Since the time I was old enough to write my dad always encouraged me to keep a journal. As a reluctant child that didn’t quite enjoy reading or writing, my journals were often filled with “Today, I woke up and did…” capped off with the usual “I had a good day.” Not the deepest introspection coming from a child, and I have to admit those entries looked pretty similar until I was a teenager, and there after the entries just stopped all together. Although the journal came to a stop, the life lesson remained, and form that time I realized the epic importance of recording, note taking, observation, and reflection. The notion of collecting everyday information whether it be trial or highly focused became something that would help me success at all levels of playing, coaching, and in business.
So, what does this have to do with Coaching?
Surely, we can relate to this as coaches. From the wonderfully constructed and perfectly executed training sessions, to the poorly managed and trivial practices we’ve “facilitated”, yes we’ve all done it… I am sure I am not the only one that wishes we could recall the times that we’ve really learned something. Imagine how much coaching material, experiences, stories and coaching points you would have if you only wrote them down when they occurred?
Since I started coaching when I was 17 years old, I had this lingering voice in my head that the coaching sessions I was producing and the experiences with players, parents, other coaching and fans, should be some how documented for future use. At the time I wasn’t sure how or when I would be able to use these so called “memories” or “recollections”, but now I know they are worth whole lot when addressing players, parents, and my own thoughts.
So, a couple things I took away from this life lesson of my father persistently telling me to write a diary, and that I now cherish and absolutely need as a young professional:
- You learn from success and mistakes, so write the down.
- You’re going to have great ideas, so write them down.
- You won’t need it now, but you sure will later on, so write them down
- You won’t remember everything, so write them down.
Most of all, writing experience will mentally document them far more efficiently that just saying I will remember something. It reinforces and mentally ingrains thoughts and feeling into our memories for later use.
- Keep it simple, so its easy to do
- Jot simple facts as to Why it worked and why it didn’t
- Any idea that comes to mind in that situation
So, if you are a true student of the game, student of your players and parents, and a developing coach or parent, keep a tab on your thoughts and activities. You’ll be surprise when you’ll need to refer to them later and you’ll certainly be surprised the great ideas that will grow from a simple note.