The demeanor of a coach makes a huge difference. I’ve had the opportunity to hear many coaches speak and to see how many different types of coaches coach. I’ve been on the receiving end of both good coaching and what I perceived to be bad coaching.
I understand that some people react differently to various styles of coaching. For me, I need an authority type figure. Someone who isn’t afraid to let you know when your wrong, but then lets you know when you are right. My high school football coach wasn’t afraid to grab you by the mask and call you a “little chickenshit” with chew flying out of his mouth, if you wimped out on going through a block to keep contain. I remember that vividly. I can remember getting chewed out as a new guy in the SEAL teams because I was the second guy in the train while we were doing CQD and I jumped back to avoid fire when I went around the corner, running into the train behind me and messing up the flow and most importantly I left the guy in front of me alone in the room. I’ve never felt so low. I can remember being in college and being in a tight game against Dayton but we were ahead. We were in control of the game and winding down the clock. I had a run over the left side and the defensive corner came down and crashed on my arm and I fumbled the ball and Dayton recovered, putting them in a position deep in our own territory with a good chance to score either come close or go ahead. I was chewed out for that, and on top of that knew I had let my team and coaches down.
Over the years I have developed my own style of coaching and am constantly trying to improve it. I’m not the hand holding pump you up, give you fake praise type of coach. I will give you praise you deserve it or when you do things right. When you don’t I will slap you your hand and let you know that what you did was not correct. I expect if you come to me to be coached, you come with an open mind and are ready to be coached. I have goals as a coach and if we both did our homework right then they align with your goals as well.
In my opinion the best coaches can coach anyone in any sport. Everybody knows Vince Lombardi as amazing football coach. What some people my not realize is that he also coached basketball, and did it well. Great coaches are able to coach people at all ages and all levels. They are able to change their demeanor or tactics to be able to relate to the athlete at their level. This is something I’m constantly trying to work on.
I do think there is a tendency or a preference for the coach to be more effective at a certain sport or certain level of the sport. For instance, one that comes to mind in Jim Harbaugh. Now coach of the Michigan Wolverines football program. He is an amazing coach that can take shitty teams and turn them into great ones in a matter of a couple years. But then you see him as a professional coach and he just doesn’t get it done as effectively. Why is that? Now I have never been to an NFL locker room or been present to an NFL practice but my guess is that it is easier to get college athletes to buy in to the program than it is professional athletes. When Harbaugh speaks to college kids they listen. No doubt about it. It could also just be his ability to recruit amazing athletes. At the college level there is huge difference between great athletes and mediocre athletes. At the NFL level everyone is amazing. The advantage of having better athletes is eliminated.
What are some of your experiences?
What is your idea of a great coach?
What things do you like that coaches do?
What do you wish a coach would do for you?