that follows is a lengthy one:

  • He’s a strength coach?
  • Well, how does he know about that?
  • Shouldn’t he be at the college level?
  • Wait he WAS?
  • Well, doesn’t he want to go back to working fewer hours?
  • How are you handling the pay cut? 

Besides the fact that some of these are not appropriate questions (Hint, Hint) it’s hard to explain things without giving more information than I’d ever ask in return. Regardless, let’s just say fewer hours doesn’t always equal less pay.

Fewer hours away from the family, less stress, a better environment for multiple factors, plus the hope of retiring for the first time ever. Life is good and the icing on the cake is that in the most important years of our sons’ lives when they need their dad around to ask questions of, talk about things with, and go do things with, he is around. 

Preparation Never Ends

Just because the team isn’t meeting doesn’t mean coaches stop thinking about next season. There is always film to watch, playbook edits to make, and practice planning to script.

Fundraising is also a year-round effort for many programs. This year we have the most amazing team on our booster board and we are so incredibly thankful for all their hard work. But it takes a lot of time and coordination. Since things aren’t mandatory during the post-season and many players are participating in other sports it’s hard to know who will be around to help with a specific event. Regardless, these times fundraising is important because it means there is less to do during the season.

Intentional Choices

With schedule limitations during the season our dates are fairly route as are our commitments. The post-season allows us to expand the things we explore. Whether that is a weekend away or joining a small group at church for a little while it’s nice to have the freedom to flex our schedule. 

I know there are many people who find themselves counting down the days until practices start up again. As much as we consider ourselves a football family, we also embrace the post-season. We know practice will start up soon enough. In the meantime, we will take each day as it is and enjoy our time together.

Dear Seniors

Dear Seniors

I’m writing over at Friday Night Wives today. Here’s a preview:

Dear Seniors,

Can you believe your last season on our team is over? It’s hard to put into words all the emotions of that last game, that last time stepping onto the field or court as a player for your school. Regardless of this year’s record, we both know it doesn’t reflect how hard you’ve worked the last four years. It’s impossible for two numbers with a dash in between to even attempt to reveal all the time, physical pain, exhaustion, frustration, excitement, exhilaration, and commitment of your athletic career.

When all is said and done, wins and losses are not what define a team. And while I trust you will remember some stats from your time here and the energy of game day, I want you to remember more from your time with us.

Seniors, here’s what I really want you to remember:

You will find yourself in team situations for the rest of your life. The camaraderie you share with your teammates is important. There is a brotherhood on a sports team that is like no other, but that way you treat a good teammate translates well to how you interact with co-workers and family members.

Read the rest here.

Football a Family Service

Football a Family Service

 

 

We arrived early to our last football game. At the parent’s request, I was tasked with taking Senior Day Family pictures. I wanted to make sure we were set up well and was busy figuring out the where to stand to get the best angle.

I had sent the boys to grab dinner from the concession stand when Ordell informed me the boys would need to spend the entire game on the sidelines this week. After helping out the second half of the last game he was more confident than I that our boys (currently 5th and 7th graders) would be able to handle hydrating our team for the entire game. Since I was going to be on the sidelines taking pictures for the entire game I would be able to monitor them as well.

High school football players have a bit more of a relaxed attitude about the sideline, which can be great, or it can be a negative for younger ears. I was nervous for what they may hear or see but there was nothing more to be done.

I will summarize the evening by saying I’m sure a decisive win helped with positive attitudes and kind hearts towards my sons, but I have been on the sideline for many games this season and this week the air was different.

As our boys filled water bottles, filled cups and attended to those on the sideline as well as those on the field the players displayed a new level of patience I have not seen before. They didn’t grow frustrated when a timeout was called and water was not immediately there. They took turns hydrating and even went so far as to place the water bottle back in the carrier instead of simply tossing it to the ground.

Our team seemed acutely aware that the coach’s sons did not need to serve them in this manner. They seemed to understand that it was a privilege to have the responsibility of hydrating each other lifted from them for the evening and although gratitude is probably taking it too far, this team seemed to begin to understand how important they are to our family.

For eight years through high school and college, I volunteered as a student athletic trainer. Every weekend through Football, Soccer, Wrestling, Basketball, and Baseball I filled water bottles. I traveled with teams and I learned to love people in a different way. Years ago I began to plant the seeds of the importance of serving our teams in this small but important way. I never dreamed this result would occur, but I’m so thankful I was able to witness it unfold!

Our boys learning to fill water bottles in 2011

My heart could not stop from swelling as I watched my sons work as a team the two of them dividing responsibilities up as well as working efficiently. As I smiled and snapped the occasional picture I heard God speak to my heart in a new way.

This is what delight feels like, Beth, and the small amount you delight in your children right now barely compares to the way I delight in you and them each day.

I’m still participating in Write 31 Days!

 

How the Enneagram is Helping Me Be A Better Coach’s Wife

How the Enneagram is Helping Me Be A Better Coach’s Wife

How-the-Enneagram-is-Helping-Me-Be-A-Better-Coach’s-Wife

Years ago, when I was working as a health coach, one of my clients requested to know my Enneagram number. I love personality tests, so I was happy to take a free test without doing much research about the personality assessment beforehand.  Whether for work, ministry applications, or premarital counseling, I’ve had to take almost every commonly known personality test available including:

  • Strengths Finder
  • Love Languages
  • Spiritual Gifts
  • DISC
  • Myers Brigg

For me, the Enneagram was different than all the other personality tests. “Each of the nine Enneagram personality profiles has a distinct, well-developed coping strategy for relating to self, others and the environment.” While the other tests point out parts of a personality, the Enneagram opened my eyes to both conscious and unconscious reactions and behavior patterns. 

