Take what you do seriously but not yourself!
A lot of my blogs may feel like they are not tennis specific. I tend to write to get people thinking and there is enough reinventing of the wheel going on in the tennis world so I like to write about generic coaching principles which could potentially lead to developments (don’t like the word change) of behaviour. After all that is our job, to develop people who play sport.
In this blog I’m reflecting on perception versus reality and how it can influence some into changing their true self and others into sticking with something that is detrimental to those around them.
Whatever your views are, I hope you take a minute to read it and get something from it. I have written it with good intentions.
It is often said us Scots are good at poking fun at ourselves. When you look like I do it provides quite a lot of ammunition for jokes. I do think it is the Scottish way to banter and a fair percentage of our banter is self deprecating. It is interesting how that can lead to polar perceptions being had. I have had many people tell me I need to be more sure of my abilities and believe in myself more. However on the flip side I’ve also had some people say I think I am the man! Can’t win I guess.
Over the years I have become desensitised to opinions whereas I used to take them very personally. I can’t force anything on anyone and it is up to them to conclude what they want about me. What I can say for sure is that I do take my work very seriously and myself not seriously at all.
This has pros & cons:
Pros – I get on with most people and am very approachable. 20 years ago I never thought I would have said this about myself but I have turned into quite a good mediator. I can see the opinions of both sides of most arguments and like to play devils advocate with both. That doesn’t always end well unfortunately.
Cons – are that some mix up the two and sometimes think I am not serious about my work. Those who know me well will know that is so far from the truth. If anything I take tennis too seriously and need to chill out and detach from it more often (he says as he writes a blog in his lunch hour).
So what does this have to do with coaching?
Perception is reality. As a coach how you are perceived by the majority of people will have a massive influence on your development. However you cannot fake it till you make it when it comes to your personality so my advice to any young coach setting out is stay true to yourself. If you are comfortable in yourself and it has a positive influence on the majority of the people around you then stick with it and become your best self.
However if you reflect and see you are the common denominator in consistent grief following you around then perhaps you have to take a look in the mirror and look to make some fundamental changes. This will be an uncomfortable thing to do and most will remain in denial.
Here is the reality of this post….
Some of you will read this and think it is sound advice coming from someone who just wants to help.
Some of you will read this and think it is self indulgent and ‘who does this guy think he is?’
If you are thinking the former you are correct, if you are thinking the latter, I’m a fisherman’s son from the NE of Scotland and I’m proud of it. I don’t come from a typical tennis background and I have my feet more than firmly on the ground. If you ever meet me you’ll see that and if you meet me and still think I’m full of myself then I can handle that too.