“The” Talk: Why you already know all you need to be a successful coach.

“The” Talk: Why you already know all you need to be a successful coach.








Take a stroll through the airport book store or your local book shop and check out all the books about winning.

Or search Amazon and Google for articles, blogs, videos and other resources for ideas and information about what it takes to be the best, the secrets to success, the insights into the mindsets of champions….it’s all there. All you have to do is look.

There are thousands of people just bursting to tell you the secrets and mysteries to winning, to success, to fame, fortune and glory that only they know and that they will be happy to share with you………….for just 29.95 a month plus postage and handling.

And yet, in spite of all the information and resources available to help you realise your potential, make the most of your opportunities and develop a powerful winning attitude, most people still fail to be all they can be.

So why when there is more knowledge and information available about success than ever before and with hundreds of millions of people now owning smart phones, access to that knowledge is available anytime, anywhere to anyone and often for free, why is it that so many coaches and athletes never achieve their performance goals?

You can’t say, “I don’t how to be great” – re-read the first lines of this article: this is not an excuse.

You can’t claim, “But no one has shown me what to do to be successful” – again, this is incorrect.

You can’t protest, “I don’t have access to the knowledge and ideas I need to be the best” – totally false.

So why aren’t you better than you are? Why aren’t you the best?

Because you choose to be.


“The” Talk.

We’ve all had “The” Talk. You know the one. The one where mum or dad or a coach or a teacher or a religious leader or a good friend looked you in the eye and told you the secret to success.

Do you remember “the” talk?

It went something like this, didn’t it?

“You know (insert your name here). You could really be something special. If you find that one thing that you love to do and that you are passionate about, and if you believe in yourself and work hard and never give up and if you give all you have to relentlessly pursuing your dreams, nothing is impossible for you”.

Remember “that” talk?

Some people get “the” talk when they are just kids.

Others hear it when they are teenagers.

Some get to hear “the” talk as young adults while others don’t hear it until they are in their middle age.

And most people get “the” talk over and over and over and over again throughout their lives as they move through school, sport, university and employment.

“The” talk is the same all over the world – in every culture, in every nation and it comes in every language.

We’ve all heard it. As coaches and as parents and as well-meaning friends we’ve all given it.

There are millions of people hearing “the” talk somewhere in the world today……and almost none of them will actually listen to it.

And that’s why they fail. And that’s why you’ve failed to realise your potential as a coach.


Knowing and not doing is the same as not knowing

So here’s where you are as coach.

You can get any information you need about how to physically prepare your athletes, improve their skills and techniques, test their capacities, enhance their decision making, get them stronger, improve their diet, find out what the latest supplements are, determine what equipment they need – you can get anything you need immediately – anytime, anywhere and for free.

And you’ve heard “the” talk – the secret to success for every human being on the planet and in all probability, you’ve heard it many, many times.

So you know what to do. There’s no point denying – every sports coach in the world now knows what to do.

In the past you could blame your lack of progress on a lack of knowledge or the fact that senior coaches wouldn’t share their ideas or that it was impossible to find out what the best coaches in your sport were doing…now it’s all there sitting on your laptop.

You know what to do….or you can find out what to do just by turning your phone on.

But you don’t do it.



You’ve run out of excuses.

Here’s an exercise for you.

Write down a list of the characteristics of the most successful people you know or know of: coaches, teachers, business leaders, family members…people whose words and actions have inspired you and others. People who touched your heart and mind and showed that anything really is possible. Winners.

Does your list of characteristics look anything like this?

  • Passion
  • Determination
  • Total commitment to continuous improvement and lifelong learning
  • Uncompromising belief in themselves
  • Uniqueness
  • Vision
  • Drive
  • Integrity
  • Honesty
  • Humility
  • A strong work ethic
  • Outstanding communication abilities
  • Empathy and the ability to listen to and understand others
  • A genuine love of what they do
  • Persistence – they never give up


Did the phrase “the ability to use a heart rate monitor” appear on your list? No.

Did the words “an understanding of the latest technique drills” feature anywhere on your list? Probably not.

Did you write down “the knowledge of the latest sport drinks and supplements”? Unlikely.

In other words, even though knowledge is freely available and the tools to be successful have never been more readily available, the real secrets to success are fundamental human (coaching) qualities.

