I just came across again the other day when I looking through some files on coaching. I first saw this in a presentation by the coach of the Australian Women’s Field Hockey team Ric Charlesworth in 1996 during my first trip to Australia. Charlesworth is one the greatest coaches you have probably never heard of unless you are a filed hockey fan. He is an MD, a lawyer and has been a member of the Australian parliament in addition to coaching the Australian women’s field hockey team to Gold medals in the Atlanta and Sydney Olympics. He is currently coaching the Australian men’s team and has brought them back to international prominence. His presentation in 1996 left a deep impression on me regarding empowerment of the athlete and athlete ownership of their performance. This mission statement is a great insight into that; the women of the team developed it:
Hockeyroos Mission Statement 1996
“We will win in Atlanta by being the best we can be, because Olympic gold is the ultimate challenge in our sport. We will achieve this by playing beyond our previous performances and by never, never giving up. I will be the best I can be by:
1. Continually challenging myself to go beyond my comfort zone.
2. Making the necessary sacrifices.
3. Believing in my ability and the strength of my purpose.
4. Valuing excellence, determination and dedication in both training and match play.
5. Having faith and confidence in, and being supportive of, my teammates.
6. Not making excuses but taking responsibility for my development, performance and for my life-style.
7. Seeking feedback and making contributions to the program.
8. Being tolerant of differences in others and respecting them for who they are and what they have to offer.
9. Accepting disappointments and frustrations and overcoming them by working together.
10. Having faith in the course of action chosen for the team and being committed to it knowing that it may not always be my preference.
We choose to do this thing NOT because it is easy but because it is hard.”
By the way if you want to read a great book on coaching I recommend Ric Charlesworth’s book – The Coach – Managing For Success. It is full of insights into his philosophy and methods. It is a must read for any coach who wants to improve their trade craft.