One warning: the extensive nature of the Enneagram teaches us so much about ourselves that it’s sometimes tempting to identify too much with your Enneagram number. Beth McCord refers to this as using the Enneagram as a shield or sword.

If you find yourself excusing behavior by saying we’ll that’s who I am because I’m an (insert Enneagram number), you’re using it as a shield. If you box someone in by cutting them down, telling them they are only the negative aspects of their number, or need to be more aware of their number, we’re using the Enneagram as a sword. Neither application is appropriate. The whole point of this tool is to grow through self-awareness, not to stay stagnant within an unhealthy stance.

The Enneagram is Different than a Personality Test

Summarizing, Ian Cron, author of The Road Back to You, The Enneagram is an ancient personality type system with an uncanny accuracy in describing how God has wired human beings both positively and negatively. By challenging us to explore who we are, the Enneagram helps us recognize and overcome self-defeating patterns of behavior and to become our most authentic selves.

Bravely exploring how God has created us requires much more work than many realize. Part of that exploration requires us to consider and identify our weaknesses as well as how we come across negatively to other people. Additionally, according to the Enneagram Institute, the tool can accommodate more than 486 variations of the types when considering subtypes and wings. 

One of the challenging things about the Enneagram is that to understand an individual accurately; it’s necessary to perceive where the person lies along the continuum of Levels of his or her type at a given time. In other words, one must assess whether a person is in their healthy, average, or unhealthy range of functioning. This is important because, for example, two people of the same personality type and wing will differ significantly if one is healthy and the other unhealthy. (In relationships and the business world, understanding this distinction is crucial.)”

For me, the Enneagram has helped me identify responses and thought patterns (both healthy and unhealthy). I have a greater understanding of how these are coping mechanisms.

Why has this been so helpful? Because a coping mechanism develops from a trigger. There has to be something to cope with, so when you identify the responses that are “unhealthy,” or in other words, the natural reactions to a situation when in an unbalanced state, you can stop them before or at the beginning of a negative cycle. For example, instead of picking a fight with my husband when I know he’s already tired, I can walk away and discuss whatever we need to deal with at a later, calmer time.

Several different websites offer free tests. When I  first took the tests, I consistently tested as a Type 2 (Helper) with a wing 3 (Achiever), and sometimes a 7 (Enthusiast). I’ve since learned I’m an 8 Counter Subtype.

Mistyping is Common with the Enneagram

When I first took the tests, I read the descriptions and considered my current state and typed myself as a 2 wing 3 because it fit. Both the healthy and unhealthy stances fit well enough. But what I didn’t know is that the Enneagram descriptions I read didn’t do a very good job of actually distinguishing the differences in the numbers. One of my strengths on the Strengths Finder is Input, so I started to listen to podcasts about the Enneagram, and occasionally I would read an article. I was spending so much time traveling for work that podcasts were the majority of my education.

I noticed that when female Type 8’s spoke such as Jo Saxton Being Judged Before You Are Known and Nida Bolz-Weber Find Power in Vulnerability, their words resonated distinctly with me. Interestingly, I’ve come to learn that it’s common for 2’s and 8’s to misidentify. Particularly in conservative church settings because Spiritual Gifts such as teaching or administration are directed to secondary roles where women are allowed to serve.

One of the other reasons that 2’s and 8’s mistype each other is because when 8’s are healthy, they draw the positive traits of 2’s. The Solidarity Subtype (Countertype) for the 8 also reflects the 2.

SUBTYPE KEY: SOLIDARITY (COUNTERTYPE)

The Social Eight countertype uses their power and influence in the service of others, making them appear Two-ish in their drive to support others rather than asserting their own needs. Sensitive to injustice and unfair social norms, they are loyal and protective and shield ‘their people’ from harm, unjust authority or abuse of power. Even though they prefer not to be too vulnerable, they invite and appreciate tough feedback from close allies.

Enneagram 2’s take the unhealthy traits of the 8 when they are stressed and reach toward 4’s in health. And that was ultimately the distinction that clarified things when I started to understand the depths of the Enneagram tool.

Fears, Motivations, Desires

Enough people mentioned they thought I was a Type 8 that I started to explore the number. That led me to reach out to an Enneagram coach. Megan pointed out that I needed to consider my fears, motivations, and desires when looking at my Enneagram number.

That was where distinctions started to stand out:

A Tool for Self-Reflection

An essential part application of the Enneagram is the opportunity for self-reflection. As we strive to live our healthiest mental, emotional, and physical life, we glorify God. When I’m in my healthiest stance, I’m able to serve my family, my clients at work, and those that God places in my path to the best of my ability. There are a calmness and peace present when you know you’re using your strengths, talents, and gifts to reflect Christ’s love to the best of your ability. For me, this ushers in confidence that allows me to relax more and let the day’s events go by.

Every day in coaching is different, and there are many days when life is hard. Rather than jumping in and fighting against a situation, I can stand back and pray when I’m aware of my best and worst tendencies and how they impact other people.

Communicating How My Husband Will Hear Me

Beth McCord writes, “When used correctly, the Enneagram, as we explain in Becoming Us, is designed to help you focus on what’s most important: your relationship with God, yourself, and each other.

My favorite Enneagram book is The Path Between Us. Suzanne Stabile spends the bulk of the book discussing how each number interacts and responds to the other numbers on the Enneagram chart.

For me, the most important number to know right now besides mine is my husband’s number. Knowing the details of how my husband responds in stress, and how our two numbers relate to each other allows us to address conflicts and miscommunications in ways that we both understand and feel heard.

Ultimately, the goal is to always work as a team, and that’s best accomplished when we understand the team dynamics. The Enneagram is the best tool I’ve found to help identify healthy and unhealthy individual and team dynamics.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on August 17, 2017 and has been updated with fresh content.

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