*This overview can be found on the Athletic Coaching website – www.mattkushicoaching.com
As many know, in addition my other writings, I maintain an athletic coaching blog/manual that was started in my time at Hadley Park and Recreation. The purpose of this article is to share the lessons behind this blog and manual.
Education. Learning. We all experience it. But how and where does it occur? Early on in our lives, we tend to gravitate towards certain activities. We may not know why, but we take an interest in certain things. Some of these interests may be fleeting. Some of them may be life altering. We learn life lessons through them. The amazing this is that we tend not to realize when the latter occurs. We all learn these lessons from different places. We all witness these lessons take place in different settings. We all have a vessel in which we learn these lessons of life.
For me, that vessel was sports – the world of athletics. For much of my early years, I tended to identify as a student-athlete. Granted, looking back, that I was more student than athlete, I nonetheless used athletics as my vessel to learning some major life lessons. I learned about teamwork. I learned about success. I learned about hard work. I learned about failure. I learned about life. Of course, my parents were the ones who really taught me all of these lessons but sports helped demonstrate these things to me in real life context. You know what the funny thing was? I didn’t realize that I was learning. I was simply taking part in activities that I loved. That’s the power of learning. That’s what a vessel does, whether it be working on a farm, learning a trade, playing sports, joining the military or any other activity/vocation. It gives you an environment to witness the lessons that you are learning.
Though my life’s journey has taken me all over the map in terms of interest, sports will always be the place that I know I witnessed the lessons in action that my parents taught me. While my path was ultimately not defined as an athlete, it is defined by education and it is defined by being a continual student. At the intersection of education and athletics is coaching. I may not know everything, but I know enough – from observing and from my experiences – that I can help teach others what athletics can do for an individual and how to best achieve your goals both off the field and on the field. As a Youth Sports Instructor for Hadley Park and Recreation, I started this Athletic Coaching Manual that turned into my Athletic Coaching website.
While the lessons are the main content of the manual and blog, I would like to share my outline and notes on what those lessons are, as that overview is important as well and can teach those with open minds something special as well.
Introduction – About this manual
The Keys To Success – Having a positive, self-aware, team mentality; all of these are critical
Youth and Character Building – Develop passion and inspiration in youth. Learn the lessons of the game. Sports teaches you life lessons that are applied to all facets of your life.
Role of Athletics – Economic Builder, Character Builder, Identity Builder, Keeps people fit (mentally and physically)
Role Perspective and Development
History and Policy – How were the games formed and why. Why does Integrity of the Game matter so much?
Public Image – You are a representation of your community, team and self. Treat that with respect.
Opportunities That Athletics Give – Athletics can give you the ability to be part of a team; something larger than yourself. Gives you the ability to learn life lessons and build character. If good as an individual and as a teammate, can you give the opportunity to make a living and/or make something of yourself.
Physical Fitness and Education – Gives you the ability to make an impact on yourself. Gives you a platform to make a difference in others lives (personal and raising awareness) Keeps you physically fit and well physically and mentally.
The Different Sides of Sports: Business and Fun – Fun in Sports does not end as a youth. It continues however long you are involved. However, the dynamics do change. Must understand this and that there is a business side (Capital) and a fun side. Balance these. Never forget about either.
The Importance of Team – In most sports, no person is an island. A team can accomplish things that an individual can’t. Your team is your family and support system. Utilize them and be a good one back. Do your job and role.
Know Your Community – You represent more than you or your team. Your represent your community, school, town. Get to know your community and who they are so that you can proudly represent them.
Student of the Game – Education never stops. You can always learn and improve. In order to maximize your effectiveness yourself and your team, learn everything, no matter how small about your trade and game.
Transferable Development – Use what you have learned in other parts of your life. Being a good human is the most important asset of all.
A Successful Mentality
Success – Believe that you can accomplish tasks. Don’t be too arrogant but be confident. Study your trade and the game. Take care of the small things and that will lead to Success. Know that, with the proper preparation and skills, that on any given day, you or a team can be better than someone else and beat them.
Effort – Give it all that you have 100% of the time. There may be times for pacing but have a purpose for it.
Confidence –Believe in yourself and what you are doing. It will make it easier to do your job and focus. Know that, with the proper preparation and skills, that on any given day, you or a team can be better than someone else and beat them.
Communication – One of the most critical components of human interaction. To function for yourself and as a team, people must know what is going on.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions – No person knows everything. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from team.
Strategy and Pacing – Know your limits. Make sure that you can go the distance and still give 100% effort.
Importance and Flexibility of Fundamentals – Know your trade and how to do your job. Be flexible and open-minded to adjustments. Know yourself and the needs required.
What It Takes To Succeed – A winner’s attitude and dedication to the task at hand.
Self-Awareness: Know Yourself – Know what you are good at and what you are not good at. This helps with self-improvement and with your team trying accomplish a common goal.
Balance and Flexibility – Be open-minded. No one task should rule your life. Be well-balanced in life and sport.
Succeeding On The Field
Staying in Shape – An athlete must be in shape and able to do their job if they want to help. Helps in life and in sport.
Understand Your Team and Role – Self Awareness. Know what your team needs from you. Know what you can offer. Do your job. Offer suggestions on you can enhance team effort with your skills.
Understanding Strategy and Fundamentals – Understand the situation, the game and how to do your job.
Management – Understand the strategy of the game and of the people within it. Be firm but fair with people.
Importance of Practice – Practice helps train and improve athletes for when it counts. Don’t coast.
Know and Take Care of Your Equipment – View your equipment as your tools. You are not much without them. Take care of them as you take care of yourself and your teammates.
Game Plan: Have A Plan – Develop a strategic plan and know, how and why. Stick to it and adapt.
Know Your Tools – Know your equipment and how to best use them and why.
Athletic Position – Athletic position puts you in a mechanically ready position that enhances your ability for your body to do the task at hand athletically.
Technology – Use as a tool. Know how to use and what the balance is.
Adjustments – Know how to make adjustments and why. Adjusting while staying true to yourself, team and master plan are the key to the game.
Game Fundamentals – Know how to play and think about the game
Game Strategy – Know how to play and think about the game. Think of different strategies.
Game Techniques – Know how to play and think about the game. Know how to do your job.