What makes a good coach?

I have had a few coaches in my day. Each coach has had a very different style of coaching. I have had coaches that I have feared, coaches that have inspired me and coaches that have made the sport fun. These are just a few of the many different coaching styles I have come across.

There have been many legendary coaches like Vince Lombardi, John Wooden, Herman Boone and Joe Paterno just to name a few. But what is it that has made these coaches so legendary? I want to discuss some of the qualities I think they would have to exemplify.

First of all, they have to be wise. Not only about the way they run their teams but in the ways of life. I have read John Wooden’s book, and that man is wise. Just go Google “John Wooden quotes,” and you will learn that that man is wise as well.

Secondly, they have to be strict. If they are lax in the team rules that have been set up, the team will run amuck and will not be disciplined enough to stay in the game. If an athlete breaks a rule, that athlete should be afraid of what the coach will do.  They need to be feared and respected.

Thirdly, they have to know their players. They need to know which player performs well with the other players until they find a winning combination. That is one of the reasons why Randy Rahe is such a great coach. He knows his players, he knows which posts players are going to work the best with his guards. Somehow, Rahe has gelled this year’s team so that it fits perfectly.

Next, they have to set a good example and be a leader. They can’t just set rules and not follow them. They also have to be someone the team can look to when it has nowhere else to turn. The coach needs to lead an entire team to success on or off the court or field or diamond, whatever the case may be.

Next, a coach has to be energetic. They have to get excited when their teams perform well. My favorite coach in high school was one who got more excited at my good performances than I did. He would jump up and down and yell “Thata girl!” Thinking about those times makes me smile.

A good coach has to be fundamentally sound in the sport they are coaching. Nothing is worse to athletes when they know more about the sport than their coach does. My favorite basketball coach (different than my favorite coach) pounded and pounded in the basic fundamentals of the sport. I learned more from her about how to play basketball than I did with any other coach.

I think the last and most important quality a good coach has to have is a passion and a love for the game. I think a coach at any stage, pros, college, high school, junior high, elementary and the extreme youngsters, has a responsibility to pass on the passion for the game. Give the kids something to look forward to and work for. That passion will show in everything he does with his team. Everything.

Good coaches should be one that influences their athletes long after they have moved on. Good coaches should motivate. They should make their athletes better in life. Good coaches should teach important life values in the midst of the sport, even if they don’t mean to.


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