Assessing Yourself As a Double-Goal Coach®
By Positive Coaching Alliance
As a Little League® Double-Goal Coach, you pursue two goals: winning, and, more importantly, teaching life lessons through baseball and softball. Obviously, the scoreboard will tell you how you’re doing on that first goal, but how do you assess your performance in pursuit of the more important goal?
Legendary UCLA Basketball Coach John Wooden reportedly once was asked at the end of a season how well he’d coached, and he answered, “Ask me in 20 years, and we’ll see how successful these boys are. Then I’ll be able to tell you if I succeeded as a coach.” But you do not want to wait that long to know what positive impact you are having. And if improvement is needed in your teaching of life lessons, you certainly want to realize that and act on it as soon as possible!
Perhaps the simplest way to assess yourself as a Double-Goal Coach is to ask yourself how well you align with the standards outlined in PCA’s Coach Evaluation Form for Parents. The form aligns with PCA’s three key principles: using the ELM Tree of Mastery, Filling Emotional Tanks; and Honoring the Game (exhibiting and teaching sportsmanship).
Here are specific questions you might ask as you look back on your season:
ELM (Effort, Learning, and Mistakes are OK)
- Did I emphasize the importance of effort?
- Did I explain why effort matters so much, not just in sports, but in other aspects of life?
- Did I reward players for their effort, even when results were not all that we had hoped?
- Did my players sustain or increase their effort throughout the season?
- Did my players acquire new baseball or softball skills, as well as communication and teamwork skills that will serve them elsewhere in their lives?
- Did I explicitly teach them how to speak and behave as people of principle and character?
- Mistakes are OK
- Was I patient with mistakes?
- Did I keep my verbal and non-verbal reactions to mistakes in check?
- Did our team use a mistake ritual, such as the physical gesture of “brushing it off” when we made mistakes?
Filling Emotional Tanks
- Did I meet or surpass PCA’s “Magic Ratio” of five specific, truthful pieces of praise for each specific, constructive criticism or correction?
- Did I generally provide a positive, upbeat, optimistic, fun environment?
- Did I give a lot of high-fives and fist-bumps, and did my players do that for each other?
- Did we use PCA’s Emotional Tank Toolkit and such tools as the buddy system and positive charting?
- Did our Tank Filling extend beyond the playing field so that players filled the emotional tanks of their family members or teachers?
Honoring the Game
- Did we show respect for ROOTS (Rules, Opponents, Officials, Teammates and Self)?
- Did I explain the importance of each element to my players, well enough and often enough that they exhibited that behavior on and off the field?
- Did I myself treat the umpires respectfully?
- Did I model and explain self-control techniques to my players, if for example, I disagreed with an umpire’s call?
There are other aspects to a Double-Goal Coach than simply those prescribed by PCA principles. You might also ask yourself:
- Did I get to know my players as people?
- Did I help them deal with obstacles in their lives, such as family strife or academic challenges?
- Did I really sit and listen with full eye contact and provide the best advice I could?
- Did I honestly do my best to make as substantial a difference as possible in these young lives?
There are no absolutes in how you or others assess your success in teaching life lessons. But you should be able to honestly answer “yes” to many of the questions above. And if you cannot, consider spending some time taking Little League Double-Goal Coach Online Course and having conversations with other coaches, counselors, and community leaders whom you respect.
Additional free resources from PCA are available at www.PCADevZone.org. For more ideas on getting the most out of your players while teaching life lessons, take the full-length Little League Double-Goal Coach® Course at http://shopping.positivecoach.org/Little-League-DGC, or free Little League Double-Goal Coach® Quick Course at http://www.littleleague.org/pca.