Today I am reflecting on what it means to be a coach. Taking the time to coach kids is something that we all should do at some level. There is a huge lack of coaches out there who are willing to work with the youth of today (without getting paid!) and that is a tragedy. Normally I would stress the rewards of helping the young and what an important thing it is to do, but today I am going to talk about what coaching does for a coach's own skill level.
I work with a junior girls development basketball program called Junior Cascades (www.juniorcascades.ca). I have worked, in some capacity, with this program for 7 years and I can honestly say I love the feeling of giving back and helping kids learn new skills. Yesterday, however, it really dawned on me how much coaching was also helping me.
This philosophy is based on the premise that to get better at something, try teaching it to someone else! When you have to break down a skill that you have taken for granted, it helps you better understand what you are doing and how you can do it better. It is one thing to do an inside-out crossover but quite another to break it down segment by segment to somebody who has no idea how to do it.
This principle works with every skill in every field. Last weekend I ran an Innovative Fitness orientation with training coach candidates and, as I talked about the basics of personal training and the core of our business, I realized that it was helping me understand it better myself. Almost 10 years in the industry and 2 years of running an IF franchise and I am still learning new things about the simple basics of what I do!
When you feel you have reached a high level of a skill, it is time to break it down to the nuts and bolts and rebuild it to see if you can improve upon it. While you are doing that, you may want to consider taking someone with you. Share the basic knowledge that is needed to do what you do. Help somebody else out and, at the same time, get better at what you do. This is the great thing about coaching. You get to help others and leave a legacy while improving your own skills and revisiting the things that made you good at your profession/sport/skill in the first place.