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GBMWolverine: Coach’s Corner — Michigan Football — Traits and Attributes Needed for the Coaching Profession


Posted at 6:00am — 8/13/2011

GBMWolverine: Coach’s Corner — Michigan Football — Traits and Attributes Needed for the Coaching Profession

There are natural coaches and there are coaches who make themselves. The coaching fraternity is close-knit, a society if you will. As such the first traits needed to succeed are simple virtues, namely loyalty and commitment. There may not be two more powerful forces for unity and success in the coaching world.

Head coaches demand both traits and a young coach who does not show the work ethic or passion needed to be fully committed will not be a part of a successful program for long. Loyalty is a must as the mission is singular and united. There is always room for argument in coaching rooms or informed discussion, but once the planning is done and the program goes forth, there cannot be dissention and back-handedness, there must be professionalism as the program is executed. In today’s coaching world there are models that stress shared responsibility and shared decision-making, providing all participants in the process a sense of ownership. This frequently carries over to some degree to veteran players or even an entire team. But once the course of action is charted, the ship must sail and stay afloat in calm or rough seas alike.

A coach must be a manager, especially the head-coach. It is invaluable for a young assistant to work with a managerial genius. There are differences regarding how much teaching and learning can be crammed into a two-hour practice. Coaches on teams with less talent, but more managerial and teaching skill will narrow the gap (sans injuries) as the season progresses. All of you have heard the expression “You do not want to play those guys at the end of the season.”

Managerial efficiency can be a gift but it is more frequently learned. This competency relies on the part of the brain that is responsible for executive functioning, the frontal lobe. College and professional teams hire head coaches who have demonstrated proficiency in organization and management. Time-usage, classification for clarity and understanding, model making, evaluation procedures, and strategies for improvement (goals, objectives, etc.), are skills that business/coaching models readily incorporate into training and practice.

Although coaches are judged, by some, as being intellectually inferior, that simply is not the case. Success in coaching, in part, is linked to cognitive skills such as analysis and decision-making that create conditions associated with correction and improvement. Coaches start off by creating and putting into place program philosophies, from which developmental programs follow. Coaches must excel in analysis that frequently is combined with player and program evaluation. This never-ending process happens at practice, in the pressbox, on the sideline, at team meetings, and in the film-room. The modern coaching model places value on intellectual proficiency as a needed attribute within the coaching ranks.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff

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