Coaching Guide to Making A Great Team
These tips to being a great team don’t require talent. They are what you can do to acquire that talent and create a culture that will produce in the worst of situations. You must put in the quality practice to receive that talent. Good teams are good because coaches work hard to develop the talent, create a culture that promotes hard work, and builds something that other athlete’s want to be a part of. Some of these tips are points that we take advantage of on an daily process but should NOT be ignored.
Daily Maximal Effort= High Performance
Every Coach in the world thinks this BUT are you designing your daily processes at practice, in the weight room, and in meetings around maximal effort? What are you doing to keep the players accountable for maximal effort? Are there rewards that spotlight maximal effort? This can be one of the toughest things to get across to the team. This is a daily battle that is worth fighting. Here are a few tips that can help…Film All Drills at Practice- Reward max effort at film study on a weekly basis. Make the players accountable that don’t have maximal effort by high lighting them in the film study. You can do this in the off season by filming workouts.
Do it Right!
Understand that being great at something doesn’t happen overnight. Becoming great at something requires thousands of hours of doing it the RIGHT WAY. Being great at anything requires the ability to stick it out much longer than everyone else. Here are some tips that will help you create a culture of Doing Things Right…Don’t be satisfied with less than perfection! In Drills the worst thing you can do is create a culture of “Less Than”. Doing 100 plays wrong creates a culture of being okay with adequate and less than. Doing 1 Play Right 1000 times creates success in any and every situation. Sometimes the simple way is the most effective. We have to get out of our own head sometimes.
Keep Athletes and Coaches Accountable
This can be the most frustrating as a coach. I have seen coaches look the other way when their star player gets in trouble which creates dissension on the team. I have seen administration “convince” the coach to allow an athlete to play the game when the athlete missed a practice without an excuse. This creates a slippery slope. Parents and athletes see this and it becomes a habit to address their problem with administration and NOT the coach. This also can undermine a coach and create a culture that is less than rewarding knowing that the athlete can get by with just about anything if they complain enough. There shouldn’t be any athlete that is bigger than the team no matter how valuable they may be to your performance on game day. Stand for something bigger than wins or losses! Coaches think that that athlete can get them the great job or that big time promotion, but NOT keeping the athlete accountable can scar that athlete for life. Second chances should be given to the athletes (and coaches) that earn it.
Make Your Team Special
Despite what your record is or what other’s see you must make a team that is proud to be a team. Creating a family outside of the family is a way to make other athletes look at your program and want to be a part of something. The previous points about keeping athletes accountable, doing things right, and giving daily maximal effort are just a few things that will make your program something that others want to be a part of. It should be hard to be on your team. If it wasn’t hard to be on your team everyone would do it. I have seen coaches create a different theme for each season, new uniforms, or different shoes but I think it goes much deeper than that. Sometimes it just means telling them how special they are.
Create Priorities that are Bigger than Wins and Losses
I firmly believe that wins and losses are a byproduct of what we do way before game day. Creating a winning culture means that athletes and teams should take the road less traveled, do the right thing when no on is looking, and be held to a higher standard than everyone else. This means that no one is bigger than the team, selfish motives is not allowed, and putting others first becomes a priority to live and create a culture around. This also means designing your life around the same principles.
Walk the Walk
If you expect your players to act in a certain manner than you better be the example for them to follow. If you expect them to behave on the field what are you doing yelling at a referee on a bad call? If you expect your players to be polite and go to church you better be in the first pew. Be the leader that you want the team to be. The team does take on the personality of the coach. Hold yourself accountable to a higher standard and they will follow.
This is one of my favorites! Great coaches don’t just go to coaching clinics. They evaluate the way they do things, they learn and read on a daily basis (not just about their sport), they are always constantly looking to improve and be a better person. Seek out others (not just in your field) that are successful and find out why they are successful. Create processes that will help mimic these successful principles and apply and adapt them until they become your way. Believe it or not there is no such thing as an original thought. Be humble and open minded and you will be rewarded.
Work Harder Than Everyone Else
Hard work=Pays off. Working harder than everyone else might mean getting to practice earlier, watching more video, or hiring a coach that can help you improve on the skills you might be lacking at. Doing 1 extra rep everyday can lead to you being 365 reps better than everyone else in a year! This also might mean being just a little bit smarter too! Hiring coaches that do what you are not good at and might challenge some of your beliefs is just one way that might help your team work harder than everyone else. This might even mean hiring consultants to analyze and evaluate from the outside in. Sometimes we get too close to the situation and we can’t see the 30,000 ft view.
Create a Process that Reflects a Winning Culture
This is much easier said than done. This means there needs to be meetings set up with the coaches to discuss every detail of the program. Analyzing, adding, and subtracting things that may or may not apply to your winning program. This is when you get to dream up what your program should be like in 12 months and design every step and detail that reflect your principles and methodologies.
Invest in More Than the Athlete
This one is definitely in the top 3! Invest in the Athlete and the Athlete will invest in you. It is just as simple as asking how things are going outside of the sport. If you care about seeing them as successful people they will care about your success and give you more than you ask for everyday.
Joe Ehrmann is author of “Inside/Out Coaching”