Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Timeout, Coach

Timeouts. Just about every sport has them. They are used in a variety of ways. Whether to slow down the pace of play, allow players to regroup, to get another player into the game or even to freeze the opponent, timeouts are a crucial part of competition. Timeouts will always be a part of the game.

In fact, they have been known to win, or lose, some of the most amazing sporting moments (movies included) of all times. Here is one of the classic timeouts (speeches) in sports movie history. Please forgive a few moments of language. The message though, is coaching (and use of a timeout) at its finest.

Our work in education needs timeouts as well. We work tirelessly as teachers and administrators. Each of us are constantly on our game in the hopes of achieving all that we can day in and day out. Granted we are not in a game that we are trying to "win", we are however, trying to ensure some of the greatest teaching and learning of all time. Consider it our own victory of sorts.

Therefore, take a timeout when the situation calls for one. Whether you are working with your students, supporting your teachers in professional development or leading a district, there are times that you need the same opportunities as the athletes are provided on the court or on the field.

Timeouts are great for:
  • Reflection of a situation that needs thought before responding.
  • Regrouping from a lesson gone awry.
  • Supporting others in time of confusion and loss of clarity.
  • When you simply believe that life in general is moving too fast.
The writing of this blog is my own personal timeout. I afforded myself a few moments to take a break and step back. My work and aspects of it have been moving at lightning speed. I was losing my ability to think clearly and guide unconditionally. And, I do not see this timeout as a sign of weakness or fear of losing. Just the opposite in fact. Instead, I will go back into the game ready to finish what I started. Even though there is no clock that will read "zeros" or a score that shows winners or losers, it is my hope that those that I work with will be able to see and feel the energy and passion I come back with after taking pause and reflection in what I do.

My timeout was only a few moments. But the impact will last well beyond. Game on.


  1. It's definitely important to push pause sometimes in order to give some things the attention they need and deserve. Sometimes is US that needs the attention. Kudos to you for recognizing the need and acting on it. Thank you for your leadership in this!

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