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How Being Caught Speeding Made Me Think about the Environment, Circumstance and Luck in Coaching

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In the words of Richie Benaud, Morning Everyone...

Would love to hear your comments, views and links to any research you might know of....

During my many miles around the country, there is always an inherent risk I will marginally overstep the mark on speed limits. I was recently offered the chance to attend a Speed Awareness Course as part of a minor discretion, and whilst there are many benefits to attend from a financial perspective, I had also heard positive things about the training course and being a coach educator, I was intrigued to see the workshop from a delivery and content perspective.

I found the course (delivered by the AA DriveTech) excellent, from an education, content and delivery perspective. One of the areas that resonated with me was the discussion around luck – most people at some point break the speed limit, either intentionally or inadvertently, and often the reason we don’t get caught (or anything more serious) is because of luck and the circumstances at that moment in time.

I have often considered the impact of luck in a sporting context. On any given day, you will hear comments about the ball not bouncing for us, the wind blowing differently, and various other reasons ‘success’ is not achieved, but how much does luck, the environment and circumstance play a part in our coaching and those who we coach?

Gary Player once said the harder you work, the luckier you get – which is in direct conflict with the definition of Luck – success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions

So here are a few things to consider about your players, the environment and circumstance when coaching which might make ‘luck’ turn in your favour….

  • How much do you consider the environment where you are coaching when planning?
  • Do you plan or do you just turn up and see what happens?
  • Do you plan potential changes to your sessions, both from a player perspective, and an environment view?
  • Do you consider personal circumstances of those who come to your sessions?
  • How do you work with your players to react to unexpected developments –both positive and negative?

I often ask a question of the coaches I work with – Why or So what? Are your sessions designed to support developments, or would they happen if you were there or not? As a coach you are there to positively influence and develop your athletes through your sessions, not hope something might happen or develop.

If you are coaching by chance, imagine what could happen if you created the environment to learn in, and understood the circumstances for success…

Go on, it could change your luck…

Jon Woodward is a Coach Education Advisor at sports coach UK. He is a parent, coach and coach educator fulfilling various roles with various sports – and can be found tweeting (@JonWoodward74) and blogging about coaching and life

Comments (1)

   
AndyEdwards
Hi Jon. I love this article on Survivorship Bias by David McRaney http://youarenotsosmart.com/2013/05/23/survivorship-bias/ - it includes a really interesting section on luck.
01/07/15
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