Here’s something to really think about from a development perspective. It comes from a job in the training group.
How do I get out of my comfort zone as a coach? How do I work to be comfortable with being uncomfortable?
It seems to me that there is an inherent contradiction in the second part. If you feel uncomfortable, are you really uncomfortable? I know I know. It’s about being able to accept occasional uneasiness. Just a little pedantry. 🙂
Anyway… so how do you step out of their comfort zone as a coach? It’s something we urge our players to do, but if we really want to improve in our training we need to do it ourselves as well. How does that look, though?
Train something you don’t have a lot of training experience
Basically, getting out of your comfort zone means doing something you don’t have much experience with or don’t feel like you’re doing well. The easiest way to do this is to choose something you don’t usually focus on and train it. For example, I grew up as an assistant coach in college with a personal focus on preparing and working for head coaches with a strong defensive coaching mindset. As a result, preparation and defense have long been in my comfort zone. Ban is an entirely different story.
When I became the head coach at the University of Exeter, and especially when I was training in Sweden, I was basically the only coach. I had to train blocking because there was no one else to do it. Being in this kind of situation definitely encourages development!
So one way to train something outside of your comfort zone is to be a solo coach – or a small team work -. Alternatively, as an assistant you can ask to take on a different command as part of the staff responsibilities department.
Talk to more experienced coaches
Another way to get out of your comfort zone is to talk with coaches who are more experienced and/or knowledgeable than you. I’m not talking about going to the clinic or watching things on video or reading books. I mean talk to them actively. And not just ask questions. You actually have to share your point of view. Exposure is what makes you feel uncomfortable. You should be willing to confront someone who tells you that you are wrong or disagrees with you in some way.
Don’t play it safe. You will gain nothing in this scenario by following the old adage “It is better to remain calm and think foolishly than open your mouth and remove any doubt.”
Watch yourself on the video or ask someone else to rate you.
A really quick way to get uncomfortable is to watch yourself practice on video. More so if you are with someone else! If you really want to feel uncomfortable, have someone evaluate your training. It can be especially valuable if they have a different coaching philosophy than yours, as it will push you to think about everything and defend your point of view.
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