Qualities every coach must have
With basketball season in its finals and baseball in its first pitches, spring sports are an exciting adventure.
As talented as any sports team may be, someone must link the skills of individual players with those of fellow team members. Business legend Henry Ford said, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
It is the coach who merges team skills with seasoned knowledge and puts them on the playing field. As a sports fan and friend of several professional athletes, I have noticed that coaching a team and leading an organization demand some of the same qualities.
Coaches must believe in themselves. They walk the sidelines with courage. They may have been star players or bench warmer in their playing days, but they have notched up their knowledge of the game and leadership skills to meet the demands of their jobs. They must know in their hearts that they are team leaders.
Coaches must believe in their players. They are the best cheerleaders during the game. The team can be down by forty points, and they’re still clapping their hands and yelling encouragement to players. They also are shouting out reminders that capitalize on player strengths. They don’t have to be playing in the game to impact the game.
Coaches must believe in their staff. They can’t watch every move by every player. They don’t have to. They rely on their assistant coaches. Everyone on the coaching staff has a specialty and an assignment. The coach trusts them to lead the players to victory.
Coaches must believe in their game plan. They do their homework. They spend hours reviewing game films and analyzing strengths or weaknesses. They have marked the whiteboards with X’s and O’s, and have finalized a strategy, with planned adjustments. Then they take the team to the game with confidence.
Looking back over his stellar career as a basketball coach, John Wooden reflected, “I talked to the players and tried to make them aware of what was good and bad, but I didn’t try to run their lives.” Leaders don’t lord it over others, they just bring out the best in them.
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