What makes a great coach?
You could get any number of answers to this question. A great leader. A great teacher. Someone who cares for their players. Someone who knows the game. Someone who can help develop a player. Someone who can take a group of players and make a great team. The answers go on and on,
The aspiring coach who is looking to improve and reach their potential can find it hard to navigate the landscape of coaching licensing, opinions of players and parents or even at times the experts in the field of coaching education. So what should a coach focus on to unlock their talents and become a great coach?
It is interesting that when you hear stories or do research on great coaches more often than not it is a fit problem more than a coaching problem. A dominant personality and a large voice may do great with high school boys, but may not be the best choice for a group of U8 girls. A strategic mind like Pep Guardiola can get the most out of a team like Barcelona or Manchester City, but would likely confuse a group of players who are brand new to the game.
We can also look at coaches at every level of the sport who rise and fall constantly. They first enter a program as the savior, months later on the bad end of an awful record they are being ran out of town, and suddenly they arrive elsewhere and are able to win championships. Did this individual suddenly revolutionize their abilities as a coach or learn the secret that only the elite are pricey to? While coaching development happens at every stage of this cycle more likely than anything else they just found a situation that best fit their skill set.
Thus the perfect coach may exist, but they just may not be in the right spot or may just be patiently waiting for the final pieces of the puzzle to line up before their brilliance emerges. The few elements that transcend all of these are:
- Knowledge of the sport
- Mastery of how to teach and train
- Ability to motivate and inspire
These four cornerstones connect the group of coaches I would hold up as great. Every coach should constantly be striving to improve in each of these areas and the ability to improve in each is vital to reaching ones potential. In every situation a different combination of these elements are needed to find a perfect match.
As a coach we challenge our players to grow technically, tactically, physically and mentally. Can we challenge ourselves to grow in these four areas in a similar way?