At some point you will be a coach, whether you know it or not!

If you’re a parent or have anything to do with kids, this blog post applies to you.

I sit many days and watch elite athletes perform. In all cases, the coach is a big part of this performance. I have the opportunity to watch, and work with, coaches at all levels of sport – from pee wee to professional.

First, I respect all coaches for taking the initiative to making a difference. Impacting the life of a young athlete is important. Trust me – the influence of a coach stays with an athlete and shapes who they are. I see this impact  everyday – both positive and negative.Coach Image for Blog

In my work with leading performers, I place a primary emphasis on fundamentals. If fundamentals are mastered, there is an opportunity to customize to the individual and introduce new levels of knowledge. If fundamentals are not mastered, there is a constant struggle to move forward and make progress. An example would be a lack of self-awareness in an elite athlete or even corporate leader. If an elite athlete or corporate leader does not have self-knowledge and simply understand the very keys that make them tick – there is a constant struggle to master other, more complex competencies.

So what does a coach need? What are the fundamentals that can allow a Coach to soar to new levels and help individuals/teams reach their potential?

The Aspen Institute’s “Project Play” has done some nice research to help Coaches understand what is important to an athlete – that will help the young athlete play their best … enjoy sports and keep playing. It is a simple list of what athletes would like from a Coach – what they need to play well and play their best. We could call this list the coaching “fundamentals”.

From my own experience watching the best athletes and their coaches – this list is a fantastic start. I’m not sure that most coaches can say they are skilled at all fundamentals on this list. Most have several, but it is unusual for a Coach to have them all.

If you are a coach, start with this list. If you work on these fundamentals, you will be a coach that will influence young people in the best way and provide them the opportunity to both enjoy sport … and grow as an athlete – and person.

To see the Aspen Institute’s entire report – please see