Basic Coaching Habit #7: Be Flexible



34 Leaders from 10 countries joined together for four days and developed these “Basic Coaching Habits for anyone asked to be a “coach”.  When coaching someone, we must:

#6)  Be Flexible.  Things will not always go as we expect them to go.  New solutions may need to be accepted.  Be open to create solutions together.

The word “flexible” is one of the most basic words in our language.  It is a word used by coaches worldwide.  “You have to stay flexible” would mean stay open to many options, some may be new, some may be hard, they all will be different.

The word “flexible” has three definitions in the dictionary.  All three of them apply to us as coaches.

#1)  To be flexible means to be able to bend without breaking; not stiff; able to bend or be bent repeatedly without damage or injury like a flexible hose.  A coach has to be able to hear things he isn’t used to hearing and still keep on track.  He has to be able to deal with problems, new to him, without appearing to be confused or defeated. He has to be able to “fake it until he makes it.” Rules regarding player safety are well-defined with specific responsibilities for officials from the moment they take the floor. Pre-game requires officials to survey the playing area and request removal of equipment located near the playing area that poses a safety hazard. Rules regarding the stoppage of play for the removal on an injured player are less clear. Laws in a majority of states now the immediate removal if player when an official observes a player displaying concussion signs or symptoms, if not they can even be eligible for a compensation, the information provided at will clarify this in a much better way.

But what about players who are not concussed, but have fallen on the floor during the game, and are clearly in pain? What if a player loses his safety goggles or contacts during play? Many a sideline parent has yelled, “Hey ref, stop the game, a player is hurt!” And their frustration escalates for the several seconds that the game continues, with no immediate whistle to stop play.

#2)  To be flexible means to be open to influence; susceptible of modification or adaptation; able to be persuaded like a flexible schedule. The last thing the person we are working with wants is a coach who has to do everything “their” way, a coach who is not open to suggestions, a coach who is closed to new ideas or solutions.  We coaches have to be ready to continue learning so we can offer the best answers and help.

#3)  To be flexible means to be willing to adjust to change; willing to yield; not invincibly rigid or obstinate; able to change or be changed according to circumstances like a flexible personality.  As a coach, we will mix with a lot of different personalities, some we will like immediately and some it will take some time to appreciate.  Some we may never understand. We cannot be fooled by the first impression or the outside appearance.  We may need to play different roles in order to break through to the real person we are coaching.

Keeping flexible is a lot of work because it is hard.  It means keeping up with things and being open to the unexpected.  It also means not being afraid of change.

 To track the 10 Habits, CLICK HERE


Dr. Ron Cline helps build the body of Christ around the world. His background as a pastor, educator, counselor, missionary and author gives him credibility and rapport with the many groups and individuals he and his wife, Barbara, minister to in various countries each year. After 7 years of pastoral ministry in Southern California, and ten years as the Dean at Azusa Pacific University, the Clines’ international service began in 1976 as a short-term opportunity when he agreed to pastor the English Fellowship Church in Quito, Ecuador for two years. Those two years stretched into six years. Following that he served as the president of HCJB World Radio, also in Ecuador, for 20 years. HCJB Global, now Reach Beyond, has media, health care, community and/or leadership development ministries in Latin America, Europe, Russia, North Africa/Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia Pacific. Ron and Barb currently serve as Global Ambassadors with Reach Beyond and live in Southern California after living 30 years abroad. They travel from Southern California throughout the world. For the last ten years they have been encouraging, coaching and working with leaders in Indonesia, Cambodia, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal, Mongolia, India, Philippines, Thailand, Hong Kong, Solomon Islands, Western Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Fiji, America Samoa, Australia, New Zealand, Central Asia, USA, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Haiti, Ecuador, Russia, Malawi, Ivory Coast and South Africa.

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