CARVER Coaching & Performance Newsletter

Hi Paul here,

I hope this finds you well.

The week’s topic is:

Owning It – A CARVER Insight

A few bits to start…

  • We have Day 2 of the CARVER Community for Positive & Impactful Sports Coaching in the can. This week we focused on coaching tools with all coaches receiving a workbook of coaching tools they can amend or adapt to their coaching context. A number of people have been touch to see if there will another intake for this season. It’s something I’m considering and I will keep you in the loop.

  • I came home from America late last week. While there, I spent some time with coaches and athletes at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Some of the teams there use our team journal. It was great to get to sit with the athletes and get their insights into how they use that journal and integrate it into their team environment. Any coach looking to utilise athlete journaling for holistic development and performance improvement can give me a shout.

  • Last Saturday I was at the Gaelic Players Association Rookie Camp delivering a workshop on athlete journaling. The GPA are doing powerful work for the holistic development of Gaelic players and are to be commended for this work. It was cool to get to write a bespoke sample journal for the day which all attendees received.

On we go!

Owning It – A CARVER Insight

One of the great minds of humanity, the American theoretical physicist, Richard Feynman, famously said,

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself- and you are the easiest person to fool.”

In coaching, it is so easy to fool oneself. Good coaches understand their role and own the responsibility it brings; lesser coaches don’t. The prudent coach must develop methods to save them from fooling themselves.

Through my work, I frequently meet coaches who, to paraphrase Feynman, are ‘fooling’ themselves. This may sound harsh, and I really don’t mean it to be so, but it is often the cold reality. Such coaches look for the solution to their problems externally or in places that are outside of their control, when often, their coaching practices are in fact what is causing the problems, or similarly, improving their coaching practice is the solution to the problems.

This week I found myself reflecting on the titles of two books. The first book was written about the teaching principles and practices of the great John Wooden. This book, co-authored by Swen Nater and Ronald Gallimore, is called:

You Haven’t Taught Until They Have Learned.

The second book is by two former navy seals, Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. The book is called:

Extreme Ownership

I really think these titles are great lenses for the prudent coach to look through. They say it all! In fact, one could mash them together and add a few words of their own to come up with the ultimate coaching perspective or truth.

The prudent coach takes extreme ownership of the fact that they haven’t taught until they (the athlete) have learned.

I acknowledge that this is easier said than done, but the alternative is to fool oneself.

Don’t be foolish,


Copyright Paul Kilgannon 2021
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