Coaches Corner - Lifelong Learning
Coaches often state their claim as teachers who are commonly charged with the primary role of developing young people. Development, to me, is the essential focus area of all who claim to be coaching educators that bring coaching under the teaching umbrella.
But what a place to be! Who indeed, with the exception of parents, have the respect and potential to actually influence young people in a positive way.
If development or learning is an essential life goal, then how can coaches enhance learning/development in our coaching?
First, coaches can sell their players on becoming life long learners – tell them why it can enhance their life:
Progress – move forward, you must be committed to learning continuously.
Learning from the Past – learning can be prevent us from repeating past mistakes.
Performance – players can improve over time in basketball and life.
Learn from Others – Coaches can share their wisdom (knowledge + experience) to help players learn.
Use of Time – Learning is a valuable way to use your time, on and off the court. It can develop habits needed to become a lifelong learner.
Openness – Habits of listening and learning can develop curiosity and a respect for other people’s views.
No matter what the reason, each person can find some reason to learn.
Other concepts that can be helpful to teach lifelong learning are such things as:
Develop and “attitude of gratitude” or an appreciation for the value of learning. What you learn, know and remember becomes a permanent part of you and will be the basis of wisdom in later years.
Learning can allow everything to become a positive experience. If you can learn from good or bad experiences, from wins and loses, learning can always make it a positive experience.
Admit your ignorance and acknowledge your mistakes – this must happen before you can learn. Admit mistakes, ask questions and move on. Learning almost always begins with questions. Today is only a starting point for what you know today and learn for tomorrow.
A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Don’t let what you know be an obstacle to learning right now. What knowledge you have is just a learning launching pad. You must be humble enough to watch and learn.
Take responsibility for learning – both for yourself and others around you. Coaches and players both are responsible for their learning and that of the team. Develop a learning synergy.
Learn from your mistakes – have the courage to make mistakes and learn from them (a mistake mentality). Acknowledge mistakes, correct them, and learn from them.
Seek first to understand – put more effort into understanding others and less effort into worrying about whether you are being understood.
Learn from experience – it often can be the best teacher when you evaluate that experience. Ask what went right and what went wrong – learn from examining and assessing the experience.
Learn by teaching – one of the best ways to learn basketball is to teach others. Players can enhance their learning and give something back to the game by teaching skills to others especially younger players.
Finally, both coaches and players need to know that learning can be enhanced greatly by skill modeling and life/role modeling. We often learn more by what people do than what they say. It has been said that one of the greatest gifts (learning) one can give is their best example.
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