Any man “can” father a child but not everyone “should” be a father…
It is much the same for coaches. Just because someone was a great player with both knowledge of the game and skill to apply it doesn’t naturally translate into coaching potential. Leading, guiding, and directing a team…building and reinforcing a culture…helping teammates come to realize they are more potent and capable together than they could ever hope to be alone, requires far more than the talents that may have produced hometown headlines in years past.
To have what it takes to be a football coach at St Johnsbury Academy, you need to first and foremost be able to Teach. One of the best compliments I ever received was from Mike Kuchar, X&O Labs Senior Research Manager, and Co-Founder when he told me, “The clarity of your teaching simplifies the game tremendously.” The game of football is complex but as we discussed a couple weeks ago in the “Occam’s Razor” post, coaches must simplify the concepts, strategies, and techniques necessary for the players to both individually and collectively understand and apply them.
Next, you must have a passion to positively impact the lives of those players in your charge and often, a willingness to develop life-long relationships with them. As I’ve noted in other posts, it’s the positive impacts my coaches had on me that fuel my desire to re-invest in my players and staff. I love the John Wooden quote, “A good coach can change a game, but a great coach can change a life.”
Lastly, a commitment to put in the work. Coaching is not a Monday through Friday, 9 to 5, kind of job. Hours spent in video analysis, preparing practice schedules and scripts, coaches meetings, game plans, scouting reports, and more, afford your players a greater opportunity for individual and team success. My mentor, Jim Pry is often heard saying, “Never let anyone outwork you, or outlast you.” It’s as true in the coaches office and practice field as it is on game day.
If you can teach, love your players, and are willing to work hard, you can be a great coach in any sport at any level. Just be sure to start by checking your ego (and Glory Days) at the door. With a nod to Coach Wooden, I’d like to suggest the product of a coaches efforts are measured more in graduates and decades of service, than wins and losses.
Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at firstname.lastname@example.org and share http://www.olineskills.com with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for supporting this blog and joining our conversations, and as always, thanks for your time!