More Experience

In response to my post experience matters there was the following comment: “Would love to get your definition of experience as well. Some thirty year old coaches may have quite a bit of experience while some fifty year old coaches have very little to none. “ It is what a person does with what they know. It is like Joe Vigil says you can be coaching fifty years and have one experience fifty times or you can have fifty experiences. Too me it is all about the later. One thing I do know for sure now is that things are sure a lot clearer to me looking back over the years and reviewing past successes and failures in order not to repeat the failures and to build upon the successful experiences. I know now that I would not have been ready after five or tens years to assume some of the positions I see people in today. It probably reflects a different era. In 1979 I was one of four finalists for the position of Head Track & Field Coach at Stanford University. I was bitterly disappointed that I did not get the job, but I look back I was not ready for the job. I had only been coaching for tens years and definitely needed many more experiences and some failures to humble me. Last week Sports Illustrated ( March 19, 2007) had a superb article about the 1964 UCLA NCAA basketball team, John Wooden’s first NCAA championship team. The team had no starter over 6’5”!I recommend that everyone interested in coaching and excellence read it. Several points in the article he underscores the importance of experience. One of his guiding principles was “It’s what you, learn after you know it all that counts.” This man is considered one of the greatest coaches of all when he speaks I listen, I just wish I would have listened more when I was younger.


At 3/21/07, 12:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great posts on the learning experience connection. I'd like to add another thought: I think of wisdom as the result of the interplay of learning and experience. I like to imagine a chart with learning on the vertical axis and experience along the horizontal. Wisdom is in the upper right hand corner. That's where we find the great coaches like John Wooden. It's possible to be experience rich and wisdom poor. It is also possible to know a lot around very narrow experience. Good coach development pushes us toward that upper right hand corner. Just a thought.

Tim Clark

PS: for more coaching excellence check out the work of Jeff Swenson at Augsburg College. He has served as head coach of the Auggies for 25 seasons (1980-84, 1986-2007), building the squad into a national small-college wrestling powerhouse. Augsburg has won a record-10 NCAA Division III national championships and produced a career dual-meet record of 321-44 (.879 winning percentage)


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