I'm Going to ISCA: Here's Why

Readers of this blog know that I’ve taken some hard stances against coaching organizations governing bodies, and coaches. So it may come as a surprise to some that I’ve decided to be a guest speaker at the ISCA Hall of Fame Summit this coming August.

As promised on the a podcast I did last month with Nico Messer, I’m going to give full transparency of how I came to this decision and the way things played out. In fact, Nico played a huge role in encouraging me to do this, as well as several other friends and advisors.

Ultimately, it came down to a few factors, which I’ll explain below. Before that, a programming note for anyone attending. I will be presenting from 4:15-5:15 on Wednesday, August 28th.

Lets Disagree Like Adults

One thing I’ve done from the very beginning is make it very clear to the reader where I stand on particular issues. This often involves criticizing some of my peers. For a long time, I’ve let some of that criticism isolate me.

In committing to go to ISCA, I’m doing so knowing full well I may run into some folks who I have criticized, or questioned, or otherwise challenged in a way that happens all to infrequently in what is a hierarchical sport. So be it.

It’s taken me a while, but I’m learning to show up and just share space with those people. I have a positive message to deliver, my talk is going to focus on the topic of Optimism as A Skill. I think I have something to say that will be really valuable to anyone who decides to attend. Why hold that back from people because of some disagreement?

This past spring I had the chance to spend a full four day meet standing alongside someone I had spoken quite directly about. And you know what? We both just showed up and did our jobs, like a pair of adults should.

Finding Your Tribe

Going to Clearwater Beach is about more than just dealing with what may be some uncomfortable interactions, or presenting valuable material.

In my experience, getting out in public with some strong stances skews your perception of how you are received. You are more likely to be met loudly by those that disagree with you, and those reactions can stick with you more.

Those that agree are quieter, or may not even respond immediately. I often connect best with people who are not the type to boisterously approach you poolside or on social media.

This past spring, I hosted a certificate weekend with five other coaches in Texas, centered more deeply on the same topic, Optimism. One of the biggest takeaways I had from the weekend was how even people who would be solid peers to each other are unlikely to talk or interact.

I’ve felt this throughout my coaching career. I was searching and searching for peers or mentors that could show me how some of the fundamental values I had fit in to the day to day of coaching.

So for ISCA, I’m putting myself out there and hoping to find a few more like-minded people who may be searching the same search.

The Material, Dummy

I almost forgot to include the topic, although I referenced it a couple times above. The last reason I am coming is that I think that optimism is one of the most important skills we can cultivate for ourselves and others.

In a world where we see increasing depression and anxiety, two afflictions I’m all too familiar with, optimism is a key weapon against both. When confronted by young people who are growing up with life paradoxically “easier” than it has ever been yet harder for them to cope, optimism is important to understanding why that is.

Finally, I view optimism as sort of a “gateway” skill to emotional regulation. I find that with groups and individuals who are not used to discussing emotions, optimism is a good way to get started with the least barrier of entry.

See You There?

Are you a reader of the blog that is also planning on going down to the ISCA Summit? Feel free to reach out in advance so I can say hello when we’re down there.