A Radical Thought

[Article 1 of NSCAA 2015 Series]
At the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Convention this year I spent some time with about 500 coaches discussing how we go about “Training and Empowering Team Leaders”. This series of articles on my blog will walk you through my presentation and unpack even more how we can be intentional about this topic.

I need to set the stage a bit before getting into specifics about training and empowering team leaders. I want to start by sharing two thoughts that could radically change the way you approach your job.


Pat Summit – Tennessee Women’s Basketball

First, you are NOT in the soccer business. I know this comes as a surprise. Honestly, you are in the PEOPLE business. It would be fantastic if we could say the 4-3-3 or the passing pattern we did last week at practice brought us the wins. All the strategies in the world will not move you past this mere fact…you win with PEOPLE. I saw an interview with Pat Summit, the legendary women’s basketball coach at Tennessee, and when she said “you win with people” it changed everything in my coaching career. The best soccer strategy out there cannot win a match if 11 people out on the pitch are not all on the same page, trusting each other, working hard for each other, dealing with their ‘self’ issues, focusing on the team definition of success.

Each player comes to you with their own emotions, perceptions, assumptions, backgrounds, upbringing, childhood experiences that shaped the way they live, etc.

This list could go on and on. As a coach my job is to get all of these unique individuals to believe in each other, perform consistently at a high level and pursue the team’s vision of success. This is not easy. Because it’s not easy, coaches sometimes rely too much on the soccer strategy when in reality, if we just looked at our players as people, we might be given hints as to how to get the wins and get to the next level.

When you look at your players, do you see SOCCER PLAYERS or PEOPLE? I challenge you to see your players first as PEOPLE and consider how you can influence them on a personal level and also on a collective level. Intentional focus on the “intangibles” will be worth it. I promise.

Next Article: Another radical thought that could change the way you approach your job

© 2015 Donna Fishter Consulting, LLC

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