One moments patience is all it takes
(part of a series of previously published articles by John Morrison, A Sporting View)
LAST Sunday week Derry played Limerick in a qualifier game in Castlebar, Co Mayo.
On the morning of the game the entire Derry party attended Mass in a country chapel in the area.
The homily or sermon was not patronizing nor warning but was interesting and profound.
It was delivered by a series of sayings, each repeated slowly twice, and supported by an anecdotal story.
Three sayings, which could be applied to gaelic sport, or indeed any sport, stuck in my mind.
"Every saint has a past; every sinner has a future."
I turned this saying round to be, "Every winner has a past; every loser has a future," allowing hope for all teams and players and reminding them they have, at all times, the potential to be their best, if only their preparation is correct and they persist with it.
The second saying made me think of all those players who really arent given a chance, especially underage, where winning is emphasised over development.
It went, " Hatred of ones fellow man is not the greatest sin, indifference to him is."
I thought of the many young players who leave sport because they do not make that magic 15.
I thought of those who rarely are given the experience of a full game, or even a part of it.
I thought of all those slow learners who are dismissed far too early.
I thought of all those players who are always to the back of the queues in skill drills and who oftenÓget few touches of the ball.
I thought of those players who are always picked last and of those who experience only the one playing position on any team in their entire sporting life – a full back at seven and never anything else!
I thought of all those players, young and older, who, as part of a squad, are never or rarely spoken to by their mentors.
The third saying, for me, was the one with the biggest resonance as a lesson for coaches or Managers.
It went, "A moments patience can ward off a disaster, a moments impatience can ruin a whole life."
This saying reminds me of another old saying Ive often heard, "Dont judge in haste."
As a result of sayings like these, my own coaching mantra when dealing with players is, "Target the performance of the person."
I thus try to use ‘how instead of ‘why and ‘and instead of ‘but when addressing players.
I might then say, "
How did you drop the ball?" Instead of ‘Why did you drop the ball?" or "You were brilliant and next day we can work on your kicking," instead of "You were brilliant but next day we can work on your kicking."
Here are the other things I reminded myself I must ‘do with players when I reflected on these sayings.
Do be clear why you are coaching.
Do be aware of the effect you are having onÓgrowing children.
Do find out what children expect to gain from the sport and from you.
Do provide learning experiences (teach and stimulate).
Do make practice and competition fun.
Do set challenging goals tailored to the individual.
Do recognize the value of friendships between children.
Do show your approval whenever you can.
Do regularly examine your own coaching style and communication skills.
Do listen to your players.
Do find out as much as you can about your sport.
Do relax and enjoy yourself with the children.
Do be firm fair, and organized.
Do give credit where it is due and give help where it is needed.
Do be consistent.
Do use a clear voice and never shout.
If I must suggest ‘dont they are few:
Dont put children down for not doing as well as you wanted.
Dont shout and humiliate them.
Dont ignore them when they need some support or ask you questions.
Dont blind them with science.
Dont overdo the praise, they wont believe you.
Remember, young players are less tolerant of heat, cold and pain than adults, they do not react as quick and take longer to understand.
"A moments patience… goes a long way.
Remember, children dont remember how you made them feel!
12-Sep-08 by John Morrison