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Coaching In the Present

It's difficult telling a coach how to coach. What works for one coach may not work for another coach, and then we can have an argument about which coach is better. And, even with that, does a winning or losing record even count here? Some of the greatest coaches don't always win, and some of the "winningest" coaches aren't always right.

Putting in the Time

From youth sports all the way to the pros, a successful coach always puts in the time to be successful. If you aren't willing to put in the time, then you shouldn't be a coach. That's the bottom line.

What does putting in the time mean? Well, of course, it means coaching and instructing on the field, that's a given. But there are intangibles here because every team needs to feel like a team, and that means extracurricular activities. Teamwork starts on the field of play, but team bull sessions, activities, and even volunteer work that the team gets involved with, help mold a team and makes them feel like a team. And for youth sports, getting the parents of the team involved are also part of that too. Trust me, if you get the folks involved with their kids, you've already had a winning season.

Putting in your Dime

Unless this is a paid position, and even then there are still going to be times when you are going to have to lay out some of your own dough, you won't be coaching for a profit. Gas isn't cheap, and if you are picking up people and dropping them off, that's a lot of cash outlay, right there. You are the one that's going to have to coordinate everything, and you are the one that's going to have to make sure everyone is there. Yeah, sure, that may not sound like it's a part of coaching, but if you can't get the gang together then there isn't going to be a show. (See above about getting the folks involved.)

Winning and Losing

And let's get it straight right off the bat here. The older your team is, the more important that winning becomes. When you start getting into high school, college and the pros, as Vince Lombardi once said, "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing!"

The problem here is this. In most cases, winning is really only secondary to the vision of the sports program, the coaching staff, and above all, the parents. Winning a game means almost nothing at a little league level, whereas winning a game in the pros, or college, might mean the difference in bowl appearances and scholarship money. That mindset, right there, marks one of the differences between a good coach and a great coach.

Many coaches cannot succeed because all they think about is wanting to win, and that has nothing to do with being a successful coach at all. The best coaches may not have many wins under their belt, but they have become revered in the community for their tireless pursuit of excellence and dedication, even if excellence and dedication mean having the pee wee football team show up with their shoes tied and their full compliment of gear every week. If any coach can do that, through reminders, notes and phone calls if needed, that is one dedicated coach.

Coaching in the Present

Forget about that "U-Rah-Rah" jazz, that old, "Win one for the Gipper" baloney and those emotional pep talks where we need to win one for someone's deceased pet dog. Those days are gone, my friend, long gone.

Coaching in the present means more about enthusiasm with a will to succeed on every level, not just the wins and loss columns. Getting people involved, parents, friends and the team, is what it's all about. Who cares about the outcome of any game, what's important is for one of the team members, no matter how much talent they had, no matter what kind of game they played, no matter what position they are, even if they sit on the bench, to feel good about themselves at the end of the day.

Ultimately, what matters when coaching in the present is giving someone a chance when no one else thinks they are worth their weight in beans. And if after a game or a season, the team, a player and even a parent, comes up to you and says, "Thanks coach for everything you've done," that makes you the greatest coach of them all, and that's what coaching in the present is all about.

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