Today’s post comes from a comment I have heard various coaches make through the years – “I just don’t read.” As an English teacher for 18 years, reading was obviously a very big part of my job. Reading was a huge part of what I was trying to get my students to do. As teachers, we expect our students to read the various assignments that we give them. No matter the subject, reading is extremely important to the success of our students.
Reading is also extremely important to my success as a teacher. Of course, I need to know what I am teaching. However, I also should know a variety of material that would support what I am teaching, too. It also helps to have a general knowledge of various elements in the world. Obviously, the more I know, the better prepared I can be. Reading is one of the best ways for me to prepare to be my best.
Multiple Ways to Gain Insight & Knowledge
This same concept is important in athletics, as well, especially when it comes to coaches. There are online & print magazines, blogs, PDF’s, newsletters, books, eBooks, and booklets for coaches to read. However, reading is not the only way for coaches to learn more about one’s sport, coaching & athletics. Coaches can attend live coaching clinics & workshops. They can listen to podcasts and watch DVD’s, online video clinics, and YouTube videos. A great way to improve is through meetings with mentor coaches. Also, there are a myriad of other self-improvement topics that coaches can study to improve at their craft.
Each of those methods of learning has value, merit, and worth. I always suggest to coaches that they open themselves up to as many methods as possible to improve at their craft. Reading is one of those methods, and I would argue that it is quite possibly the best method. That is because there are more chances to read than any other medium out there.
However, when talking with coaches about reading certain materials, I sometimes get this response. “You know, I just don’t read all that much.” While I don’t say it, some of my first thoughts are usually, “Seriously?! Why not? Do you want to be the best you can be? What if your players said to you, ‘I just don’t ________.’ about something that you tell them they need to do to help be the best they can be?”
I realize that coaches come in all varieties. Some coaches just aren’t as into developing themselves as much as others. Some may just be helping out in a rec league. They are not necessarily focused on getting much information on coaching. However, I think these people are prime candidates to learn a bit more on coaching and coaching their sport. By doing so, they can maximize their chances for helping the kids have a great experience.
Other coaches fall into the realm of “long-time veteran” coach. They sometimes feel they have all the knowledge they need, so they don’t need to read more on coaching. Well, I fall into that category of “long-time veteran” coach. However, I have always read as much as I could on coaching and on my sports. There is always more to learn. Plus, I find it enjoyable reading about something for which I have a passion.
In between the novice and the long-time veteran are the majority of coaches. These are the coaches who have been coaching for a few years, but who still have a lot to learn. These coaches are the most disappointing to me when I hear them say they “just don’t read.” They have the most to gain and to give. Increasing their knowledge is critical to their success and their ability to help their players and teams develop.
Now, it could be that they just don’t read anything, not just coaching materials. Some people have struggled to read their whole lives. Some were just never into reading, and so they just didn’t do it much. For some people, reading may be difficult, so they choose not to do it. Or they may feel they are too busy to read. However, for anyone who struggles with these situations, there are other materials to help them.
Audiobooks are a great way to “read” a book. You get the same information, and you often get it in the writer’s voice. With audiobooks, you can “read” while doing something else, so you don’t have to set aside extra time. Podcasts are another great medium to get a lot of information to help you improve. While podcasts are not exactly like audiobooks, there are similarities. Many podcasts are basically blog posts or some other form of the written word conveyed through audio. No matter the format, there is often great information that will help the listeners improve in whatever they desire. The podcasts I listen to have really helped me in my coaching and other areas of my life.
Webinars and online courses are also great formats to learn a lot of information packed into a fairly short amount of time. So are online videos. You get a lot of information in a short amount of time, and you can see it in action. Video is a great way for coaches who don’t read much to pick up a lot of great information.
No matter what method you use to “read,” make sure you do so. I prefer actually reading a book, booklet, article, post (like this one!), etc. over most other formats. However, any method of consuming helpful information will give you ideas and strategies to help you improve your coaching. Please don’t use the excuse that “I just don’t read” to limit yourself from becoming a better coach. Find some way that works for you, and carve out the time necessary to do it. Then, get ready for new levels of growth and development.
Then again, if you have read this far in this article, you are probably already doing those things. I guess it’s time for me to do a podcast and a video of this post for all those people that “just don’t read”!
I would love to hear your thoughts on these ideas in the Comments section below or on the Coach with Character Facebook page. My next post will focus on some different books, for you to consider reading this summer.
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