Everyone* knows that the key to victory in any sporting event is taking care of the 1%ers. It is one of those pieces of conventional wisdom that we take for granted these days. When those people* talk about 1%ers they are most often referring to very small technical or tactical areas or even the 1% extra effort required to be successful. Some coaches have gone as far as to identify what those 1%ers are and measure them.
For those keeping track at home, I think a lot about how the team functions, about ‘The Secret’, about the interactions within the team. While everyone* knows that the functioning of the team is really, really important, many (most?) coaches do not actually spend time on those elements. And they would certainly never give up actual training time to work on them. Indeed coaches are notoriously loathe to voluntarily cut practice time for any reason at all. And when building a team, they will always take the player who is the slightly better player over the player who is nearly as good but is a better fit in the team.
For those reasons it was interesting and refreshing to hear a recent interview with Anna Collier on The Net Live. Anna is coach of the USC women’s beach volleyball team which has won the last two NCAA championships. In the interview she talks of the evolution of her coaching from being a coach interested only in technical development to one being primarily interested in establishing an effective team culture.
“I learned that to me if we have a problem on the team… (fixing that problem) is more valuable than hitting that high line a hundred more times.”
If I can interpret her philosophy, she considers the team culture to be a 1%er and subsequently devotes part of her time with the team to developing them.
Maybe coaching isn’t just about techniques and tactics.
You can listen to the whole interview here from about the 37 minute mark.
*When you read ‘everyone’ or ‘people say’ do you ever ask ‘which people?’ or do you just accept the statement as given?
Read about the great new Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.