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The sport that so many predicted I would excel at due to my size was actually the sport where I floundered. When it came to the hardwood, the only skill I had was shooting free throws. My coaches could have just given up on me and focused their attention on the superstars on the team, but instead they invested time and energy into the one thing I could do well. In place of teaching me to drive down the line and into the key to take a shot, they focused on teaching me how to draw fouls. I spent whole practices just shooting free throws. As a result of this constant drilling, if there was an Olympic sport for free-throws in a minute, I would certainly be standing on that podium crying my eyes out while they played the US National Anthem with some gold around my neck. I might not have been the superstar of my team, but because of their coaching I did racked up some points.
On the other hand, there was a sport that I did excel at. My volleyball coaches were equally as brilliant in their coaching. I might have been one of the superstars but I never sat on a pedestal. Every time I had a great play or an outstanding series, my coaches quietly acknowledged my performance. During practice, my performance was critiqued and I was asked to tweak and twist to give just a little more in effort, technique and/or form. My coaches were always moving the bar just a little bit to keep me progressing. I quickly learned that perfection is not something to attain, but something to always be striving for.
A manager is a coach of a team of people. A team who is playing a game each day in which there are losses and gains. The role of a manager is to never stop coaching. When coaching, a manager needs to remember not every team member is going to be a superstar, but all are vital to the outcome of the game. As a coach, you need to discover the skill sets for each team member and coach them accordingly. For those team players that excel at a skill set, keep moving the bar. Coach on like every play counts. Coach like every second until the buzzer matters. Coach from the sidelines and leave everything on the field. At the end of the day, critique your performance and the performance of your team. Practice with your team often and offer quiet praise. A team has no organization without effective coaching and coaches are often judged by the abilities of their team and the number of wins they accumulate. Consequently, coaches and team members are a symbiotic relationship towards a common goal….winning!
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