As coaches, we often find ourselves busy with what's on our plate that we don't take the time to recognize what influences us. Everything we hear, what we read, what we see, what we learn all influences us and the coach we become. There are coaches we look up to in the community who's styles on deck resonate with who we strive to become. Certain channels of media we follow inspire us to dive deeper into topics, products, and brands. With the growth mindset we feed, we look to what's changing in the sport and stay up to date on the latest trends that can help us reach our goals. No matter what all of these might be for you, we as coaches, want to stay in the know.
Congratulations, you are the target market, the ultimate influencer. None of the trends, brands, products, or topics would make sense without coaches. What does that mean for us?
Individual Coach Influence
As you write your workouts for the day, it sets the tone for the practice you will coach tonight. You have a chance everyday to influence your athletes on deck. How you handle challenges in the training environment will influence how an athlete performs in different situations. When you support an athlete through training highs and lows, those responses shape who they will become in the sport, every interaction matters. As a leader you have the ability to impact and influence each athlete everyday in your program. That's a powerful responsibility and not to be taken lightly.
Team Culture Influence
The type of team environment you have, influences how an athlete will develop throughout your program.
Do you have a staff that encourages each other to embrace their roles and thrive in their profession?
Is your team forward thinking and working in sync to achieve team goals?
Has your coaching staff created space for growth and professional development?
Does your team make room for parents to feel included in your team missions?
How do you inspire athletes to reach their highest potential while in your program?
All of these pieces, and more build team culture. No single team will approach these areas in the same way, diversity is what makes teams thrive. Make sure your culture is at pinnacle of your team goals.
Team Identity Influence
When selecting the products you want to streamline throughout your team, think about the identity of those products.
Who are you supporting with those purchases and does that company support your team?
Does that company or business serve your community?
How can you give back with a strong identity to those that support you?
In the words of Colin Farris " Team Sponsorship Is More Than Just A Polo". Make sure the business' and people you choose to partner with identify with the mission and vision of your program, one size doesn't fit all. The goal of any company is to build a relationship to get closer to the customer base, you get to decide how that works within your team. An easy comparison would be, your team goal is to grow your lessons program so you are striving to gain more participants in that age group. In the same way, a company whether that be a local business or a brand sponsor would strive to build relationships with customers that would buy their products or services.
What works for one team doesn't mean it will work for your team, find what's right for you. Streamlining your products to one brand sponsor that supports your team is far more advantages than supporting nobody and getting nothing in return. Be proud to be a partner with all of your team sponsors. Seek out those partnerships that seek to strengthen your team identity and work to help you become a stronger team, in and out of the water. Lead with example, teach athletes what it means to lead in a relationship like that so they learn to thrive in future endeavors. You are the influencer, embrace this opportunity for the betterment of your program.
Team Social Media Influence
How you choose to showcase your team should align with that of your team culture.
Who do you want to attract?
How do you want to be viewed?
What group of people are you targeting for program growth?
Do you showcase your staff, coaches, programs, and culture in a way that inspires others to join your program?
How are you utilizing this influence to help you reach your team goals?
Do you track your media reach, success, and engagement monthly the way you track times at an athletes times at a meet?
Do you highlight team products, services, brand partners, sponsors, and team dealers on your social media?
How you chose to influence your team social followers is completely up to you, just make sure everything always leads back to the mission, vision, and culture of your team. Be sure you are thanking those that support you along the way and build an equally strong team identity through your social media influence. Like it or not, it's an essential part of today's culture, leaning into it now will help you excel in the future.
One of our cabinet coaches, Jon Sakovich, is inspired by a quote that speaks volumes about influence and leadership that we want to share with you today:
"This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever. In its place is something that you have left behind. Let it be something good."
You decide how you lead your team, influence your community, and do your part to advance athletes throughout the sport of swimming. You are your own brand, your own identity, and the ultimate influencer. Let what you leave behind be something good.