How does that relate to coaching? It gives me a perspective of watching countless young ladies go from hesitant, giggling high schoolers to successful young women with family, careers and purpose. The years in between, I try to help them find their way. We use golf as the common ground and it is a very steadfast pursuit that teaches all the lessons needed in life, if the player chooses to learn them. It teaches self-reliance, resilience, focus, work ethic, positive mindset and most importantly, failure and how to handle it. My job is as a guide through these years. Here is what we do (golf), here is how we do it (with excellence and intention) and here is what results (performance, character and clarity).
As a coach who just turned 57, I still want to react to failure as I did when I was 25. I want to run from it, then pout about it and then act like I'm above it and then decide to forget about it. However, that way of being didn't allow me to do much but stay in the same cycle. I can't go so far as to say I embrace failure, because I still am not a good loser, as my father often told me as a kid. I say that he "told" me, but I could say goaded me, teased me, taunted me or admonished me. He knew it was my hamartia and that I needed to face it or it would get the better of me. At 57, I can say that failure in any way is like my alarm clock. It wakes me up to what needs changing, doing or understanding. It is part of life and important. I pay attention.
In coaching, we fail as a team and perform poorly. I fail as a coach to teach or support in a meaningful way. Players fail to do the right thing. We all fail to communicate on a level that allows connection. Accounting tests are failed. Wake up calls are failed. Speed limits are failed. There isn't a day that goes by without some type of small failure. Each and every small failure is isolated and means nothing. That is what I've learned through experience. None need to be permanent. None need to point to bigger problems. None need to be significant. That is unless we make the ultimate failure and choose not to learn from them. As a coach, I've learned that it is important to point out what specifically went wrong, what can be changed to get it going right and how it can be done. For all of us, there needs to be a solution based approach to what we are doing and a focus on what we want to happen. There needs to be an acknowledgement of the failure in order to learn from it. There needs to be separation of what we do from who we are.
|Seeing my players go on to happy lives is the best part of the job. |
Elena Villamil and Jarret Shook were married at Our Lady of Covadonga in Northern Spain and I was lucky enough to attend.
|Seeing my former players is always a treat and coupling it with a Guinness is even better!|
Here I am with Danielle McVeigh in Dublin. What a great one she is!
In my first year of coaching, my AD was Lynn Hickey. She told me at our Southwest Conference Championship that the small problems I didn't take care of during the year would become big problems under the pressure of a championship round. She told me this as I watched a player implode on the very first hole. She was right. However, it still took me time to be a brave enough coach to confront the small failures that needed acknowledgement; the slips of character that lead to the destruction of a team; the failure to prepare that leads to poor performance; the lack of respect that leads to a breakdown in relationships or the simple failure of being confident when there is no reason to feel that way. The idea of keeping the peace or doing what is easy in the moment has no value to me as a 57 year old. The more I age, the more I know what I want from myself, from my players and from my team around me. That isn't to say that I get it, but it is to say that I will work tirelessly for it. It is easy work, because I love it. It is hard work because there is not a clear path to success, nor even a clear definition. We've had years when we haven't won, yet the team clicked together, everyone was accountable, the work was put in and we all were better at the end of the year. We've also had years where we had great results, yet selfishness was a common theme and it was every woman for herself. Learning takes place in both situations, but to be a part of a small, close group of women who support each other allows learning to take place at a higher level with respect and communication at the core. Those are the years that allow us to build character, relationships and wonderful memories.
|The smiles we share on the golf course is the most common, yet the most special of enjoyments in the job of coaching.|
Here I am sharing a smile with the woman with the million dollar smile, Brigitte Dunne.
|Building relationships, networking and camaraderie and also wonderful parts of the job.|
Neither one of these two players played for me, yet I feel close to them and supported them whenever possible.
Julia Boland and Casey Grice.
So, here's to being one of the few old coaches out here these days. I finally feel like I know what I'm doing and I'm enjoying it more than ever. I love my team and David and it feels like one of those years when we can really create strong team character, strong relationships and wonderful memories. I think we can also work toward great results, but that part can't be the focus, it needs to be simply the result of our work, focus, support and vision.
|Happiness as a coach!|