Im not a perfect coach. Far from it. But I have realized exactly what is at stake, why it matters, that my actions and words (even the small ones) can build or destroy, and that has made all the difference. Coaching philosphy isn’t some grand idea with cute letters or player expectation. Its the sum of our daily choices as a leader, every small interaction, our facial expressions, our word choices, our principles, repeated consistently EVERY SINGLE DAY. Kate Leavell
When I was 8 years old I wrote my first book and sent it off to a publisher, fully prepared to never hear back – despite the awesomeness of my poems. There were about 6 poems in the compilation of pure childhood genius that I sent in, and I got the address for the publisher from the back of a poetry book. One of the poems, though short, I was sure would reach the heart of even the toughest of editors, and it went a little like this.
Bears are fluffy, fat and round.
You can buy one if you walk downtown.
I like them better than my dog, who drools a lot, i also like frogs.
(admit it, it’s pretty good!) The brand new editor at a publisher where I sent these poems must have been an angel, because not only did she respond to my submission with a very sweet letter about enjoying my work, she also sent me a book about bears to read. Turns out she is now 30 years later the CEO of a huge children’s book publishing company.
Over the past 5 years, I have emmersed myself fully in the quest to find most successful recipe in coaching, leadership, and building teams/programs. I didn’t start on this mission becuase I was already good at it. Like most passions, I began this journey becuase I was awful it. One day I realized I knew nothing of coaching other than teaching the skills and directing traffic, and I knew it was figure this out or suffer the consequences of miserable team culture.
I had to ask over and over…How much love? How much Accountability? How much fun is too much and how much is not enough? How much parent involvement? How much vulnerability? How much failure is ok before it’s irrecoverable? How much reward, how much punishment? How much control, how much freedom? The answers surprised me, the path didn’t go where I thought it would. But my experiments to find the ultimate team and program experience, still ongoing and ever improving, are what I write and speak about becuase they were so much more powerful then the rah rah lets get along theme I THOUGHT I was looking for. It was life changing, it was like seeing something in a way that can no longer be unseen. I finally realized what coaching, leadership, and building is actually about.
The articles in this blog have been shared throughout the world through incredible organizations such as US Lacrosse, Changing the Game Project, Loks Locker, NFHS, MN Soccer Association, Youth and High School programs around the country, Jon Gordon Companies, College programs, the Positive Coaching Alliance and more.
I have been an NCAA lacrosse coach, a high school varsity lacrosse and strength coach, a youth and travel coach of many different sports, swimming instructor, NASM certified personal trainer and senior fitness specialist, board member, a national coaches education trainer for US Lacrosse, an eternal college student, a parent of youth and high school athletes, speaker, teacher, and apparently now after four years of blogging and nationally featured articles and a book…a writer. I’m drawn to all things motivational and figuring out what makes people reach and discover what seems impossible. After a recent shoulder surgery led to staring a pulmonary embolism in the face (or staring at it in the lungs?!) i had time to reevaluate what is important. I came to the realization that it’s not an interest after all that I spread motivation around, it’s in fact, a necessity. So my mission begins, one kid, one coach at a time if need be.
I know that sports and teams are about so much more than putting a little ball in a net, we can’t forget that. For some kids – like it was for myself – it’s the one thing that brings them a connection to feeling success, building friendships, and self esteem in that topsy turvy adolescent world. My mission is the same as your mission, fulfilled and confident kids who find success on and off the field (court, pool, track..etc)
I would love to come out and speak to your organization, do a phone consult, or reach you through my blog posts by signing up with your email address for updates. Don’t forget to grab your free downloads of my ebooks!
PS Feel free to reprint any articles on this site, but I ask that you a. give credit and b. tag me (@kateleavell) or link to this site. Thank you!