What Makes A Great Coach?
A Great Coach sparks something "above and beyond" in us and helps us recognize it, even when the world doesn't...
What Makes A Great Coach?
Coaches take on many different roles in our life; some may be great; some may be indifferent; and some may do more harm than good…
You may have heard about a coaching incident in Vancouver on June 23, 2012, where a hockey coach was accused of purposely tripping a young player during the post game handshake. Video of the incident clearly shows the coach sticking out his leg in order to trip a 13-year-old boy on the opposing team. (Paste the following link in your web browser to see for yourself.)
The player required a cast on his wrist and the coach was suspended pending further investigation by the RCMP. This is coaching at its worst!
At the exact opposite end of this spectrum was an amazing display of coaching I witnessed after one of my daughter’s hockey games back in 1999…
Leah’s team was playing for the gold medal in a Christmas tournament, against a team they had yet to beat in the regular season. Her team was up by 2 goals and while Leah was not known as one of the team’s big goal scorers; she was having an amazing game having scored 2 of their 5 goals.
It was the third period and Coach Murray told his players that the next goal scored would be the “Buffy” goal (Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a popular TV show at the time); because it would be like driving a stake through the other teams’ heart. (OK – when I read this now I’m wondering whether this is really Coach of the Year stuff – but stay with me.)
Leah went on to score the next and final goal of the game resulting in a 6 – 3 win; and what would be the only hat trick of her 10 year hockey career. I was beaming with pride as our players collected their gold medals and I anxiously awaited the announcement of the Player of the Game. Leah had never won Player of the Game in all of her tournaments, and surely the only player with a hat trick in a 6 – 3 win would be the recipient this time around.
I tried not to show my disappointment when they announced our goalie as the Player of the Game. Lauren was a lovely girl and a great goalie who always gave her best in every game – and she was the Coach’s daughter! The team celebrated their win in the dressing room afterwards, and Coach Murray made sure to spread accolades around to all the players, including Leah.
But where Leah’s Coach really went above and beyond was at the team’s next practise, where he presented Leah with a hand crafted wooden stake with the words “Buffy Goal” engraved on one side. He knew Leah had played her best game ever and that she truly deserved being named the Player of the Game. Leah beamed with pride as she showed us the special award that had been crafted just for her.
As a parent, Coach Murray’s gesture towards Leah will always be remembered and appreciated as something so genuine and meaningful. I can’t speak for Leah as to the impact of this award except to say that all her other trophies and medals from over the years have disappeared; but 13 years later, she still has her Buffy Award.
Now that’s coaching!