The Difference a True Coach Makes

The Difference A True Coach Makes

If you stayed awake to watch the last minutes of the 2011 Oscars, you got to see an extraordinary display of the difference a true coach makes. In this case, the team was not comprised of athletes but vocalists, and the coach, a choir director, but what was demonstrated was how one person can create champions on a field, court, pool, hillside, or on risers.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve sat through a few elementary chorus concerts, including those my own children participated in, and while painting a supportive, proud face, truly, most have been nothing short of painful to experience. This past Christmas. I attended my daughter’s concert. The chorus walked on stage in an undisciplined, uncertain manner, stood awkwardly and sang with lips pursed so tightly, they couldn’t be heard and what we did hear, was okay. Just okay.

Then, there’s the PS22 Chorus that sang the closing song at the Oscars.

How could a group of fifth graders, from Statton Island have turned in a performance that blew up the notion that the performance level we should expect from kids will be painful and awkward at best? These are not kids with stage parents who’ve invested in private lessons since infancy. These are not kids cherry-picked to create a super-chorus. These are normal kids, attending a regular public school. In fact, they’re from an area where life is tough and where they don’t have a thing handed to them. How could this group have performed magnificently, with poise and skill so beyond others their age while another group, at another public school could not.

The difference is the coach.

A great coach has the magical ability to identify raw talent, draw out the best in someone’s head, heart and body, and magnify the potential as both an art and science.
They have a very special concoction within them that makes them a great coach.

• Passion: A great coach is an energy giver because they believe in the goal and the individual talent and work done everyday to achieve the goal. They are a never-ending source of positive motivation that’s unwavering even in the face of obstacles.

• Leadership: Great leaders create the environment for their team to succeed as individuals and/or as a group. A great coach’s focus is on the success of those they coach, not on themselves so they provide the place, the tools, develop the culture that has high standards, provides the resources needed to achieve the expectations set, and inspires and encourages each to push beyond what was ever thought could be achieved. There’s a strength and resolve about what needs to be done and unwavering guidance and encouragement to do it.

• Relationship: Great coaches build trust. They come armed with the expertise that demonstrates that they know what they’re doing and they prove it by drawing out great performances. They show up with commitment that lets everyone know they’ll work harder than the athlete to make the goals a reality and they’ll do whatever it takes to make things happen. They connect with an athlete not only on the performance level, but also in the head and definitely in the heart.

• Magic: There’s the secret potion that creates a chemistry between themselves and an individual or team that is able to take the raw talent possessed and magnifies it in a way that makes someone better than they have ever been, and achieve more than they ever thought possible. It’s a special art.

Gregg Breinberg, Mr. B. is a true coach.