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Why being on a great staff can be more valuable and rewarding.

Posted: March 10, 2014 at 3:09 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Previously posted for

The aspirations of every coach starting out, is to have their own program. As well as it should be, many overlook the value of being on a great staff. Those of us who have been been coaches for some time can really appreciate this. We have seen how great staffs produce a coaching tree that branches greatness for decades to come.

How important being a part of a staff can be?

While dreams and aspirations can make someone anxious, being an assistant coach on a great staff can be just as refreshing. A solid staff is the backbone of a team, and being on a staff that is constantly refreshing their knowledge leads to deeper learning and further education. I created a post earlier on the Late 90’s Cleveland Browns staff. If you look at that roster, that coaching tree has created some of the greatest names in our profession. Some of the household names were once position coaches and coordinators. I am sure their coaching meetings we inspiring and thought provoking. All of those coaches took something from each other daily, and Cleveland Browns fans can only wonder what might have been if the team not moved to Baltimore, the next season.

As a coach, it is great to be on a staff that can talk through things. When the room is surrounded by people who are always seeking knowledge, each coach can learn and sharpen their trade with one another. Learning and growing are essential parts of a great staff. Whether you are are coordinator or a position coach, the part you play is completely essential. As a coordinator, it is important to empower your position coaches to learn and sharpen their skills, and seek greater understanding. At the same time it is the coordinator’s position to seek knowledge from their position coaches to keep the whole “loop” of education continually spinning. People have to be able to express their ideas in order to observe and understand their idea or position. Expression is a very empowering, and thought provoking. The John Wooden quote above is vastly essential to know your on a great staff.

It is easy to seek your own rewards, opportunities are endless. We live in freedom, where we can go and come as the opportunity presents itself. And in this mindset I believe that it is more important to seek than learn. Learning on a great staff can provide more rewards than just seeking the end goal of your career immediately. It is easy for coaches to get caught up in the “novelty” mindset of today’s world. The novelty mind set was adopted by the technology world many years ago. Where everything is updated every 6-12 months making us seek more, and move on from what is adequate for the job. It has certainly become a world view and is slowly creeping into our professional world. If I scrolled across my twitter feed right now, I would be bombarded by X’s and O’s. 1001 RPO’s, blocking schemes, breakdowns, etc. (I could be accused of posting the same), and while all of this is great and technology has made aspects of this job so much easier, but we can easily go into over load. Out of all of these posts only a very few percent can lend itself to talking about coaching, and the decisions to make in this profession. With this overload, we loose the idea, to be a part of a great staff, we have to be a servant first. Servant Leadership has become a topic of discussion in recent years. As people we can accomplish much more than we ever thought when we are inspired with a purpose far beyond ourselves. And if you are on a staff that continuously works as selfless mentors, than you will find yourself learning and giving at the same time.

So how do we lend advice for coaches on a great way to understand this years of servants leadership. How coaches know what is more important?

This past off season, I was refreshed with Bud Foster at Virginia Tech. I cannot speak for the situation, but from the public’s eye he picked against the ideology of today’s mindset  to remain the DC for the Hokies. ESPN posted an article earlier this year on this very subject.

Here is the link:

 As quoted from the ESPN article: “Over the years, one school after another tried to pry Foster away from Blacksburg, but he loved the town, loved the university and loved Beamer so much that he couldn’t leave.” As it seems Foster had everything in line for what he wanted for his career. It wasn’t that Coach Foster settled or was “passed over,” he knew exactly where he wanted to be, and as it seems he was perfectly content with it (and in coaching that is all that matters). I would love to hear Coach Foster speak about how to be an excellent assistant coach, because I think it would be beneficial to coaches regardless of tenure. In my eyes Coach Foster had full understanding that he could be an integral part of the staff regardless of his title.

Whether you are a newly tenured coach, or an old hat like myself, being a part of a great staff can be invigorating, inspiring, refreshing, and rewarding. As a coach we should be continually seek 2 things, How to help others, and how to renew ourselves from the people we surround our self with.

The final 3 things I would extend you to look for when entering this profession.

  1. Find a place to serve.

  2. Find a staff that allows you to grow.

  3. Find a staff that allows you to use your best abilities to the fullest extent, and allows you to hone your other abilities to make you a better coach.

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