This morning I needed to buy some play sand for some new sandbags I was filling for today’s workout. So I decided to stop at Lowe’s. I had heard all these fantastic things about them. It was was convenient, on my way to library to return some overdue books. Walked in and could not find anybody to ask where the sand was, finally after about five minutes I found a worker who directed me to aisle five at the other end of the store. So I hiked to the opposite end of the store (enough distance I might add to log as part of my training today) and found the exact sport. No play sand, everything but. So now I start another search for someone to help, none to be found, so I went tot he front of the garden section, where the play sand was supposed to reside in aisle five and asked the cashier. She did not know what play sand was, after a careful explanation with a quite graphic example about how it could be used as kitty litters as an emergency substitute she left her post and started to help, but then some customers who actually had found something they could buy appeared. She said I am only one here and I can’t help, so I graciously thanked and drove to Home Depot where they to directed to the play sand and the guy in charge of play sand who actually knew what it was and was interested in how I was going to use it.
The mortal of this story, hopefully not a rant by an old man, is that it is all about the customer and their experience. In coaching it is all about the athlete and their experience. The lesson I was reminded of and an important principle of coaching that I usually observe is that is what is convenient is not always right. Lowe’s was convenient, obviously not right and I should have figured that out as soon I was in the store for two minutes. This may seem like a real stretch to relate this incident to coaching but all the conversations with my coaching colleagues this past week in Orlando always came back to putting the focus on the athlete. Watching and listening to them. Coaching is not something you do to the athlete, it is something you do with the athlete. Coaching is not something you do, it is something you are. I drove home yesterday after talking to one of mentors, Dr Joe Vigil, the conversation reminded how coaching is at the core his being, that is where we all should be, so create the best experience you can for you and your athletes.