Being a great coach can be tough. Sometimes it’s a no-win situation, but the long-term rewards can be worth it. As Vince Lombardi said, “If we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.” Here is a look at five traits that elite coaches share.
A great coach is a fast learner who realises that success is a moving target and that 100 per cent commitment is needed to stay ahead of the competition and achieve results. The greatest coaches achieve those results ethically and give back to their community. It’s something the New York Times called “the power of positive coaching.”
Great trainers have tremendous strength of character and prepare their athletes for any challenge. If it’s a competition, they make training tougher and more demanding than the competition itself. They use triumph and failure as tools to motivate and improve future performance, and they look at the culture of a team and pinpoint where it can be improved.
Sport has no secrets. The internet is the greatest resource for coaches who want to keep up with the opposition and then move faster than them. If you’re coaching soccer, use soccer drill videos to learn the latest techniques; try Sportplan review of soccer drills and similar sites. Some coaches use GPS to plot players’ movements on the pitch. A great coach examines every technological advantage at his disposal, then uses them creatively to coach athletes better. For example, the Sky Cycling team’s use of cutting-edge tech helped it win four Tours de France in five years.
The great UK soccer coach Sir Alex Ferguson said: “The work of a team should always embrace a great player, but the great player must always work.” A great coach makes ability awareness key to his team strategy and coaches every individual as part of that team. He will also use every method available to minutely analyse performance and motivate and inspire every athlete he works with.\
Pat Summit is the best coach in NCAA history, and she became great by being able to set and achieve goals for her players both on and off the court. Summit embodies the great coach’s ability to take actions that breed success. She encouraged her players not only to sporting greatness but to academic excellence.