Friday, May 19, 2017

What teachers can learn from coaches


Yesterday I wrote a post titled What PLCs can learn from coaches. I think there's a lot of great coaching practices that are really effective teaching strategies that could and should be used in the classroom. Today I'm going to share one coaching strategy that is important for a successful classroom. 


I recently attended my daughter's basketball banquet for her college basketball team. At the banquet, Mike Ricks, the head coach who just finished his second season with the team, shared a little with the attendees about the basketball program.

The first thing Coach Ricks talked about was culture. When Coach Ricks took over the program two years ago, the program was not a successful one. Coach "inherited" players who were invested in the school and program who had to adjust to a new way of doing things. He needed buy in from the returning players, even more so than from the new players coming in.


Coach Ricks and his staff wanted the program to feel completely new. They set out to do a complete overhaul on expectations, the definition of TEAM, as well as style of play. 

Now, we need to remember, these are college players. Those who love the sport. Those who want to play at the next level. These are the self-motivated, self-disciplined players, right? Coach Ricks and his staff can take the motivation piece for granted... right?

Coach Ricks and his staff have done A LOT of things to motivate the players. 

Just check out their locker room...







Do we agree that classrooms can impact students' motivation, interest, and behavior?  Coach Ricks was very intentional about the physical space he has created for the women's basketball team. He sends a clear and consistent message about team unity, hard work, and "The Panther Way." The players also go through Camp Five as part of their pre-season where they have mental breakthroughs and learn to depend on each other physically and emotionally.

It would be easy to say that the players are motivated and decorating the locker room or having a theme or motto aren't necessary. Do you believe that Coach Ricks sees himself as a motivator as much as a teacher of the game of basketball? Do classroom teachers see themselves as motivators as much as they see themselves as teachers of a content area?

What can teachers learn from coaches? We need to MOTIVATE our students, from the least motivated to the most motivated. We have an impact on their motivation, positively or negatively, by what we DO or DON'T DO.

Let's create opportunities for students to team-build together, let's create inviting and motivating spaces, let's encourage and uplift, let's protect each other, and let's wrap up our "season" with a celebration (not just semester exams). Let's see ourselves as motivators.

Motivating others is not easy, but it's possible. Start talking to the successful coaches you know. I bet they all know ways to motivate others!





Do you know any successful coaches and how they motivate their players? I would love to hear from you in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter. 





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