Are you coaching beyond your comfort zone? Be honest. You want more than anything to always deliver your best that you end up coaching the topics you know by heart. You use the sessions, the exercises, and the games that are comfortable.
It’s perfectly okay to do that. We should be willing to give our best to our players. But…that also means getting outside our own comfort zone to help them improve.
We frequently beseech our players to “get uncomfortable”. To try new things and be willing to fail. We preach on the value of taking risks and doing the “hard things”, but we then model the antithesis of risk. We stay safe when we coach in order to put our best foot forward.
What if our best foot was found outside our comfort zone? What if, by choosing the hard things, desiring to stretch our abilities for their sake, we bring out our own best?
Players need us to model what it means to risk. They need to see us stretching our own boundaries. They can’t trust us if we aren’t willing to practice what we preach. They don’t know the way if we don’t light the path.
Speaking of light, it’s quite possible that permanent improvement can be found in that scary dark place just beyond the flood light of our comfort zone. If we are willing to step outside of our comfort zone and coach just beyond the boundary of the light we may better understand growth. We get better as coaches alongside our players in a shared journey of the everlasting ascent to excellence.
We are not just guides, we become active participants carrying the torch that shines the light further out into that scary unknown of “development”. And our players run headlong into “discomfort” because we are the beacon beyond the floodlight of the safe space.
To step outside the floodlight, and thus teach our players how to “get uncomfortable” to improve, try these ideas:
Teach sessions on topics not in your “wheelhouse”. I was a goal scorer. Of course, my favorite sessions are about attacking. I might want to start teaching some defense and get waaaay outside my comfort.
Try new and untested sessions. Even if they are in your wheelhouse, an unknown session can be scary. Be willing to tell them you are trying new material and run with it. They will see your willingness to risk.
Make up your own exercises from scratch. Yes, the interwebs are filled with a plethora of soccer “drills” but wouldn’t it be great if you created something of your own. Again, let your players know this is your creation so they know you are willing to get uncomfortable with them.
Seek their input. Let your players choose the session, the topic, the games. Ask them what they want and be willing to run with it.
Seek feedback. This is the scariest of all. Like a monster hiding in your closet. No one wants to open that door for fear of the terror within…goodness, what if the feedback is not positive?! Isn’t that what “growth” is. You expect them to seek feedback. Be willing to seek it as well.