06 Feb How to become a better coach?
“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”
I often meet coaches who ask me:
“Why should I go to that course”?
“Why should I go to that conference, if I already know what they say”?
I often meet coaches who tell me:
“I already heard that guy speaking…!”
“I don’t want to spend money for that!”
I don’t want to say that they are wrong, theat they are right neither.
I just want to introduce another point of view, the one who is giving the course.
The big challenge for a Lecturer is to have “impact” on people.
And the big question is: what does it mean to have “an” impact on people?
Does a Lecturer impact on people by transferring knowledge only?
Or he has an impact on them because he imposes his personality or his presence?
Should he make attendees dependent on him?
Having an impact on people means to understand others’ needs and try to meet them.
It is most of the times impossible to do it because of the limited time. You should personally know each and everyone of them.
If 60 people are in the room, you can make the effort to learn by heart their names, but you can hardly understand why they are there.
This should be the reason why you are a lecturer: to understand your task, you should listen to others.
Very difficult job.
To have an impact on people means to undress your clothes of Lecturer and become you yourself the Student.
So, the real challenge is: how can I do to make these people think different, act different when they go home?
What would I listen to if I were them?
Great Lecturers can influence people’s behaviors, they can convert theory into practice.
Courses often don’t meet these criteria because they are not built for this.
The sense of frustration that coaches have toward their education is just a consequence of this framework.
Studies say that people get the idea of the subject through front courses, they mostly learn through the imitation of other more experienced coaches they have the opportunity to work with.
The “learning by doing approach” makes the difference still.
I often go on the internet and have a mixed impression and feelings about all the stuff you can watch, download or buy on the platforms and website stalking about tennis.
First of all, there are a lot of guys offering something about tennis, which is very good. Some of them are absolutely super, others less good in quality, but the same things can be said when we attend courses, don’t you?
The big problem of all material published on the internet is not content related, but the overload of not discriminated info made available to everybody.
Well, it is too much of everything and above all it is not digested.
Business is business, you will say, and this is a commercial law everybody has to respect.
But subscribing to that we underrate the customer’s position.
The coach has to deliver a service, he needs to be educated for that. He has to show relational skills, technical and tactical skills, but above all has to know about the first law of commerce that is called “value”.
What is the customer looking for?
What is his goal with tennis, when HE plays tennis?
Why is he playing tennis with you and not with another guy?
Why is he coming here at your club and not to another one?
What does he want from you?
Do you check the customer satisfaction regularly and in a measurable way?
What the customer take home as an echange for what he did with you on-court?
What does he take home that you cant expand off-court, with what we can define as “sense of community”?
We can continue forever.
If your customer knew that you ignore all that he wouldn’t be happy.
This exchange service-for-money is always underestimated by the coaches who still think that people pay their services because they play the ball, they hit the ball with them.
One of the worst things that can happen in this pay-per-play deal is that there is no learning process involved.
Ok, let us be honest.
Everybody is free to think, ask or say whatever and this is not the place to argue with these people.
I go to conferences since almost 20 years and still have fun.
The big change that occurred in me many years ago is called “approach”.
Believe me, the approch makes it all.
The word approach is used in tennis as well and prefigures a tactical transition ability moving a player from one tactical phase to another more offensive one.
I like all conferences. It never happened that I came back home from one of these with a mixed feeling, telling myself: “this was my last time here”.
20 years ago I was completely different than today. I went to conferences because I wanted to know more, I was on-court and somehow improvised what I was doing.
I went to conferences because I wanted to hide my lack of experience and tried to go back home with a full bag of tricks.
When I look at things from today’s perspective I realize that is not knowledge inspiring me right now, it is wisdom instead.
Knowledge is a glass and you can see half-full or half-empty.
The problem with knowledge is that the glass is always half-empty.
So, if you think to go to conferences to expand your knowledge, stay home.
You pay for what happens later on, for your trials.
If you decide to go to these events, it is not to play the smart guy with your next customer’s lesson, you are willing to pay in order to make more mistakes and be able to control them.
There was a time then where I approached conferences to know people.
I remember the first times when I went to international events and I knew nobody. My English was average (to be read: bad) and the communication looked somehow poor and basic.
There are so many people attending every conference.
I look forward to every conference because I smile to the people I already know and I smile above all to the people I don’t know.
There was a big change in me, I can say.
I go to conferences now for that 1% that I don’t know, of course.
Be sure it is just metaforical, just to say that I don’t go to these events hungry of new things, but for the power these events have on me, for the power of having an impact on me.
I like lecturers when they say things that I already know, but they say it with different words, in a different way.
I love it.
I like lecturers when they make me reflect on things whose existance I completely neglected.
I like lecturers when they make me approach on things on a different way, when they make my brain work to process things differently.
So, I don’t pay for conferences, to make my brain full, anymore.
I pay people to make my brain work simpler.