How to be a Great Coach

A few of the most memorable moments in my life have come from coaches, both positive and negative. My guess is that whether you have been involved in sports, music, dance, gymnastics, or whatever, you have most likely had both good and bad experiences with a coach.

What makes a great coach? There are many things, but some of the most indelible moments in my life as an athlete and musician have come from a coach that is speaking these things to me:

1) A great coach speaks to character
Some great coaches in my life noticed my behaviors and tendencies outside of the game / activity. They weren’t afraid to mention if they noticed something ‘out of character’ when I was around different people, or even to compliment me if they noticed something good.

2) A great coach addresses the individual
One of the most memorable moments in my young athletic life was during the summer before my 8th grade year. My summer league basketball coach – Steve Blankinship – took each player into the locker room at different points during the season and talked specifically about their game, how they were relating with the team, and whatever else he noticed about us. I was blown away. It was the first time that someone ever told me individually that they believed I was a leader amongst a group of peers and elders (it was an 8th grade team, and I was technically a 7th grader).

3) A great coach recognizes the strengths of the individual and tells them how they contribute to the whole
Part of maturing into an adult is figuring out your strengths and weaknesses. A good coach will help coax your strengths out to their maximum potential, and help you realize how that contributes to the whole. If you are a great ball handler on the basketball team, but have a horrible jump shot, your role needs to get the ball to the other guys.

What else am I missing? Do you have any good stories of what a great coach was to you?

Photo above courtesy of HPUPhotogStudent

2 Replies to “How to be a Great Coach”

  1. A great coach…

    1. manages resources effectively
    2. is passionate – dedicated to a cause; something they would be willing to die for

    When I was on the drill team Mrs. D (that’s what we called her)was the best P.E. teacher in the world Jason. She exemplified all those qualities you posted. She worked us very hard but always let us know that she was proud of us no matter what the outcome of our performances. That was over 20 years ago and I still remember her. That’s a great coach.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Raye! I’m sorry it took so long to moderate this comment, usually I’m much faster! Hopefully there’s more coaches and people like Mrs. D out there!

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