Finger Pointing

finger_pointing

By Coach Ron Wolforth

 

All through the year, but especially around this time of year, I receive an influx of correspondence from coaches, parents and athletes. Unfortunately, what is commonplace is what I refer to as a great deal of ‘finger pointing’ behavior.

 

“The coach is incompetent and political…the parents are unreasonable and self-centered…the player is undisciplined and under committed”.

 

…And those are the reasons for my under achievement and unhappiness.

 

My answer to these correspondences is always the same.

 

“I’ve been where you are. As a player, I occasionally felt that my coaches did more harm than good. They often appeared to have favorites. Sometimes they were arrogant or incompetent. Many times I felt they were hypocritical and demanded things of me and my teammates that they refused to demand similar things of themselves.  A majority of the time I felt managed instead of lead.  Far too frequently I felt that I was forced to achieve gains in spite of them and their environment and not because of them. Rarely did coaches have any significant respect to what I wanted or thought or felt.  Many times I felt they believed I was a young skull full of mush, incapable of deep deliberation or decision making ability. I was a cog in a piece of machinery and I needed to simply accept my role. And almost always…once they made the decision that I couldn’t do X…the dye was cast…in their minds I would NEVER be able to do X. ”

 

“As a young coach, I found many parents simply incapable of reasonable assessment of their son/daughter. Some were poisonous and cancerous to our team chemistry. Others were meddling and interfered with our processes and culture. Others were extremely needy and wanted to constantly manipulate or shape the landscape for their child’s advantage. Most of the time I found parents complicated my job …and not in a good way.”

 

“As a parent, I frequently found coaches more interested in their own self-interests than in the development of the athlete or of the team as a group. I routinely found that the mental, emotional and physical health of the athlete was of tertiary importance and even for some coaches, it was simply a politically correct sound bite to be used to prove they had honorable intent. Rarely if ever was I viewed as a contributing member of the team culture as a whole…instead I was viewed as a necessary evil. Someone had to give birth and raise this ‘soldier’…now it was my job to hand my kid over to this ‘expert’ and shut up and sit down or go away.”

 

“Again, as a young coach I found many of my players undisciplined, self-centered, self-important and lacking deep drive and determination. Many of them were not self-starters nor self-reliant. If I asked them to do X, they will do 3/4X and look around to see if they could short cut or abbreviate the process.  Too many of my players were more interested in their own performance than they were of our team. Far too frequently my players exhibited bad body language, victimology and otherwise ‘spoiled’ behavior when things didn’t go their way.  Rare was the player who did extra without direction or being compelled to by the staff. Too many formed cliques and small circles of influence in order to protect themselves, and shape things in their self-interest instead of creating a unified team culture based on deep brotherhood/ sisterhood.”

 

Does that about cover it? I’ve been a player, a coach and a parent.

 

John Wooden once said: ‘Funny thing the Lord did with finger pointing. If you notice for every finger pointing to someone else, there are three pointing back at you.”

 

As I grew older and I had been ALL of the above…I decided to make a change. I stopped focusing on the short comings of others. While I’m absolutely certain some of that critique is valid and accurate, the critical question remains… “What exactly is within my direct power to control?”

 

That answer was clear.  I could control 3 primary things. The rest was a waste of energy.

 

1. I could control what I focused on…my priorities.

 

2. I could control what things meant to me personally…my interpretation of events.

 

3. I could control what I did…what actions I took.

 

That was it.

 

All the rest was just distraction. The rest was complication. The rest was anxiety, frustration, indigestion and the gnashing of teeth.

 

My heartfelt advice to you from someone who has made the mistakes of all the above…understand what John Wooden said about finger pointing.  Dedicate yourself to the 3 things you can control and let the rest go. I find high performance is a CHOICE…not luck.

 

 

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We believe The Texas Baseball Ranch® is a great place to focus on your priorities.  We’d love to  have you join us this summer.  Elite Pitchers Boot Camp and Summer Program information is available at www.TexasBaseballRanch.com and click on the Events tab.

 

 

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