TASmanian Sport & Coaching Collective
TASmanian Sport & Coaching Collective

What do you do if you get ‘Stuck in a Rut (ten)’ ?

Image courtesy the theadvocate.com.au

Sporting coaches and most sporting fans would be feeling sympathy for recently sacked Essendon Bombers coach, Ben Rutten.

While his situation is in the context of elite sport where he is paid very well, the fact is, he was not treated as well as he should have been and had to display high levels of self-awareness, emotional intellegience and impactful communication to conduct himself as a professional representative of an organisation. 

While not subject to the same media scrutiny and definitely not enjoying the same levels of remuneration, coaches at a sub-elite/community are expected to manage a range of issues outside of their control as well as the obvious challenge of being the calm in the chaos amidst personal challenges of health, work, family etc.

I, and many other coaches aspiring to make a career in the sports coaching industry have also maintained that coaching at an amateur level is harder in some ways due to the range of roles the club coach is required to perform – there is little if any delegation of tasks.

Elite sport has a range of support mechanisms for personnel that actually help create the product the community benefits from consuming. 

There are associations for coaches, umpires and players. In the case of the AFL – there is the coaches association

Elite coaches and the like have access to these and in the chaos of events that led to the sacking of a coach less than two years into a succession plan, there would have been access to a range of support services to assist Ben with how to handle his situation to assist his own well-being and that of the Essendon Football Club. 

It is not an overstatement that Ben managed himself admirably and certainly would have earn some credits for future AFL coaching roles – and yes, Senior coaching roles as well

For those of not at an elite sport and experiencing a range of challenges in our roles as coaches what are the options if we are stuck in a rut? These include, but are definitely not limited to, Club President relationships, operational logistics, selection dilemmas and of course, the plethora of unavoidable difficulties in ensuring players get at least some experience in winning    – and yes by that I mean your final score is greater than your opponents. 

Most community coaches have developed small and valuable  support networks to build confidence in their ability to have the most impact. But these are notoriously vulnerable and do not usually deliver a framework for development for the coach in their career. They offer a survival service more than a developmental one and resemble the medical equivalent of an ambulance. Amazing when you really need help but they are not going to get to hold up the premiership cup are they?

Professions like teaching have unions and these definitely offer a step up in terms of support with workplaces disputes and camaraderie with fellow members.   

Once again, their are challenges around making full use of these services and around furthering yourself professionally. While unions are essential to the industry and outstanding value when employment is upsetting or even untenable, empowering you to have the most impact is NOT what you could be paying over two dollars a day for.

An organisation that unites you with people and resources to do be more than be boat that does not sink is what, at community level is truly needed. 

Additionally, there needs to be service that works with your club/associations and governing bodies to potentiate the outcomes for coaches collectively and for individual coaches/ officials and administrators. Such a service would make being a coach more enticing and keep people involved for extended period of times. It is this longevity and growth of coaches that has the greatest impact on producing life-long contributors to community health and just as importantly, creating more coaches to develop local talent to sustained performance at the high levels of their sport/s.

An organisation that offers a hybrid solution will help when the brown stuff hits the fan but emphasises cultivating a striving mindset and the environment to achieve what we (TASSACC) and you (coach/official/administrator) really want – to have the greatest impact on other people YOU can. 

This could be as simple remaining accredited and pleased to coach in your local area. 

Or more significantly, working with you to develop and deliver a professional development plan to make coaching your main source of income.

The TASmanian Sport And Coaching Collective  is developing a service model to build the capacity of coaches, officials and administrators in TASmanian sport and recreation at all levels. 

In real terms. TASSACC, would not only help you to NOT get stuck in a rut, but make unstuckable. (Not  actually word but a concept well explained by the Graphic Recorder – below)

We want to hear from people who at all levels of sport and recreation what this ‘Unite. Strive. Achieve’ service would include, how it would be delivered and what investment you would be prepared to make?

Please leave a comment below and remember to always;

Unite. Strive. Achieve

Peter Hope


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