There is architecture behind education and any worthy endeavor for that matter.
As our student-athletes poised for photos in front of Barcelona’s La Sagrada Familia I marveled at a cathedral over 100 years now in construction. In fact the mighty cranes that serve on site to complete the central spire were not available in the era in which the great Antoni Gaudi conceived of his creation.
And yet, the monument to our highest selves continues to soar upward. Can you imagine imagining? Can you imagine envisioning something ludicrously anachronistic? To make the unimaginable attainable is no easy task. To build for the benefit of a generation Gaudi would never know - imagine that.
“Nothing is art if it does not come from nature.” – Antoni Gaudi
As coaches, are we not architects of the future? Are we not imagining a young player as a mature cathedral of competence and character? We are. Well, those of us who consider the craft of coaching as such. It is easy to coach football. It is almost unimaginably impossible to do it to perfection – but that is what is honored most and should be. We must marvel at those masters who have inspired us beyond our bounds. We all have a Gaudi that took the raw material we were and fashioned us into something and someone more admirable.
You see there is architecture to our existence as there is architecture to every interaction we have with our young people. They are steel and stone, sand and space. They are protagonists of the future we imagine and they will stand alone well beyond our own years as a testament to that which we have created from the vast curiosity within our imagination.
A collection of drills is not a training program anymore than stone and stained glass is a cathedral. Blowing whistles and barking tactics is not coaching. We must become architects. We must scaffold our way to great heights. We must build with the materials before us today. We must work with the children in our midst and we must co-create the remarkable.
For those of us who drive to training without a vision, we build with dry sand. For those with of us with no cohesive and coherent training plan, we build alone and in discord. For clubs who send coaches out to the training grounds uneducated you send peril and lost potential to the fields of construction. And you do so with our most fragile and fabulous children.
I do not know what it takes to build a cathedral of such grandeur. But I know this truth. Gaudi did not just arbitrarily place stone upon stone in hopes of reaching the heavens. He was an architect of vision. He studied the science to make it stand. He studied art to make it inspiring. He built with passion and compassion. He built for a future beyond his own mortality. He built for the worshipers from which he would know no benefits.
As coaches, we need every ounce of Gaudi and more.
We need vision.
We need science.
We need art.
We need passion and compassion.
We need patience.
We need to build for a generation beyond our own, selflessly and proficiently.
“If we are a coach of convenience, we should not burden our children with our apathy.” – Todd Beane
If we are to create champions on and off the field of play, we must take accountability for who we are and who we are not at this very moment. If we are a coach of convenience, we should not burden our children with our apathy. If we are a coach of commitment then all else can be learned to fashion a program worthy of our players who trust us to be capable and competent.
I admire Gaudi. I admire those who innovate with integrity. And I can hear within those awe inspiring cathedral walls his words...
“Tomorrow we will do beautiful things.” – Antoni Gaudi