When it comes down to it, the things that really determine success and underpin all great achievements are the same now as they have always been. You might be able to find out how Manchester United trains or what type of vitamins the LA Lakers use or what Usain Bolt does for a warm up, but this knowledge is worthless without the commitment to the factors that really make a difference – the human factors – the art of coaching.


So….what’s the next step?

The next step is the same as it’s always been.

You have to make the commitment to be the best you can be.

Stop blaming your sporting federation or the government or that sporting official who’s always been an obstacle and resists change. Stop blaming the lack of money, the lack of talented athletes, how you can’t access world class facilities and equipment. Stop blaming other people and other things.

Everyone who has achieved anything worthwhile has had to fight to achieve it.

In fact, when people get things too easily and have access to everything they think they need, they actually perform worse.

I can think of many, many coaches and athletes I have worked with around the world over the past 20 years who had access to the best of everything: facilities, support staff, sports science, money for competition and overseas travel, the best equipment, the best recovery services…the best of everything….and they have failed. Coaches and athletes who have the best of everything rarely realise their potential and even more rarely take advantage of the opportunities they have been given.

I can also think of just as many coaches and athletes who have had to work hard, fight for every opportunity, who have had to overcome numerous obstacles and setbacks and have conquered the world. In some ways, having to fight hard and achieve success the “hard” way, is far more conducive of success than being handed the best of everything.

It’s not about money.

Or facilities.

Or equipment.

Or sports science labs.

It’s about you. It’s about you and who you are as a coach and as a human being.

So the next step is simple.

Give yourself “the” talk.

Sit down somewhere quiet.

Say, “(Insert your name here). I know what it takes to be successful. And I am going to start doing it right now. I am a good coach and I can be the best. I will work hard – harder than ever before. If someone gets in my way, I will go around them. If I have no money and lack the resources I need for my athletes, I will do whatever it takes to get them. I will never give up learning and improving myself. I will never stop believing in me and in my ability to realise my full potential. I will make the most of every opportunity I get. If I fail, I will only become more determined and more driven to succeed. I will dare to be different – I will try things and do things that no one else is doing in my pursuit of a winning advantage. I will never give up”.

“The” talk.

You’ve just heard it again.

The difference is…this time you will listen.


  • CoachSousa Posted November 15, 2012 2:14 pm


    Excellent inspiring post. I am a big proponent for teaching life skills in sports. I have been studying a lot of methods to work to incorporate ideas and examples into my coaching practice. The “talk” reminds me to put first things first. Coaching, teaching, leading and mentoring starts with us. You have done a great job at outlining this in this blog post.

    Thank you!

    Mario Sousa

    • Wayne Goldsmith Posted November 19, 2012 10:37 am

      Thanks Mario.

      I think we hear the talk many times over our lives – and maybe for some of us it takes 5,6, 10, 20 hearings before we actually listen.


  • Excelsior Posted November 17, 2012 3:02 am

    Thanks Wayne, a useful reminder about what is important.
    Unfortunately, when applying for a job, it is the academic side of things and certificates that Human Resources look for to screen applicants.

    • Wayne Goldsmith Posted November 19, 2012 10:38 am

      Thanks James.

      Yep – that’s a shame isn’t it. Until we start recruiting on character, values, passion, attitude, determination, drive and persistance, the world will not change.



  • JoeJacobi Posted November 20, 2012 7:59 am

    Wayne, I’ve never taken the opportunity to share with you how much I enjoy your posts. So appreciative of your work and the way your share it. Thank you.


    • Wayne Goldsmith Posted November 20, 2012 11:10 am

      Thanks Joe.

      I get 50000 views a month but I only get one or two people like you who take the time to let me know my work is valued and appreciated….but you two make it worthwhile.

      Thanks for making my day.


  • Aby Posted December 9, 2012 4:11 am

    Great Article Wayne. I am a great fan of your work. I am from Asia and your thought process is very unique indeed.

    Keep up the great work!

    • Wayne Goldsmith Posted December 10, 2012 2:36 pm

      Thanks for the “fan-mail”. If one coach changes their behaviour which in turn provides an athlete with the chance to realise their potential as a result of one of my articles, then I have achieved something worthwhile.


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