This week we Talk About Coaching!


Getting an hour of Elite Camps founder Stephanie Rudnick‘s time for a podcast interview was a coup. Stephanie agreed to do the interview when our sons were practicing basketball at a high school.  We looked for an open classroom in the high school, but alas, the doors were all locked. We finally sat down at the end of a corridor, far from the bouncing basketballs. With my microphone between us on the on the cold, filthy floor, we sat face-to-face and started to talk. The school janitor came up a few minutes later and respectfully asked if we were having a therapy session! Yes, the conversation was that intense. Stephanie is passionate and highly knowledgable about youth sports and coaching.  What a privilege it was to interview her. Thank you, Stephanie!

Life is a Sport book by Stephanie Rudnick

This week’s podcast focusing on COACHING covers relevant lessons for all of us in our roles as coach, teacher, manager and/or parent.  You will learn specifics about the ideal coaching mindset, common mistakes for rookie coaches, and specific advice for parents.

Stephanie’s general philosophy is summed up in her book, “Life is a Sport.” Essentially, the lessons that young athletes learn on the court (and on the bench and in the locker room) prepare them for success in life.  That means that coaches have a significant impact — and therefore responsibility. In Stephanie’s words, “You’re going to have impact if you care. And you can show kids you care by showing up every single week and doing your best. They will likely learn either because of you, or in spite of you.”  Daunting?  Yes, perhaps.  As a coach you are teaching and modelling life skills.


Bill Bradley quote

If you’re looking for evidence that “Life is a Sport,” consider how sports metaphors have permeated our language. You probably use and hear these metaphors without consciously making the connection between life and sports:


“It’s time for a full court press”

“That was a slam dunk”

“They’ve got bench strength”

horseback riding

“Down to the wire”


“The ball is in their court”


“In your wheelhouse”

“That’s bush league”


“Down for the count”


“We dropped the ball”

“Hail Mary!!”


Certainly we can apply these coaching insights across other domains: counsellor, therapist, financial planner, fitness trainer, nutritionist, tutor, teacher, parent… There are some important differences and synergies worth noting:John Wooden quote about coaching

  • While coaching focuses on specific tasks or objectives, mentoring focuses on general goals or overall development.
  • I remember reading somewhere that the main difference between teaching and coaching is that teaching is about the teacher, while coaching is about the student or the athlete.  I beg to differ! Good teachers focus on their students.  Good coaches focus on their athletes. Good managers focus on their subordinates.  And good parents focus on their kids.  As Stephanie says, “Leave your ego out of coaching. Put the WE before the ME.”
  • If you’re looking to take your coaching/teaching/managing/parenting to the next level, just look outside your domain at the other coaches/teachers/managers/parents!
  • A note on differences between coaching individuals versus teams: Coaching a team is about enabling the group to perform. Coaching one individual is more customized and more confidential. 
  • Many people assert that teachers are grossly underpaid. Parents are paid with … There is some debate about volunteer versus paid coaches.  There is also debate surrounding the astronomical salaries of some professional coaches. Are they worth it? Top paid coaches in the world earn between $10-25million US per year. They are typically football (both European and American) or NBA basketball coaches.


The GROW model of life-coaching was popular in the 1980s and 1990s and has been explored in other domains, including management and sports.  GROW is an acronym that stands for:

  • Goal – the endpoint, what you want to achieve
  • Reality – current status
  • Obstacles (challenges) and Options (alternatives for how to meet the goal)
  • Will or Way forward – the path to followJohn Wooden quote 3 about coaching

Seems like an obvious process to follow, right?  Of course, coaching can get a lot more complicated. Consider first, the three main coaching STYLES:

  • autocratic (do as I say)
  • democratic (involve the athletes in decision making)
  • laissez-faire (let athletes do what they want)

Then there is the debate regarding COACHING PHILOSOPHY. We have all heard criticisms regarding the everyone gets a trophy philosophy.  But there is some research showing that at least at a younger age, there is benefit to celebrating participation.  On the other end of the spectrum, perhaps more appropriate for older athletes, is the “Kids need grit, let them fail” philosophy.

7 Secrets of Successful Coaches book - Janssen and DaleAnd last, I encourage you to consider this list of 7 SECRETS OF SUCCESSFUL COACHES by Jeff Janssen and Greg Dale. (By the way, Stephanie mentions all of these “secrets” in the podcast!):

  1. Character-based – Integrity is key.  Coaches are role models.
  2. Competent – Coaches don’t necessarily need to be great athletes, but they do need to know the strategies and the fundamentals
  3. Committed – Great coaches spend the time and share their passion.
  4. Caring – Great coaches get to know their athletes as individual people.
  5. Confidence-builders – Research shows that athletes respond more favourably to coaches who focus on building confidence and mastery.  And not surprisingly, athletes reflect their coaches’ level of confidence – or anxiety.
  6. Consistent – Remember what Stephanie said about “choose your rules and stick with them”…?
  7. COMMUNICATORS – That’s what we’re talking about here at TalkAboutTalk! Your words, your facial expression, your body-language – it all matters.  Great coaches are great communicators.


Every week we share a few quotes worth talking about.  This week we focus on COACHING and SPORTS:

Coaching quote 1

quote about Coaching

About Coaching quote 3

I hope you enjoy this week’s podcast on COACHING. 

As always, I would❤️ to talk! I appreciate your suggestions, your topic ideas, and anything else you would like to talk about. You can always connect with me at

PLEASE forward this email or this link to your favourite coach – or to anyone you think might be interested in learning and Talking About all things “Communication.”  Thank you!!!


Andrea Wojnicki

Founder & Chief Talker – TalkAboutTalk

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