“A life of frustration is inevitable for any coach whose main enjoyment is winning.” – Chuck Knoll
Science has shown that we hold on to and remember negative memories more clearly than positive ones. However, when it comes to the great coaches or mentors we’ve had in our lives, especially early on, we have vivid and overwhelmingly positive memories about these individuals. As a bit of an experiment, I asked my friends on Facebook and Twitter to name a coach they played for or worked with that had a positive impact on their lives and explain how or why they did. The response was pretty overwhelming and really awesome.
So, what qualities make a good coach? What makes the kind of coach that you talk about fondly 20 or 30 years after having played for them? A lot of the responses I received discussed qualities that I expected: compassion, toughness, prioritization, focus, going the extra mile, respect, discipline, work ethic, knowledge, accountability, stressing the importance of fundamentals, positivity, sportsmanship and passion. What I didn’t expect was this: after reviewing every single submission about these great coaches, not one person said anything about winning. Not one. This speaks volumes. What makes a great coach is someone that cares about you beyond what you can do athletically. A great coach takes an active interest in your life and wellbeing. A coach that gets remembered is the type of individual that sets the example and requires his or her constituents to follow that lead.
The responses that I received to my inquiry told me that great coaches aren’t considered great simply because they win. I’m sure a great lot of us have played for someone that was solely concerned with the scoreboard. These ladies and gentlemen place emphasis on wins and losses, personal gain and glory over development, creating lasting relationships, building up the individual and teaching lessons that last beyond the regular season and athletic career. The coach that falls in line with the latter is the one that matters decades from now.
For those of you that coach or aspire to coach, keep these things in mind. It’s easy to lose sight of what your true purpose is. Just remember what lasts, and what fades through time.
If you’d like to read the responses in their entirety, scroll down or click here. I highly recommend it. For those of you that shared, please pass this on to the people you mentioned. I am sure they would be extremely grateful.
Have an awesome Thursday,
P.S. A personal thank you to John Dunhoft, Andrea Jeffers, Brian Iles, Scott Schweitzer, Joe Jones, Noah Welte, Dave Meier, Kevin Carothers, Michael O’Brien, David Carroll, Kyle Rohlman, Rocio Flores-Walls, Corey Siffel, Eric Rohlman, Erin Pifer, Brian Gunning and Nathan Snyder for sharing. I really appreciate it. Please share it with those that you discussed, if possible.