There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered. - Matthew 21:28-31
I can remember first hearing about what being coachable is from former Willamette University head coach Gordie James. He said that being coachable was not about saying “yes, coach” or telling the coach all the right things and having a good attitude. While those traits may in fact be good, they may also be a front. Being coachable is about taking correction from a coach and applying it, whether that be on the court or off.
Look at the two sons in Jesus’ parable. One says, “I will not.” A stern answer, a blatant refusal to follow directions. The other says, “I will, sir.” A response of submission along with addressing his dad with a respectful name. If the story stops here, it would be obvious which son was more coachable. But as we look deeper, the one who refuses at first ends up following his dad’s direction. The son who appeared to be respectful ends up insulting his dad by refusing to follow up on his word.
Being coachable requires actions in addition to a response. Coachable players will find their game improving throughout the season. The more players on a team that are coachable, the closer that team will get to reach its full potential. Remember that your coach only wants to help you improve when he is giving you advice. His goal is not to make you feel bad or inadequate, but to give you the tools to become the best player you can be.