So You Want to be Called “Coach”
There are some great coaches in the game today. I do not define this by titles and wins, but player development. In the high school realm, we are the front door for some on their long journey to college and maybe professional status. How do we really coach? What does this enlist? How do we define this profession?
Hollywood had placed many spins on this position. The media has sought out the good and bad. Most coaches look like disgruntled people who are always belittling players for motivational purposes, and to flex their power. While this is all entertaining and great for dramatic performances, it lacks the depth of the position. I like to call coaching a calling. It does take a dedicated individual to humble themselves to teaching a game, and being proud of the outcome of their players. The public grades this by wins, losses, and titles, but as coaches we can grade this on a journey. As coaches the journey is the success. To basically be a successful coach, you must define the path of what makes a player successful in your system, and in life. Define how to “marry” these two together to create one path to continued success.
Next you must be an expert guide on this path to success. When we go to parks and hike, we use a guide. This is someone who is a professional in taking people on the journey you have decided to take. Your confidence in them is high because they are an expert in getting you to the destination that you warrant. We have all read history books that tell us of success and horror stories for guided expeditions. If we went back and studied these we could arrive at some great points on their success and failures. To make a point, a Coach is a Guide. A guide gives advice, instructs, counsels, motivates, helps, and renews their companies detail. In Art Briles book “Defeating Goliath” he states, “Our job is to feed them the information they need, create positive hope, and then let them have a journey of success.” A journey is a trip with a planned destination, probably accompanied by people we care about, or like to be around.
Now that we have talked about a journey, how do we create a path. The path is the day to day process that allows our players to “travel” and coaches to access. Coaching is completely useless if one cannot define the starting line and the advancement of each of their players. Especially for a position coach, this comes to light very boldly in game situations. If a player continually commits the same errors, both the player and the coach are lost on the respected journey. The rewarding part is when a coach can define this for each of his players. They will see a continual improvement towards the destination of success.
Daily Checkpoints Lead Us to Success
One of the greatest mistakes we make as coaches is trying to go from start to finish in our time frame, of season and off-season. Daily success and failures are like check points on the journey. It happens and it is our job to fill the requirements as a guide. The path for each player gives them a reference point as to where they are on the journey, and allows coaches to bring them into focus. Monday to Friday are checkpoints on each game week, and it is our responsibility to break them down in a manner that creates movement for our players on the journey. Starting with freshman through their senior year is a journey, or a third string player and a starter. We have to outline the journey from start to finish, and detail the progress made for each player to access how to make our group better.
To create the starting point for your outlined journey, you must create the culture of your position. Whatever position you coach, it is your job to make the culture. Culture is created by words like discipline, responsibility, and duty. As a position coach we should talk about responsibility instead of position, because responsibility is what defines position. Many times coaches tell players they are “out of position.” Players who are continually out of position is because they cannot define their responsibility. Let’s really think about the process of why we have “starters.” They have reached this point of merit because they continually define their responsibility of playing their position. So a successful coach should concentrate on defining the responsibility of the position, if you want a group of productive players.
Telling someone: “you got to work hard” lacks direction.
I myself have been terribly guilty of using this saying throughout my career. This is a reaction to the task of the journey. In reality everyone has to work hard, but what direction does that statement make? We should also speak about the word duty instead of work. The word duty is defined with responsibility. Work is a word that is a product of duty. The dictionary defines duty as : A moral or legal obligation, a responsibility. A task or action (work) that someone is required to perform. Inside these short definitions we see words such as obligation, responsibility, required, perform. All of these is what we spend time defining to our players to become champions. So why not talk about duty instead of work. Work is the energy spent doing your duty. So this gets back to telling players “you got to work hard.” That statement does not define duty, and it is lacking direction. In order to be a guide, we must be able to define every inch of this journey. We should ask players “did you do your duty.” that statement encompasses that work needed to move along the path to success. Remember no work can be completed unless you perform some part of your duty.
Coaches are we supposed to be Anchors or Lighthouses?
Our job is not to be an anchor, it is to be a guide. An anchor is made to hold, refrain movement or advancement. An anchored boat never achieved a destination. Love is a chief guide in any relationship. How much do we love our players? This is a broad question, so let’s narrow it down to what it really is. Love: is the guide of direction and discipline. Love is sometimes explaining the truth, love is triumph and defeat, and love is sometimes about letting go. This make love a constant from laughing to crying, but it also makes it a guide. If we are to love our players, we must guide them through the journey of life. We must look to the hard truth and the joys of accomplishment. We cannot paint a perfect path and anchor them into a journey covered in success. Love means sometimes not being the first in line, or the one that rings the bell. Love can be set backs, and disappointment, but Love always prevails into success, of we guide the along their journey. Only when we become anchors, do we restrict.
Sometimes we as coaches spend more time as an anchor to our players than a guide. I recently watched a video by Scott Frost, that really grabbed me. I encourage you to go and watch this short video.
Coach Frost, hits on some amazing points. He states that his players will not be yelled and cussed at. They will have no fear of failure, and this falls back on his coaches. If a kid misses a tackle or drops a ball, they do not need to be yelled at they need to be coached and taught. This is a prime example of being a guide and not an anchor. The anchor is the reaction that we have in statements that come from reactions that do not teach or guide the player to a successful outcome. Most of the time, we see coaches portrayed as a yelling tyrant, that only belittles the mistake instead of guiding the player to success. Sometimes by pure nature we are conditioned to be an anchor, because that is what the media portrays as a coach. Our players cannot be afraid to fail, because if they are, they will become stagnant in their growth.To be a coach one must be a guide, and advance your players to the destination of success.
As you can see this article neglected X and O’s. No scheme or personnel will be a stand alone instant mix for success. A team is made up of members, and those members have to be coached. They have to have an established path that embarks a journey. Their success on their journey hinges on defining their duty. The must see check points in order to stay on track, and they must be guided and have a lighthouse to bring them back when they wander off. Do you take the perception of hollywood movies, or one like Coach Frost no fear of failure.