Fall 2014 Blog – Post # 14
Nov 25 Thoughts on saying Thank You
When I discovered in my early years of coaching, just how much work went into running a home tournament, I instituted a tradition with our players. At the conclusion of each tournament we played on the road, our players were expected to seek out the home coach and offer an expression of thanks for inviting us and for the work they put into the event. I’d like to think that, even though this was a “prescribed” thank you, our players delivered it sincerely. I often wondered if it might have been the first thank you that coach had heard for quite some time.
One of the bullets in our formal, written team behavioral expectations included this one: We will exhibit a cooperative attitude on a daily basis with our support team: athletic trainers, contest management, equipment room, sports communication, and athletic department personnel. In other words, we have the opportunity each day by our actions to say thank you to those who are committed to making our experience a good one.
I think my main message for today is that I’ve learned to realize that we probably need a combination of formal thank-yous mixed in with spontaneous words of acknowledgement each and every week. (For the wordsmiths out there, in checking for the correct representation of thank-yous, you will find an interesting debate). In many aspects of leadership, and make no mistake, that is an essential quality needed for effective coaching, we (as coaches) will set the tone and the example that will be followed. It should not take long in our profession to recognize many behind the scenes colleagues who rarely get recognition. Custodians, secretaries, administrative assistants, bus drivers – I know I am not telling you anything you don’t already know. What can we do to make their day? We can call them by name, ask them to stop by practice and introduce them and thank them in front of the team. Be the first one at the end of a long trip to grab a trash bag and make sure the bus is looking at least as good as when we stepped on it. Just some food for thought, and who is not thinking about food right now with Turkey Day less than 48 hours away!
Our assistant coaches, whether volunteers or paid staff are also essential to our success, and your season ending banquet along with other occasional public speaking opportunities you may have, provides a platform to recognize their dedication and their efforts. This is as good a place as any to say thanks to my longtime assistant, Lev. He comes to mind when thinking about Kim H. being inducted into the CT VBall Hall of Fame tonight. I think we all remember the day he used a fair bit of athletic training tape to “adjust” her arm position for setting!
Your families and all the loved ones in your life are often the only folks who truly see what a dedicated coach puts into their work. Words often don’t do justice for the gratitude we have in our hearts, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t attempt to offer those expressions in some form. You might even consider dropping a card in the mail (yes, I do mean snail mail-USPS still sells stamps).
Later this week, I will conclude this Fall Blog Series with comments on team banquets. Perhaps in regards to thanking our players for their support, effort, and dedication – there is no better place or setting than that. But…think about some of my earlier comments and all of the people who may not always make the invitation list to your banquet. Each and every day (like now!) provides a chance to say thank you, so let me begin with you – thanks for taking the time to read this. Shouting out a thanks to @offtheblock11 for including me (@CoachDearing) “among authors making the Ultimate Gift List”.
Let me close out this posting with words from one of my favorite songs of praise – Give thanks with a grateful heart. No better time than this week for that.
Later this week, as promised this fall series will close with…… Banquet.