Hey Coach, It’s Not About You

By FirstDown PlayBook on Apr 9, 2013

Hey coaches. It’s not about us. Regardless of how hard we work. No matter how much or how little they pay us or how many times the media tells everyone that we are a “great” coach, recruiter or leader. No matter how many times they make us and our families move. Trust me on this one. It is not about us. It is about the players. Always has been and it always will be.

I’m a coach and until I started a company a couple of years ago coaching is all I had ever known. I coach in the most aggressive team sport of all, football. I have seen all types of coaching styles. I’ve seen some coaching styles that don’t necessarily hold the player to a degree of accountability that is required to be successful. I have also seen coaching styles that are borderline abusive.

The best coaches I have seen and had an opportunity to be around have one major thing in common. They are teachers first. That’s what we do. If you can’t teach then I’m not sure how you can coach. How you teach, how you motivate or how you lead is a matter of personal style. We are an ego driven bunch and we all think that our style is best. That’s part of what makes us coaches. We are also extremely driven and competitive.

Why Do We Work?

We Are Teachers First

Just read the twitter feeds each day from coaches. I mean we are motivating our kids before our feet hit the ground in the morning. “Today’s a new day! Let’s go attack it. See you in the weight room at 5:30 AM!!” This is a special thing. It’s normally the first time players have been a part of something so intense as well as something that is demanding more commitment on their part then they have ever experienced before. This is the beginning of players learning the lessons of paying a price with hard work so they can achieve a goal. It is what separates a lot of what players learn in school and what they learn in athletics.

However, that puts us back to square one. We are still teachers first. If somewhere in the middle of all of the intensity, the demanding styles and the loud barking there is no teaching going on then it is all for nothing. We need to be demanding on ourselves too. Are we prepared when we hit the practice field or court? Are we organized? What are we trying to teach today? Is it too much? If the player is actually not getting it could it be because we need to teach it differently? Does he or she learn better with an extra walk through or extra time on the board?

Hard Coaching Doesn’t Mean Screaming All The Time

Every situation and every kid is different. If we start yelling and screaming every time the player doesn’t do what we expect then eventually that’ not going to be the winning formula. Now before my phone starts ringing off of the hook from former players let me emphasize I believe in hard coaching.

We never seem to have enough time to teach everything we need to so there is no room for lack of focus, poor effort or wasted reps. I think (I hope) I have become a better coach over the years. When I was younger, naturally I didn’t know as much so it was an easy out to start yelling in practice if a guy I was coaching didn’t do it exactly as I had imagined. I still yell and scream some as do most coaches. There is nothing wrong with that. I just hope that as coaches we will make sure that we are self scouting ourselves as teachers.

 More importantly, we need to remind ourselves that whatever we are doing  is for the players and not for us.