“It’s a tough job because I’m the guy that has to tell the best shooter that ever lived that it’s not good enough.” (Brandon Payne, Steph Curry’s Personal Performance & Skills Coach)
If you haven’t heard, Stephen Curry recently cemented himself as the best shooter of all time by hitting his 2,974th three-point shot in Madison Square Garden. I suppose you hadn’t heard that until now. I’m genuinely impressed. I envy those people who are that far off the grid. What’s more likely is that you haven’t heard about his performance and skills coach, Brandon Payne. As he says in the video above, he has the tough job of telling Step Curry, now undoubtedly the best shooter of all time, that he has to be better.
Important NOTE – I was a fan of the Warriors before Steph, and before it was trendy as I grew up in the Bay Area… Now, I have to own my bias. I’m a student success, organizational, and leadership coach, AND I’m a big Warriors fan. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I think it cannot be overstated how vital Brandon’s coaching has been to Stephen’s career and ascension. Someone who holds a mirror to us, someone that shows us how we can grow, is invaluable. Even the best need a coach. I would say it is because of coaches that people become the best versions of themselves.
A relationship takes time through trust, collaboration, and honesty. It also takes time. Brandon and Steph have been on a team for 10+ years. Trust takes time, takes courage, and takes risks. Letting someone in, giving them insight into who you are, what you’re struggling with, requires a willingness to be vulnerable. I have coached countless students through this process – I know what it is like to be in high school, to feel out of place and without direction. I was the first in my family to attend college, and I struggled to find myself and my people. Earlier in my career, it took a lot of trust and courage to let supervisors and mentors in, listen to their feedback, and not take it personally.
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The best coaches know that sports players, professionals, young people take time to grow and develop. They know because they have coaches themselves. I have used the GoCycle Goal System. I was fortunate enough to have Jeff as my first supervisor in my first job teaching 33 kindergarteners in the Southside of Chicago. He took the time to highlight a blog post I had written and reflect on what I was projecting; he asked me the hard questions on the impact and intention of my words. It’s been ten years later, and that moment is still cemented in my memory.
None of the students I have coached have gone on to become the best shooter that ever lived (yet), and to reach that level of skill takes time, dedication, and commitment. It takes a team and a willingness to ask for help. If I can be helpful for your college son or daughter trying to figure out what major to choose, or if you’re a recent graduate looking to navigate your next career steps, know that it is ok to ask for guidance. Who knows, maybe you’ll become the best in your eventual industry. And, until then and more importantly, I can help you every day, get a little bit better.
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