3 Leadership Myths for Coaches

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3 Leadership Myths for Coaches

As coaches, we hear many “coach-talk” phrases shared with us. In many cases, the phrases we hear from coaches we begin to share ourselves. And in the process of sharing these phrases, we begin to believe them.

Unfortunately just because something is referenced frequently doesn’t mean it’s accurate. So as coaches, we need to be careful we aren’t subscribing to beliefs that aren’t accurate simply because it’s common.

We examine three frequent “coach-talk” phrases that we hear echoed in coaching circles and determine if these phrases are worth following.

Myth 1: Sports Teaches Leadership and Character

Ever heard the saying, “Sports build character”? While it’s partially true, the real magic happens when coaches step in and “use” sports to teach character. Sports by itself doesn’t teach leadership and character in the same way failure doesn’t automatically produce learning (there are many people who keep making the same mistake over and over). Great coaches are the ones who actively teach leadership and character through sports. They use what happens in sports and they effectively and intentionally tie it back to teachable moments and go through the practice of teaching to their athletes. It’s not just about playing the game; it’s about the guidance, mentorship, and lessons we as coaches provide both on and off the field.

Myth 2: Leadership is Only for a Select Few

You might think leadership is reserved for team captains or star players. But here’s the truth: leadership is for everyone. Yes, everyone! Every member of your team can take on a leadership role, regardless of their position or experience. Whether it’s encouraging a teammate, showing resilience, or taking initiative, everyone can contribute to leadership.

At the core leadership is influence and we all hold influence over others. In addition, there are different styles of leadership, and very rarely does one leader possess the ability to accommodate each of the various styles. One person may be the loud rah-rah type while someone else may be the pull-a-teammate off to the side and have a 1-on-1 conversation.

Everyone is a leader and everyone plays a role which is why we want to work with entire TEAMS. We made a decision a while back that we won’t work with leadership groups or captains “exclusively.” “What about the rest of the team?” we always ask. Every player needs to be growing in their leadership, although some players are positioned to receive extra work.

Myth 3: Leadership is Tough to Teach

Some might think that teaching leadership is a daunting task, but in reality, it’s quite the opposite. Learning how to lead can be engaging, exciting, and even fun! It’s about exploring different ways to communicate, collaborate, and motivate others. When approached with creativity and enthusiasm, teaching leadership becomes an enjoyable journey for both coaches and players alike.

It’s also something if taught well with the right program that your players will “want” to participate in. We’ve seen it firsthand over the last nine years.

Conclusion

So, coaches, let’s debunk these myths together! Remember, you have the power to shape not just great athletes, but exceptional leaders. By debunking these myths and embracing the reality that leadership can be taught, is for everyone, and can be enjoyable, you empower your team to grow not just in the game, but in life. Encourage every player to step up, show leadership in their unique way, and watch your team thrive both on and off the field. Leadership isn’t a secret club—it’s an open invitation for all!

So go on, coach! Teach, inspire, and lead the way to a team full of remarkable leaders

Have fun and #LeadEmUp

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