Last week I had the opportunity to spend two days with my friend, mentor and professional colleague Dr Joe Vigil at our USATF Coaching Education meeting at the Olympic training center in Chula Vista. Joe is 83 years old and just as passionate & enthusiastic as he was when I first met him over thirty years ago. He gets up at 4:00 Am every morning and does two hours of professional development reading. He is one of the most accomplished coaches in the world and is still hungry to learn! When I spend time with Joe I come away inspired and full of ideas. We both share a passion for coaching and teaching and a concern for some of the things we see happening in coaching today. The following is some advice gleaned from my conversations with Joe and from my experience. Hopefully it will be food thought as each of you moves forward in your careers.
Enjoy the journey – Take some time along the way to stop and smell the roses.
Have a life – Find a balance between your coaching and the rest of your life.
Be yourself and always be true to yourself.
Take risks, make mistakes & learn from them.
Listen more than you talk.
No shades of gray regarding drugs, either black or white.
Find the smartest person in the room & hang out with them.
Know your stuff, but more important is to show your stuff on the field, court, track or pool. Ultimately is not how much you know it is how you coach, how you put it all into practice.
Ask smart questions & be sure to listen to the answers.
Never lose sight of the fact it is always about people and relationships.
It’s not about you it is all about the athlete.
Be prepared to pay your dues, you don’t enlist the army as a general.
Find someone to help you and mentor you
Coaching is profession, treat it as such and be professional in all areas.
If you are in it for the money or the fame, forget coaching and go to Las Vegas or Silicon Valley.
Don’t follow people & personalities, follow principals and progressions.