Players are looking for the following characteristics in a coach:
- They are looking for somebody they can trust.
- They are looking for somebody the can depend on.
- They want to have someone predictable and consistent.
- They also want to have someone committed to them.
- They don't really care how much football you know until they know how much you care.
I hear all the time from coaches that kids are too lazy these days - "... they don't wanna work... they're too busy chasing girls/boys... they lack discipline... they can't make a commitment... they don't know how to communicate anymore... they're too self-interested..." But what about we as coaches? Have coaches changed over time?
To be honest, I don't think kids or coaches have changed much at all over the times. The thing is, players will always find a way to let you down. They will be late, they will skip practice to be with their boyfriend/girlfriend, they will decide to take plays off, they will sometimes have an attitude. However, as a coach, you will always have to be perfect. You can't be late. You can't decide not to show up. You can't promise new practice jerseys, and then not come through. You can't have morning practices some weeks and night practices other weeks. You can't make a practice calendar, then change the dates at the last minute. It just has to happen once, just once, and you've lost all credibility and respect from your players. Players may not remember all the good things that we as coaches do for them, but they sure as heck remember everything you didn't do. It is our responsibility, as coaches, to practice what we preach and to teach players how to do it the right way all the time.
If you think about it, what players want from their coaches is rather simple really, they want you to be there for them. But it's easy to say, hard to do because it requires discipline. We ask it of our players, we sure as heck better live it as coaches? For example, take our summer lifting workouts, we go Tue/Wed/Thu from 1pm-2pm. It is voluntary as per the rules for all schools, but I'm there every session. We don't get that many basketball or football players out because of summer vacations, etc.. but there are several core players that are always there. They know that the date never changes, the time never changes, and it never gets canceled for the weather or for any other reason. Is it hard for me to be there each day? Yes and no. It is only 3 days of the week for 1 hour. But I'm on my summer holidays from teaching, and there are some days that I wished I could change it to 4-5pm so I can get in a round of golf, or 10-11am so I can meet a friend for lunch, or just to cancel it on a sunny day because I'd rather hang out at the beach. But I go each day because I believe it's important to our team that our players are working to get better, and because I've made a commitment to being there for them.
I know that there are extenuating circumstances, health issues, personal problems, work schedules, but understand that being a coach carries a big responsibility. A lot of people go into coaching and don't really understand or are ready for that kind of commitment. Coaching is sometimes as easy as just being there for your players, which can also be the hardest thing.