My Coaching Philosophy
The foundation of a successful man (and, by extension, coach) is made solid by adhering to a strong code of honor, striving for a character of integrity, and fostering a heart of teamwork. It is my desire to nurture this foundation in myself and those around me, including my athletes and fellow coaches. My intention is to do this by demanding hard work and discipline from the athletes, coaches, and (most of all) myself. Just as an athlete can only be successful in a sport where the rules and objectives are known, so it is with leading a successful life. These are the rules I strive to live by.
Code of Honor
Recognizing priorities and structuring life based on those priorities is what creates a code of honor. One who has constantly shifting priorities or consistently acts contrary to his professed priorities is a dishonorable man. The order of priorities necessary for me to be a successful man are as follows:
- Love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.
- Respect, and honor my wife above any other person.
- Love, serve, and protect my wife and children above all other people.
- Esteem and obey those in authority.
- Respect my peers and equals.
- Be an encouragement and example to those over whom I have authority.
- Commit to personal development of mind, body, spirit, and service.
The demands and distractions of life are constantly jockeying for position in this priority list. Priorities are maintained only through intention and purpose. If these priorities slip, get juggled around, or if something mundane sneaks into this list, then everything on the list suffers. At that point, I am rendered ineffective as a Christian, husband, father, coach, employee, and man.
Character of Integrity
The root of the word “integrity” comes from the Latin word integer which means “entire, whole”. The idea being that “integrity” is used to describe something that is complete, undivided, un-fractured. When this word is applied to a person, it conjures up ideas about how that person shows outwardly that they are adhering to their internal Code of Honor. A man who has a character of integrity displays certain characteristics:
- He speaks honestly.
- He uses language appropriate for all potential audience members.
- He treats women with respect, and is courteous and kind to children and admirers.
- He leads by action and service, not by delegation and dictation.
- He places the needs of others above his own.
- He keeps all (written, verbal, or implied) agreements, promises, debts, contracts, etc.
- He takes full responsibility for his life, both his successes and his failures.
- He owns up to his own mistakes, and works to resolve the mistakes of others without assigning blame.
- He balances the correction of others’ faults and the celebration of others’ successes; and uses both as a channel for encouragement.
Heart of Teamwork
They say it is a small world, and it is getting smaller with each technological advancement, it seems. The “Lone Ranger” is not the hero anymore. Collaboration is key to be successful in any worthy pursuit. I believe team sports teach this lesson in a way that simply can’t be duplicated in a classroom. Several of the characteristics of integrity and honor lend themselves to being a good teammate, but I’ve boiled it down to what I call the “7 Cs of Teamwork”:
- Being an effective communicator is so integral, both in expressing ideas and listening to others. If this breaks down, the team breaks down.
- The more one invests in something, the more he needs it to succeed. If a teammate is less invested than the rest of the team, his expectations and results will likely lag behind as well.
- When emotions dictate action, destruction is close. A good teammate is free to feel anything, but those feelings must not take over how one acts or speaks.
- A good teammate is constantly mindful of how his actions affect those around him.
- So this one is sort of cheating, but it is no less important. Teammates who answer to each other for their actions are imperative to keep operations working smoothly.
- A teammate who is wishy-washy or doesn’t speak up will get overrun by those more brash than he. This is bad for the individual and for the team.
- There is also a time when it is best to put your guns down and go with the team. Recognizing these situations will help the team build and grow that much more quickly.
Honor, integrity, and teamwork are the cornerstone of my coaching philosophy. Honor, integrity, and teamwork are the cornerstone of my life philosophy. By no means do I have this all down flawlessly. It is a process and I am still growing. A characteristic of life is growth. If I ever stop growing in any one aspect, it means that I’ve died; or some part of me has, anyway. As a youth, my parents instilled in me this idea that if you are going to go ahead and do something, do it as well as you possibly can. Shakespeare said it more poetically. “Whate’er thou art; act well thy part.” The part I wish to play is that of a “master coach”. These are 14 qualities of a master coach that I aspire to (adapted from Alan Stein of StrongerTeam.com):
- A master coach has a purposeful mission.
- A master coach is a big thinker.
- A master coach has high character.
- A master coach embraces change.
- A master coach has empathy.
- A master coach takes calculated risks.
- A master coach has a high sport-specific I.Q.
- A master coach is decisive.
- A master coach uses authority appropriately.
- A master coach is an effective communicator.
- A master coach is a servant leader.
- A master coach is courageous.
- A master coach is fully committed to the betterment of their players (on and off the court/field).
- A master coach works on their craft every single day.