Good Coaching vs Great Coaching

Imagine watching as your child stands at the crease, the bowler trotting toward them, intent on sending a thunderous delivery right through centre stump. As the ball shoots out of their fingers and rockets down the pitch, your child deftly moves their feet and greets the menacing delivery with the full-face of his bat, sending it right back over the bowler’s head all the way to the boundary.

A big smile erupts on their face. It’s a look of euphoria, excitement and surprise. They’ve never struck the ball so well, with such confidence, precision and poise. You watch on, your mouth open, as they play shot after shot, perfectly timing and placing deliveries into the gaps. The bowlers seem to have no answer as their score increases steadily and they lead their team to victory.

After the game, they rush up to you, more confident and open than you’ve seen them in months. They’ve rediscovered their joy for the game. You talk about that wonderful cover drive they played – a lot like how you used to play actually – and you’re filled with a sense of pride and joy to see them so happy. Their passion for the game has come back – and so has their confidence.

During the week, you come home from work after a long day. You chat to your child and they tell you about their day at school. Their grades have been improving and they’ve made new friends. The teachers even commented about their increased participation in class. Your partner flashes you a knowing smile and you enjoy a relaxed evening with your family; a needed recharge before heading off to work again tomorrow.

The next weekend arrives, and you pull up to the game with your child. They are still riding their excitement from the previous weekend. They warm up with their teammates, smiling and laughing. Soon the game starts and rushes to the crease, hoping to repeat their performance, to once again be the star player of the team.
They stand at the crease, memories of last week flashing through their mind. The bowler charges down the pitch and sends a delivery crashing through centre stump…

The opposition cheer and your child is out… for a golden duck. The excitement is gone in an instant. Their head hangs low. And though you hate to admit it, so does yours.

As they walk off the field, you’re preparing yourself to console them. To conjure those reassuring words that let them know it’s not the end of the world, that these things happen. They usually handle moments like these very poorly. They become withdrawn and sullen. But what happens next is quite peculiar. They stride off the field with their bat under their arm and their head held high.

As you approach, your child talks first. They explain to you that they know exactly what happened; they got too excited and took their eyes off the ball. Just like their coach had warned them about. In a strange twist, they tell you that these things happen and they’ll fix it for the future. They smile and clap as their teammate walks onto the field to take their place.

You stand there a little stunned. Is this the same young child who just months ago would close up for days if something didn’t go their way? The same child who would stop communicating to you, bury themself in video games, and sulk for weeks?

And now?

Well, now… they’ve changed. They seem more confident, patient and resilient. Precisely the kind of qualities you want in your child. Because life won’t always be easy, yours certainly wasn’t, and though you’ll provide handsomely for them, you know they’ll face challenges and they need to be able to deal with them. If this is any indication, they seem to be heading the right way. As you watch on, your child slowly growing into an adult, your heart swells with pride.

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