One summer I worked at a summer camp in New York as the baseball instructor. With a lot of rainfall and being an outdoor sport, the camp’s procedures for a storm were to be F n A. Whatever connotation you’re thinking of is wrong – it stands for Flexible and Adaptable (F n A).
The first couple times I heard it of course I chuckled that a kid’s camp would have such a “foul” acronym but it really taught me how to think on my toes, especially when we were outside one minute then in a gym the next.
Coaches approach practice with a goal of what they plan to accomplish every day. Some days are light, others are more strenuous, but regardless there is always a practice plan and goal to accomplish. Practices are intended to stress mental and physical abilities in order to get the most improvement out of athletes.
Rarely do all the players on the team mentally and physically give 100 percent in practice. Coaches must find ways to push players near the 100 percent mark. This maximum potential does not necessarily mean having physical practices every day. A lot of developing potential from the student-athlete relies heavily on the player-coach communicative relationship.
The five characteristics of being flexible and adaptable are confidence, tolerance, empathy, positivity and respect for others.
These five attributes are directly related to your coaching style and how the relationship between you and your student-athletes will be.
Coaches are challenged in the two different athletic environments of training and competition. How willing are you to adapt in a match where there is minimal time to focus on a skillset or will you have the same patience in a match that you do in practice? As coaches, we have an obligation to adapt to uncertain attitudes presented to us daily.
When in a training environment, coaches have the ability to be more flexible rather than adaptable because of the allotted amount of time to review situations. Practice and training are the best times to implement a versatile mindset into the player’s thought process.
During a match, however, coaches have to think quickly and adapt to the fast paced volleyball environment. The quick environment relies heavily on instinct in regards of how to maximize performance and attitudes from players and staff. In the competitive setting, a coaching staff has to be aware of their body language being radiated to the players and cognizant of what messages are being sent. Coaches also have to be wired to win and it is not about potential but performance.
How adaptable of a coach are you? Are you a coach that listens to what your players have to say and allow input or do you send a message that your way is the only way?
Do you have a flexible enough personality to empathize with those you are coaching and still maintain an authoritative role in the program?