Golf is a great test of one’s ability to focus on their strengths, as there are no reactions to opponents, it is you and you alone deciding the shot you are going to attempt. During a recent round I found myself again trying to hit a shot that I see many good players hit when facing the shot I was. I knew that was not the best shot for me as I am better at hitting a high flop shot than I am at hitting a bump and run into the side of the bank. Yet I had this internal debate going in my head that if I play against conventional wisdom (which is playing to my strength) am I somehow lesser of a player. Unfortunately, I displayed some mental weakness and attempted the conventionally wise shot and wound up making bogey, I should have played to my strengths.
This experience got me thinking how this relates to coaching. As a coach am I trying to get a player to play like someone else or am I trying to help them become the best player they can be based on their unique giftings? This is not to say that we don’t teach players fundamental skills, but as coaches we should not stifle creativity to do things a little differntly as that leads to innovation. The game of basketball would look differently if Whitey Skoog, John Miller Cooper, or Ken Sailors had not been allowed to take a jump shot as up to then it was believed that a set shot was most effective.
Good coaches don’t try to create cookie cutter players, they help players realize their strengths and how to maximize them within the team and the game.
Good coaches develop players to their fullest potential, not trying to force them mirror someone elses path to their fullest potnential.