Make a connection and change a life

No plan survives contact with the enemy - Make connection your most important tool.

What’s the difference between connection and no connection? 
Does it even matter? When it comes to coaching, I believe it does and that leads me to the following quote: "Children learn teachers, not subjects" 

Can you be the most technically able coach with zero ability to connect and still be successful? Or is the opposite possible? Can you be outstanding at making connections and have limited understanding of technique? It's a deep question - I must admit I am only just starting to grasp the importance of  connection myself. 

But... I believe it to be in the top 5 top tips and a specific target for me this season. 

Having spent some time in the off season reflecting about my own practice and how I can improve, I journeyed along a path with some colleagues. The subject started out and finished with "connection". 

So I started to really dig deep into the word "connection"

The oxford dictionary defines it as:

A relationship in which a person or thing is linked or associated with something else.

In a professional context I often describe it as:

The ability to develop a relationship and understand the perspective of another person.

I believe it could be even deeper than both of these put together! So I decided to create a mind map - you can find it here:

Image result for coach wootten quotes

From a teachers' point of view this really challenged me, especially when I started to think about previous work. I remember getting this gem of advice when I started my first teaching placement:

"Don't smile at any pupils before Christmas, to get the pupils working with you, they need to respect you". 

Take this for what it is - but I'd suggest a better piece of advice is:

"Work out what makes them tick and this maybe the key to understanding the pupils"

Now don't get me wrong, what I am not saying is be best friends with all your players, in fact I would suggest that this may be the worst thing you could do as a volunteer coach, what I am saying is get to know the players you are working with, I mean really get to know them. 

Know lots about them personally, but also get to know what makes them tick, what they like and what they dislike. Work out what they value and also work out what they like and what they don't.

Coach Wooden used connection at the bottom level of his pyramid:

Ultimately, what I am saying is value the connection and see the difference you could make. Did you have that one teacher or coach that got the best out of you? Was that because that coach was the most technically gifted coach? Or was it because they connected with you and valued that connection?

Then I'd like to bring your attention to this recent article:

This is a very interesting report on how connection and teaching support learning, its headline is:

Kids do better when teachers know them well

Take that advice with you into your next season of coaching and set yourself a challenge:

How deep can you make your connections?

Image result for best teachers quote connection

One thing I will leave you with is this:

I have recently received a substantial amount of questions around my approach and if it can transfer into a high level adults team. Well I think this is a great quotation to have in mind. You must practice the plan, but in the right environment and prepare yourself for the strategy to fail. When it does, learn by it.

Have a great off season, my next blog will be a pre season update in August. 

Thanks for making our first season so much fun and keep following us and sharing our blogs.

RCB Family