Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Trust and Respect (Guest post by Jim Pedro, Sr.)

The topic for the USJF/ USJA National Coaches Conference banquet I was given was "What I know now I wish I knew when I began coaching."

First of all, I began coaching because I wanted training partners. So, I started my own club, with a lot of juniors and I thought I would train them until they got older and I would have people to work out with. In my early years, I had a partner. He was very different than me. Anyone can tell you, I am not there to be the players' friend. Once in a very great while, I may go out with the team but generally not. Practice is over, people look around and ask Jimmy,
"Where's your dad?"
and he says,
"Oh, he went home."

My partner was completely different. He always had a pat on the back, a joke, a "Hey, how are you? Where you been?"

Me, I was the one who always kicked people in the @$$ and made them work harder. One thing I learned early on that people are different but anybody can win. It is just what it takes to make them win. Some people need to get kicked in the @$$ to train their hardest, while others don't. The key point is that you have to make them train their hardest no matter what. Then, when you get to the contest, everyone has a chance to win because all of them have done their absolute maximum effort up to this point.

The funny thing is, years later, how many of those players who came back to see me, to thank me, or just to visit at my club, and how few of them came back to see my partner. They learned to trust me. They learned to respect my judgment because they knew when I went home I was thinking about them on the way home, watching videotapes of their matches, reading books about how to be a better coach.

I am not there for my players to like me. I don't care if they like me or not. I am there to always work towards their best interests. Even if it takes a kick in the @$$. They may not like me at that moment but in the long run they realize I have their best interest at heart and they come to trust me.

The second point, and AnnMaria and I always argue about this, is I don't care if they win or not. Certainly, I like for my players to win, but if they have done their very best leading up to here, and it just doesn't happen to be their day, how can they be a loser. If you have done the best you possibly can and come to your highest level and you end up winning the senior nationals but never do a thing internationally, then you're a winner because you have achieved your maximum potential.

Last of all, I want to leave you with this trust and respect are the two essentials of coaching. You can have all the technical knowledge in the world but if your players don't trust you and don't respect you, you won't be effective. On the other hand, if they DO trust you and they DO respect you, they will do anything for you and there is no limit to what you can accomplish.

[I just want to add here how impressed I am with my fellow board members on this new board. Neil Ohlenkamp convinced me that I should be more involved on the Internet more. I couldn't see getting carried away and starting a blog but I will be trying to offer my thoughts here from time to time for better communication with our USJA members.]
=========================Editorial Note

P.S. Although Jim Pedro,SR. did not say this, I just thought I would add here that he was elected vice-president of the United States Judo Association this weekend. Congratulations.


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