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The smartes thing I ever told a team.

"I have been a coach for several teams, coaching in the grassroots, in lower divisions, and now in a higher division.

I entered this latest assignment with some uncertainty, to be honest. Did I have enough knowledge? And the short answer to that is: No.

In terms of the technical aspects of the game, I did not. So, the first thing I did was to say just that. "You know more about this than I do." I am fortunate enough not to coach this team alone, as I don't think I could. But my strength as a coach is not the technical aspects of the game; it's everything around it. The technical side is also very important, so I simply have to learn more about that.

And I was completely open about it. This is something I'm not good enough at! And I'm not trying to fill that role.

That was perhaps the smartest thing I did in this situation. Knowing where my competence stops and not pretending to know more than I can.

Now, after some time with the team, I have gained more ground, and the players see more of the importance around my role.

But during a conversation with one of "my" players, he said the following. "I have to admit I was skeptical. I knew you came from a lower division, and I was afraid you would come in and try to coach us as you did in lower divisions. Thankfully, you made no attempt at that, and you were open about not knowing enough to have an opinion, which made me trust you and rely on you in the areas where you actually speak."

The reflex when meeting new teams is to showcase competence and mask the lack of it, but I don't think you get far with that in the long run.

Because the lack of competence often shines through, and you can largely lose the trust of the players in what you do know.

So the smartest thing I've done is to say, "I don't know enough about that, but I would love to learn!"

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