3 Things Coaching Youth Sports Taught Me About Times Of Crisis

Coach talking to youth sports team

By: Dan Sedor, Strategic Growth Advisor & Certified EOS Implementer® at Leadership Resources

Right now it seems that everybody is focused on COVID-19 and the negative impact it’s having on their businesses. Instead, I think we need to treat this pandemic like we’re coaching a youth sports team. Let’s make a game out of it.

I’m not suggesting we literally treat the current situation like a game. Businesses are struggling, family members are sick, and people are worried about their jobs. 

Here’s what I mean, instead: when business owners and employees get so bogged down by negativity, the business is at greater and greater risk of being destroyed by the current crisis.The reality is, before this pandemic, there were always unforeseen issues that could cause a company to stumble. We always lost key people at key moments. We always had high expectations for projects and processes that didn’t pan out.

And let’s remember that our competitors have always done things to wear us down, distract us, push us to make things too complex, and cause us to lose market share. The point I’m trying to make here is that it might be a “novel coronavirus,” but it’s not a novel situation. We’ve always had extremely tough barriers to success.

How Coaching Sports Helps Handle Crisis

1. Focus on What You Control & Your Desired Outcomes

In my personal experience as a football coach of a team of nine and ten-year-olds, my job is to focus on what’s within my team’s control and help the kids focus on what’s within their control individually. The competition is always there to beat you and the environment in which you’re playing may at times feel unfair. 

What can you personally do about it?

Ultimately, we’ve always made a game out of it. And while everyone wants to win, what’s most important is the path you take to get there. Each individual must stay absolutely focused on what’s within your control and what can be changed in order to reach the desired outcome.

For example, think about the opposing team on the football field. You can’t control any individual opponent and you can’t control exactly how the ball is going to go down the field on every play. As the game progresses, you don’t know if the other team is going to blitz on one side of the defensive line or another. 

What’s within your control is making sound decisions and quickly adapting to whatever happens.

2. Build Systems of Flexibility

Just as in youth sports, this pandemic is going to cause us to lose some yardage on one play and gain some yardage on others. Some weeks are going to be extremely tough and discouraging. 

But it’s our job to stay flexible and outfox the situation as much as possible.

Now is not the time to give up! So let’s make a game out of this. The pandemic is merely exposing gaps in our business processes, marketing strategies, and within our teams. Let’s think like youth sports coaches and find new ways to stay nimble and positive as we pursue advantageous solutions.

Some of my clients using EOS® are having record quarters right now. They even feel guilty about it because the pandemic is affecting so many people so harshly, yet their company is flourishing.

I also have clients who have lost 60% of their revenue from major sources. What a huge blow. But I’m happy to say that these companies are taking steps to learn from all this and come out on the other side better, stronger, and more prepared for whatever is to come in the future.

3. Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

We owe it to our teams to simplify things for them during a time of panic and confusion. They need us to boil things down to simple business concepts that will allow them to maintain their focus. During this pandemic, take a moment to marvel at how complicated your company’s goals have become and take the opportunity to hone your messages into simpler concepts your team can grasp right now. 

Coach, your team is feeling overwhelmed. So what’s truly important?

Look to your company’s core values and focus on values that fit into categories such as teamwork, determination, collaboration, and positivity. Allow those core values to bolster your confidence during this time of global crisis.

Let’s make a game out of it. We can win by taking this pandemic one play at a time and showing some good sportsmanship. Now’s the time to tap into your competitive side, play a strong game, and refuse to be broken no matter what the scoreboard says.

About Dan Sedor

Dan Sedor is a Strategic Growth Advisor and Certified EOS Implementer™, as well as a founding partner at Leadership Resources. Dan is also the author of the book, “Model Coach” available on Amazon and utilizes the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS®) and customized strategic planning to help clients gain traction and grow their business. Dan is active in the community and enjoys coaching youth sports, attending country music festivals, and spending time with family.

Learn more about Dan’s work and the Entrepreneurial Operating System now!

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