Monday, September 14, 2009

The Difference Between Fair & Equal

The hardest part of coaching is treating your student athletes fairly rather than equally.

Example #1) TEAM EXPECTATIONS. The question isn't what your expectations are but what you do as a coach when a student athlete fails to meet them.

Coach Bin's Answer: I have black and white consequences for black and white situations. Ex. A student athlete skips class. We have a "buddy" system where her "buddy" has ten hours of study table that week. Second offense = both get ten hours of study table. I haven't seen a second offense yet as they are much more accountable to their teammates than they are to themselves. Treat "equally."

The gray situations are the difficult ones = coach's discretion. I make good decisions when I:
  1. Get ALL of the facts
  2. Pray-I am more patient and rational
  3. Learn what caused the mistake so I can provide resources for change
  4. Articulate WHY there needs to be a change AND..
  5. Demand it . Treat "fairly."
“The truth is that many people set rules to keep from making decisions. Not me. I don’t want to be a manager or a dictator. I want to be a leader—and leadership is ongoing, adjustable, flexible, and dynamic. As such, leaders have to maintain a certain amount of discretion.” Coach K

Example #2) CONDITIONING. The more you can do as a team benefits your team chemistry, accountability, and commitment to each other. However, do you train a senior who is one of the most fit student athletes to come through the program the same as you train a freshman?

Coach Bin's Answer: NO. You train them as individually as you can for the TEAM'S success. We have some conditioning workouts that the entire team does together. Treat equally. We also have some workouts that are designed specifically for the individuals performance. Treat fairly.

As you make your own decisions regarding your team here is some advice.
  • Communicate, articulate, but don't expect every player to understand or agree with you.
  • Make the decision that you feel is best for the team first, individual second.
  • Get input from mentors but stick to your philosophy.

Oh, and develop thick skin!

Coach Bin

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