Thursday, February 17, 2011

Moving On and Melting Snow

The weather has turned here in K-Town, six degrees and a hint of rain, a welcome relief from what I've started calling an "old-fashioned" winter here on the shores of Lake Ontario.

Today's warmer, if not brighter day, as always raise people's spirits this time of year with hopes of better things to come and I'm no different. As I stepped over, around and sometimes in, the many puddles forming on the sidewalks during my daily lunch time walk in my mind closure finally came to my recent release as a club technical director.

Not sure what it was, conversations with friends over the past couple of days, this weekend's coaching symposium, more self analysis, a good night's sleep or just the hinted passing of the season that did it but whatever it was I came to the realization that this too shall pass and as always the pieces can be picked up and reassembled for the future.

Reflections on this matter two months later are much clearer than they were a week after and I've come to the conclusion although I was basically learning on the job the plan I put forward was perhaps a good one technically but was not acceptable politically and had some weaknesses that needed improvement.

If the much talked about 10,000 hours to become expert thesis is correct - I'm about 20% of the way there after two years of working part time for the club. They were 2,000 hours well spent learning about people, politics and the presentation and packaging of ideas. The club gave me a welcomed opportunity to do one of the few things I had not done in soccer in this country - be the technical director of a community based club and for that I will always be thankful despite the disappointing ending.

Signing on as a TD the challenges were immediate and many but personally the one that was the most difficult for me was transferring my strengths as a coach on the field (which I still feel confident about) to the board room where the decisions and ultimately my fate was decided.

Ultimately this inability to keep a foot in both places and operate well in both led to a build up of frustration on both sides that led to our parting of ways.

My intention here is to present the plan that I put forward and that was ultimately rejected by the board to garner feedback and to improve and modify as need be for the next time. Because I now believe, finally, like the changing of the seasons, there will be a next time.

Note: I've presented my speaking notes along with the slides to give as much context as possible - the missing handouts do not effect the general plan but provided operational details not pertinent to the discussion.

Thanks in advance for feedback and constructive criticism.

Bill Ault

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