8 Traits Coaches Can Learn From Toddlers

Many of you know I am the proud father of 21-month-old twin boys, Luke and Jack (aka The Born Backcourt). Being a father has brought me more joy than I ever could have imagined.

Being a father has also made me a better coach.

How has being the father of toddlers made me a better coach? Simple—my sons, as young as they are, reinforce the qualities necessary to being successful.

They remind me of these eight traits every day:


Toddlers never quit. Ever. When they want something... whether it's food or a new toy... they do not stop until they get what they want. They are relentless! They apply the same persistence to learning a new skill (like walking, holding utensils, breaking my Blackberry, etc.). They spend hours and hours practicing until they master it.

How persistent are you as a coach? How relentless are you in your own development?


Toddlers speak their minds freely. Granted, it's in the form of crying, grunting, biting, punching, laughing, and Gibberish... but they do communicate. They let you know where they stand at all times. Surprisingly, they are attentive listeners too. They don't necessary listen to me, but when Mickey Mouse or the Wiggles are talking, trust me, they are all ears!

How effective is your communication with your players? How about with your assistants?


Toddlers have a passion for everything they do! When they are happy, they bounce around and their faces light up the room. When they aren't, they flail their limbs and scream like wild hyenas. But they put their heart and soul into every aspect of their lives. They don't go through the motions.

How much enthusiasm do you have for coaching? Do you raise the level of those around you?


Toddlers are on a schedule. They go to sleep at the same time every night, get up at the same time every day, and eat (and nap) at routine times. They are consistent.

Do you have a daily routine? Do your practices have structure or are they haphazard?


Toddlers don't care about looking cool. In fact, they don't even know what cool is. They will (literally) poop their pants and just keep on going. They aren't worried about what other people think; they do what makes them happy.

Are you worried what other people will think if you make a mistake?


Toddlers think outside of the box. They will spend an hour playing with a wooden spoon or an empty paper towel roll. They make the most of what they have.

How much imagination do you put into your practices?


They hold nothing back when telling you what they think. They have no hidden agenda and they speak from the heart. They don't say things to hurt your feelings; they say them because they believe it to be true. Their honesty is refreshing.

Do you honestly communicate to every player on your team and let them know their role as well as their strengths and weaknesses?


Toddlers aren't necessarily patient, but as their father I have to be! If you've ever waited 45 minutes for your toddler to put on their shoes by themselves or played Ring Around the Rosie 271 times in a row... you know what I mean.

Are you patient with your team when things aren't going well?

As a coach, if you are persistent, enthusiastic, creative, honest, patient, structured, uninhibited, and can effectively communicate... you will be successful... regardless of W's and L's.

Discuss This Article