I have been wanting to write this column for years now. I have been lucky to work with some of the finest coaches in our sport and developed friendships with some of the world’s best coaches. This will be an ongoing column.
Coaches change lives. My coaches at DeSmet, Bellarmine, and Santa Clara, changed my life for the better. Ralph Passarelli, S.J., Jim Marheinecke, Rich Grawer, Jesse Ochoa, Fr. Ray Devlin, Steve Pensinger, Steve Polley, and Dan Duranta all helped me see the possibilities in our sport.
I was fortunate to work with some amazing coaches, Terry Wary at Bellarmine Prep, Dan Durante at Santa Clara University, Hank Ketels Peanut Harms, and Joe Mangan at Foothill College. While I was coaching at Santa Clara, Bill Dellinger and John Chaplin always answered my naive questions very thoughtfully, as did Brooks Johnson. I am forever in their debt and believe that those relationships have shaped my responses to the sport for the past fifty years.
- Go to Coaching Education clinics at least once a year. Coaches that I have met, new and old, young and not so young, told me that going to a Coaches Clinic each and every year. I used to go to one in August each year in California and one in Wisconsin in January each year. It is not just listening to great coaches but interacting with coaches that help you learn.
- Subscribe to Coaching Journals. Track Technique, some of the old ones, Athletics Weekly Coach, old copies of American Track & Field, and American Athletics all have great pieces that can be referred to when you need them.
- Follow YouTube Videos on Coaching. Check out the interview with great coaches and our #SocialingtheDistance on Sean Brosnan, Danny Mackey, Julie Culley, and Lance Brauman, among others.
- Get a Coaching Mentor. Find a coach you trust, check with him or her a couple of times a year, and ask questions. Learn about how to manage tough athletes, get through to challenging athletes, and deal with parents who are over-enthusiastic. All those things help make you a better coach.
- Learn something new every day. Stay open to new things. Listen to your athletes. Ask your athletes questions. Try and check out new things. Some of the most experienced coaches have told me that they try to stay open to new things each and every day.