Coaching and Innovation

John Kessel’s article “We Coach the Way We Were Coached” questions the standard volleyball practice. I used some ideas last season as a volleyball coach, and some players acted as though I was clueless.

Dan Pink’s blog featured an interesting factoid from Jerry de Jaager and Jim Ericson’s See New Now:

“A study of the top fifty game-changing innovations over a hundred-year period showed that nearly 80 percent of those innovations were sparked by someone whose primary expertise was outside the field in which the innovation breakthrough took place.”

Unfortunately for innovation, the rules of most industries (coaching included) are set up to keep out outsiders.

Think of the most innovative coaches. St Louis Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan is the only Major League pitching coach who was not a pitcher; Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony’s off-season workout coach is a former lawyer, Idan Ravin; noted track coach and Velocity Sports Performance founder Loren Seagrave was an ice hockey player.

When we narrow our focus when hiring coaches, we potentially miss out on the next innovative mind.

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