Lessons From Coaching

Hunting is not a sport like basketball, football, or soccer, but there are lessons that can apply to hunting from the coaching of these sports.

Coaches are taught to identify two different personality types in their athletes so they can adjust their coaching style to best benefit both the athlete and the team. The two personality types include task-involved and ego-involved.

Task-involved

  • Measure success by personal improvements
  • Focus on what they are doing to get better at the task
  • Perform to the best of their ability
  • Feel confident and successful when they get better
  • Values the process and the experience
  • Looks to make other teammates better and celebrates their successes
  • Has a fairly even attitude and self-confidence when things are going good and not so good
  • Understands that to get better they must try harder, choosing challenging tasks, and persist in the face of adversity
Ego-involved

  • Winning is the measure of success
  • Pre-occupied with their ability compared to others
  • If winning can be achieved with less preparation and effort, all the better
  • Avoids challenging tasks that might expose a weakness
  • If self-confidence is low, is preoccupied with whether they are good enough
  • If self-confidence is high, is preoccupied with how to prove rather than improve their ability
  • Are more likely to engage in unsportsmanlike behavior
  • When winning is everything, ego-involved will likely do anything to win

Using a basketball as an example, a task-involved point guard who misses two or three shots at the beginning of a game will continue to try hard to get open, work within the flow of the offense, and shoot when given the chance. If an ego-involved point guard misses their first few shots they are more likely to hide their inability and pass up shots, not try as hard, not execute their role, look for excuses, and blame teammates or the offensive game plan. If he or she makes their first few shots they are more likely to keep shooting—sometimes too much—without regard for their teammates or the game plan.

When winning is everything, it defines the person and the activity, and what each person gets from participating. It is no different in hunting. When a kill defines success, that’s all there is. This places more value on the result than the process or the experience. This is especially dangerous for young hunters who will not always be successful every time out. It can make them question their abilities, look for shortcuts or the easy way out—or even quit hunting altogether.