The every day life of the coach is an endless succession of decisions that need to be made. A few of them are important ‘big picture’ decisions. Most of them are throwaway decisions on small logistical or peripheral issues. Some of them are directly related to the team and practice and related issues. There are even decisions that don’t feel like decisions at the time, like who you talk to and how. What all of these decisions have in common is that they affect the lives of many people.
The decisions that players pay the most attention to are decisions in which the coach chooses one player over another. When one player is talked to, another is not. When one player is given feedback, another is not. When player is disciplined, another is not. Players always know who is the favourite and who is being treated unfairly.
Every time the coach picks groups, for a drill or scrimmage, or any group work, players are making judgements about their position in the group, about potential playing time, about opportunity. Are there more starters on this side or that side? Does that mean I am a starter or not? Why do I never get to play with the first setter? If I am always against the best blocker I can’t show what I can do.
Of the multitude of decisions made by the coach, few of them resonate with them. But all decisions resonate with someone. As coach you can never forget that everything you do means something.
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