Since my son started playing tee ball several years ago, I’ve written practice plans for him and his teams. I would be lost without them. Sure, it seems somewhat overboard when you’re handed a practice plan by a tee ball coach, but just try coaching tee ball without a plan!

On any good practice plan is a roadmap of what skills will be covered and how much time will be allotted for each. A detailed series of practice plans ensures that what needs to be taught and learned is taught and learned. Honestly, without a plan, you’ll never cover what you intend to cover. You’ll forget, leave something out, spend too much time on something unimportant, and wind up regretting it later when you watch your team play.

It’s easy to write a baseball-skilled-oriented practice plan. It’s not so easy to write a plan that involves teaching more than your sport.

That’s the Coaching on Purpose question for this week: What’s your plan for teaching qualities that are not skills-based?

What will your players learn besides a better swing, throwing mechanics, and defensive positioning?

Here are a few steps to take in this:

1. Determine if you care to teach anything but the game. Honestly, some people don’t. If you don’t, can I ask you politely to quit coaching altogether? Really, the world doesn’t need another person like that. (I have this talk with myself all the time).

2. What are the core values you live by every day? Hint: you’ll pass these along without even knowing it…better be sure you know what they are.

3. What core values do you plan to teach to your players? In his book, InsideOut Coaching, Joe Ehrmann identifies three values–empathy, integrity, and community–that he wants each of his players to embody. What are yours? Have you ever thought of it? Take some time today and write your list and then simplify it. Be sure you emerge with a set of 3-5 values that sum up what you hope to see in your players.

4. How are you going to instill those values in your players? Here’s a little secret: your incredible pregame and postgame speeches won’t get it done. I know, you rehearsed for hours, but they aren’t listening. They aren’t. They’re watching and they’re experiencing what you do and what you’ve created for them. So, beyond talking about it from time to time, how can you create a set of experiences for your players that will shape who they become?

5. How will you know you’ve accomplished your goal? If, for example, one of your team’s core values will be loyalty, how will you define it? How will your players know what it is and whether or not they are displaying it?

6. Rewrite your organizational/team plan to include and center on teaching something besides the game. Begin with the end in mind, whether the end is close or far away. Then, work backward and design it with incredible detail. Yes, this takes time. No, it’s not easy. You’re right, no one else is doing this. So what?

Coach on purpose this week and this season and moving forward. Teach more than the game. Your players need it. You need it.

As always, I’m praying for you. Feel free to connect by leaving a comment on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter. I would love to see how you’re accomplishing “Coaching on Purpose.”