Coaching the right way BE POSITIVE!

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Coaching the right way BE POSITIVE!

Posted January 11, 2013

By D. Hix

I have spent a vast amount of time observing, working with and talking to successful coaches. These are coaches like Larry Brown, Pete Carroll, Lou Holtz, Bill Self, and so on. During this time I witnessed several similarities that I believe has led them to success, more success than the average coach.

Success doesn’t come easy. It takes a lot of work and hard work at that. However, I’ve never met a coach that doesn’t work hard. So what makes the difference? Many believe it is the talent difference. I don’t think so. Look at Butler’s program and their coach Brad Stevens. He led his team to two consecutive NCAA Division 1 Championship games against Duke and UCONN respectively. His team wasn’t loaded with Five Star All-Americans. Or maybe you’d rather look at the New England Patriots who traditionally pick up guys who other teams consider washed up, cast offs. . This series COACHING the R.I.G.H.T. WAY is dedicated to discovering similar principles great coaches focus on that enables them to reach high levels of success.


Coach Pete Carroll has enjoyed great success at USC and now is enjoying success, in the NFL with two consecutive play-off births. To develop players, Carroll tries to nurture their talents toward a positive contribution to the team. “We don’t try and force a square peg in a round hole,” he says. “We’re going to try and help a kid be successful by allowing him to do things he is really good at and not forcing other aspects on him where he will struggle. If you’ve ever watched, our youngest players are always contributors in this program and we don’t make them do everything.”

I heard Brian Kelley, Notre Dame’s head coach, say something similar in regards to his young QB Everett Golson. “I had a freshman quarterback out there and as you know when you’re playing a young quarterback, if you’re not positive with him, it’s very easy to lose him. We couldn’t lose Everett Golson.”

Carroll’s and Kelley’s words speak loudly to coaches who help in the development of young people. If they think nurturing a young man at a football powerhouse is important for the success of the person and the program, then clearly it’s important for coaches everywhere to do the same. “It’s not about wins and losses or gaudy statistics“ says Carroll “It’s trying to be as good as you can be—that’s how we do it. We’re doing it on this level and I know that you can do it at any level in professional sports, so why not youth sports? It applies because it is relative to your talent. That’s why I go back to just trying to figure out what athletes are good at, what their strengths are. You have to really understand what is really within the boundaries, parameters for the team and players that you’re dealing with.”

Find your athletes strengths, focus on them, encourage them in those areas, then as you develop their weaknesses they can stay confident. I think it is important to remember in developing their weaknesses, you are pointing out failures. If you point out too many failures at once, you may find you have a athlete that’s doesn’t believe in themselves any more. At the end of the day it is our job to make sure we don’t loose our athletes by them thinking they aren’t good enough. Confident, competitive athletes can make up for all kinds of weaknesses through the their competitive spirt. Try not to quench their spirit!

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