With the publication of The Athlete Centered Coach, Bill Patton is working hard to influence sports culture globally. There is a revolution going on in coaching, and Bill has always colored outside the lines, so he is ready for new lines to be drawn. He used to take his toys apart to see how they worked. He turned those experiences into
a strength. Now he creates innovative templates so that others can build on success and make it their own.
He is most proud of winning an NCS Championship and becoming a published author for the first time. Once when trying to speak another language to a player, he thought he was asking if she was embarrassed, but he used the word for pregnant. That got sorted out later.
Bill Patton is Tennis Professional and is currently coaching his 10th different high school with 30+ years of experience in the field. He has coached at several schools with many great results. Mainly, the players had a great time maximizing their games and playing on the teams. He is now featured on coachtube.com, with three different tennis courses.
Bill and his business partner Styrling Strother have started USATennisCoach, LLC, which trains, certifies, mentors, and collaborates with high school tennis coaches.
Bill, a Maverick Leader, is co-founder of USATennisCoachl, a Catalyst for Omni Athlete: The Future of Sport, a PTR and MTM Professional.
The Coronavirus Event Opportunity - Once in a Lifetime?
We have a rare opportunity to make a quantum change in our sporting lives. When you get this message, as I have, I hope that you will agree that it is worth going everywhere. To those who have lost a loved one or have one currently suffering from Covid-19, my heart goes out to you. For those of us not directly affected by the disease, we have a rare opportunity to stop. We live in a world of distraction. Now, much of our time and mind busyness has been taken away. We now must confront mortality. Finally, for a moment, the rat race is ending or has ended. Stop, look at yourself in the mirror for a moment, six weeks or whatever it turns out to be. We could turn to streaming services, to while away our time from the void of our normal sports and entertainment, or we can participate in a full system reset. Think about it for a moment. There are no parents screaming at their kids during canceled competitions. There are no coaches asking players to do developmentally inappropriate workouts. For all of those seasons that suddenly came to a halt, there is no more pressure, but there is also a tremendous sense of loss for those whose final campaign ended with a splat, instead of a victory. So, for a moment, there is clear air, and in many cases it means taking a break from damaging behaviors.
Recently I saw a post about a 13-year-old boy who came into the kitchen while his parents were cooking, reminding them not to burn the toast or overcook the eggs, reminding them to add the same ingredients that they always add to the meal. One parent stopped to say, “Don’t you think we know how to cook breakfast?” The boy responded, “Now you know how I feel when we drive to my baseball game.”
Now though we have an opportunity to move away from the insanity of helicopter parenting, over the top coaches, and monolithic organizations, to remember real life and death. The reason we are in this space is the fear of exactly that. You may be on one end of the spectrum of panic or complacency with the Coronavirus, and I am somewhere in the middle, but I am definitely not panicked. Wherever you are on that continuum, I want to urge you TODAY to begin a major change in your program and influence those around you. Remind your people and yourself, this is not life and death in the arena. People die for all sorts of reasons, many of them sudden and tragic. Rarely does that happen on a sports field, but when it does, for some reason the juxtaposition of play and death seems to hit us extra hard.
I have assurance about my eternal destiny beyond death, and that empowers me and those like me in a particular way that you might not understand. No cause of death is preferable, even though my pastor joked that he would prefer to die choking on prime rib, which drew a cackle from the congregation. No matter your belief system, we all have a once in a lifetime opportunity to keep our play in perspective.
I started a few seasons of coaching explaining to my players that approximately 37,000,000 people died in wars in the 20th century. It’s also believed that up to 100,000,000 people were killed by their own oppressive governments. When I share these enormous facts, kids always give confused looks, probably like the one you have. The look says ‘Why are we talking about this?’. Then I explain, if we go 16-0 and win the championship, we don’t bring any of those people back, and if we go 0-16 we don’t add to those horrific numbers.
So, now, it’s not life and death in any competition, but just the same, we will knock ourselves out playing hard because we want to play well. We want to play like champions. We will control the controllable. We will give the same great effort all the time, etc. We then shift into the process to do what we need to become in order to succeed. My best successes as a coach have come when I have been able to help my players eliminate pressure, because its just a game. It’s a game we love to play. We test ourselves in games for fun, simply to see who is better that day. We don’t assign more meaning to it than that.
One of the great sins of sports is that we assign way too much meaning to the winning and the losing. For a short while, we are free from that tyranny of trying to prove that we are a winner or not a loser. Every major professional sports league in the U.S. has now agreed that the health and safety of people take precedence over every competition. Now, when we start back up, let’s start in the best possible way. Here are a few commitments perhaps you will make from this moment forward:
1. Deepen your relationships with those who have sports in perspective.
2. Teach new coaches and sports parents how to keep the games, the play in perspective, it’s not life, death, a college scholarship, or a trip to the professionals on the line today
3. Confront ONE challenge, adversity, or person who has it out of perspective ONCE per year. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Get help, join hands take on the existing order together.
4. Celebrate those who win with dignity, and lose with the same.
5. Be thankful for the little pleasures of being out on the field, in the sun, wind, rain and snow and how it makes us feel alive. Be thankful for the amazing people we meet in the sports world who partner with us in the raising up of the community.
6. Build community everywhere, welcome people in, make your team, your league, your organization a family!
7. Trust God, the Universe, or whatever you want to say, that things work out, adversity is the part of any great story, and you want to be part of a great story.
The only way you can do those things above is if you have come to the realization that sports are not life and death, but that they can serve us well as vehicles for growth and microcosms of life. Sports are great servants, but they make a lousy God.