By Wayne Goldsmith
Creativity – along with the ability to inspire change through emotional connection – is a coach’s most powerful tool.
Now that coaches all over the world can get anything anywhere anytime and usually for free on their handheld devices – just being able to access knowledge and information does not make a mediocre coach – a good coach.
Knowledge is NOT power.
For centuries people have believed that knowledge is power.
Not any more.
Things only have value when they’re hard to get.
Diamonds and rare gems are highly valuable because they’re rare. If everyone – all over the world had a bag of rubies, diamonds and emeralds in their wardrobes, the gems would be worth nothing.
It’s the same thing in sport. Now that coaches, athletes, parents, sports administrators and the general public can access the same information – anywhere, anytime – knowledge by itself is worthless.
There are NO SECRETS.
There are no secrets in sport. There are no more secret sets or special practice sessions that you and you alone know. Everyone knows what you know.
This is one of the greatest challenges coaches in competitive sport face all over the world.
“If there are no secrets……and if everyone knows what I know….how do I gain and retain a competitive advantage over my competition and provide my athletes with the best possible environment and opportunity to realise their full potential”.
Creativity is King! Copying Kills!
Creative Coaches: The Way Forward.
So how do you become a creative coach?
Start with looking backwards, i.e. where did you learn what you know now?
Chances are you were taught by coaches from within your sport who were themselves taught by coaches from within your sport who were also taught by coaches from within your sport.
Whilst every sport has a rich heritage and tradition of positive and constructive coaching techniques that have been proven to work – and decades of habits and routines that have served the sport well in the past – often it is these very traditions that are holding the sport back.
One of the greatest barriers to creative thinking is “that’s the way we do it here” – a state of mind which exists in all sports where coaches believe that the solutions to the performance problems they face must be found within their own sport – and often in the past successes of their sport.
However – increasingly – the last place you’ll find a winning edge or a competitive advantage is within the blogs, websites, manuals, textbooks and social media portals of your own sport.
The way forward is to the think broader – imagine bigger – dream larger and seek inspiration in places no one else thinks of looking.
A simple and practical way to start becoming one of the Creative Coaches is to think “ELGOOG” – GOOGLE backwards.
Far too many people believe that by searching Google for ideas they are being creative.
In fact it’s the opposite.
If you’re a football coach and you Google “football drills for young players” you are merely searching for – and likely to find football drills for young players that everyone in football – including the coaches who are coaching in your competition – have already accessed.
Google is an amazing tool for creative coaches. But use it creatively…either use it AFTER you’ve worked through a creative process or search for ideas, information and inspiration in other sports – and other industries.
Creative Coaches – Where are You?
Think about the great coaches in your sport. Maybe you’ve met them. Or you were coached by them. Or perhaps you’ve read something they’ve written.
What is it that made them so special?
Was it that they said and did things everyone else was doing?
Do you admire them because they were like everyone else in your sport?
Do you follow their work because they are exactly like everyone you’ve ever met?
The essence of greatness in every walk of life – in every field of endeavour – at every stage in history – is uniqueness.
We value and prize those people who dare to be different and who take the lead in introducing new ideas, new techniques, new methods and new directions.
The question is – why aren’t you one of them?
A lack of ability? No.
A lack of time? Unlikely.
A lack of creative coaching capacity? Not these days.
The only thing holding you back is your commitment to and connection with the “old ways” – to the habits and traditions in your sport that do not work and to the things that you do for no reason other than you – and the coaches who’ve come before you – have always done.