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Currency of Coaching

nick ruddock May 11, 2017
A business person would say ‘time is money.’
So what does a coach say? ‘Time is medals?’
If time is money, or time is medals, how are you using yours? Is the time you are spending with your athletes valuable?
Let’s use a business analogy to help my intended message;
If you wanted to start a business, and you had a full team of investors to support you, you would have an advantage over an individual without much capital.
If you have a ‘talented’ athlete to train, you have an advantage over a coach with a less ‘talented’ athlete.
In any realm (business, coaching etc.) productivity will always trump activity. ‘Talented’ athletes and coaches who train unproductively are no match for an optimised training program and an athlete with a furious work ethic, even if the athlete themselves isn’t as ‘talented.’
Productive training means making great use of time to get closer towards goals.
Therefore being ‘busy’, and being ‘productive’ are two different things.
‘A rocking chair keeps moving but doesn’t make progress.’
The simple formula is this:
Time + Beneficial Activity = Progress
It sounds like common sense but it’s not common practice, as what we often see is this …
Time + Non Beneficial Activity = Stagnation
There are so many things our athletes COULD do in a training session, but at any one time there are only a handful of things that an athlete SHOULD do to help improve performance, the rest are time-filling activities that are enjoyable, yet ‘fluffy.’
The best use of money in business as an investment, to create more wealth …
The best use of time when coaching is to invest in activities which increase the probability of the athlete fulfilling their long term potential. That may mean compromising ‘fun stuff,’ the same way that me buying a Porsche next week would limit my potential for business growth as i’ve wasted my quality resource (in this case money) on something which doesn’t help me with an end goal.
A great business person would be able to convert every £1 to £10. They’d do this by either selling or reselling a product worth ‘X’ to make ‘Y’ or by placing the money in a long term investment strategy such as property or stocks etc.
These are long term strategies. They’re not fun, enjoyable or exciting but they work, assuming the money has been well placed.
Teaching basic fundamental skills and movements is not much fun either, but it also works, as a long term investment strategy, for the coach who can see beyond the short term pain (or boredom) of repetitive, basic skills. But basic skills are a great investment of time, as they prolong the career length of athletes, and increase their chances of fulfilling performance potential.
Would you take £50,000 this week instead of £100,000 in ten years time?
Statistics show that most people would. Patience is a difficulty quality to demonstrate when presented with things that are exciting.
I’d much rather spend an hour teaching exciting release and catches on bars to a group of 11 year olds, but that might not be be as high a priority as their handstand shapes or kip cast to handstands.
I’d also much rather buy a plane ticket to Miami then stick the money in a savings fund, but we both know that only one option brings long term results.
What get’s measured get’s mastered. 
A business person would know how every penny of their £1 is spent, and what they intend to gain from it. They would know the strategy they would be using to ensure the plan works. They’d keep a sharp eye on their spending to make sure they are within budget, and not overspending on less important areas of the business. For every 10 pence spent on something unnecessary it could be costing the business £10 somewhere else.
Do you know how much time exactly you’re spending on physical preparation? Vault drills? Routines? 
In addition to the actual time spent (e.g.) 4 hours a week, do you know how significant that time is to you? What are you achieving in that time?
I’m going to take a guess and say you check your online banking at least weekly, to track your accounts and how healthy their balance is, with upcoming bills etc?
But what about your programme? Are you scrutinising this also? Time is a non-renewable resource, unlike money which can be re-created. It needs to be taken more seriously in coaching.
It’s the collective sum of small amounts of daily time that amounts to significance; what I call the ‘accumulation effect’ > ‘Look after the pennies and the pounds look after themselves.’
Think about this …
If every day you spent 5 minutes refining handstands, you would have accumulated approximately 20 hours of handstand work over a year (based on athletes training 5 times a week.)
20 HOURS! That’s the power of accumulation.
How about increasing your physical preparation from 20 minutes a day to 40 minutes a day?
That’s an additional 80 hours a year! It’s no wonder that coaches who value time spent on physical preparation have higher performing athletes.
There aren’t many programmes that can’t find more/better quality time for critical priorities, by shaving down ‘fluffy’ time spent on less important tasks.
Deconstruct and scrutinise your programme to ensure that every minute is being spent wisely. You won’t get the time back !!!

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