059 - understanding what coaches are looking for...

There's an old story about George Clooney when he was first coming up in the acting business, and he was auditioning for positions. He'd try and try and try, and to no avail, he'd keep being rejected for roles. One day, he realised that instead of focusing on himself, he should try and place himself in the director's shoe's and become the kind of person they were looking for. Instead of focusing internally on what he wanted, he'd become so good for the role that they couldn't ignore him. The end result, well, you can guess that one

Adam Krikorian is head coach of the USA's Senior Women's Water Polo team, and in his conversation with Michael Gervais on the "Finding Mastery " podcast, Krikorian eludes to something quite interesting... he states that when he's selecting his team, he's not looking for individual superstars, he's looking for great team players who have amazing skills

And it's a viewpoint that not many YA + A's of today adopt, as they struggle to get outside of themselves and try to see the world through others eyes. We're so internally focused: "I need to do "x"... I have to try and do "y"... If only I could "a", then "b" would be so much easier"

It's a terrible place to be in and not the best questions to be asking themselves. Instead, they shouldn't be looking at themselves as an individual, but rather the team, and where they fit into it... what will the coach be looking for from a player who plays my position? What are my roles and jobs and how can I best showcase my skills at executing them? How can I be the best team player there is and still be an individual standout? How can I showcase and show interest in developing my leadership skills?

These are the thoughts of questions YA + A's should be thinking about when it comes to trialling for squads. Yes, their individual performances matter immensely, but focusing solely on themselves can leave them wanting, as in the majority of group sports, coaches will be thinking "I can teach them the physical skills, but I can't teach them to be a part of a team or culture"

Just something to ponder on if you're going up for a squad selection soon...

Actionable Tips + Questions:

  • What's the key role/job for your position within your sport? What are the key skills you need to develop physically and mentally to be a standout?
  • What's your coach going to be looking for from an individual and a team perspective?
  • How can you work on your leadership? Maybe not as a captain, but as someone who can round people up when shit hits the fan and keeps people on track...
Nick Maier