One of the reasons that sports are so awesome is because in order to be successful you must be willing to challenge assumptions about yourself and others. To improve in athletics you always need to be ready to change and grow. And while this is an easy message for athletes, sometimes coaches can struggle to apply this same flexibility to their own lives.
With years of training others and always needing to be the strong voice in the room it can be hard for coaches to listen. Along with the routine teaching, coaches may also shut down and even become defensive as a result of the predictable challenges from parents, players and administration. Many coaches in fact, often take on a bunker mentality and can become easily stuck within their own approach or philosophy to the game.
Instead of being defensive and protective of your approach, it is beneficial to learn how to roll with the resistance and anger of others. The hostility and doubt of parents, athletic directors, and even spouses can feel overwhelming. Like the first wave you encounter on your way out to surf, the pressure will set you back unless you dive under it. Once you get through that initial set of breakers, the swells in the water will become much more settled and manageable. It is at this point that you can sit up on your surfboard and survey the horizon.
Once settled, take time to listen and learn rather than just react and teach. As parents, coaches and leaders we are well practiced at sharing our opinion. But if you want your coaching and parenting skills to expand it might be time to begin the process of receiving information. Add to your emotional bank account by giving people a chance to teach you. Start by recognizing that maybe you should not believe everything you think. Then begin collecting some opposing thoughts and approaches. With openness and flexibility you might just find some solutions and energy for this game.