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10/25/2012 6:18:53 PM -
Coaching = Life

It’s not what you know, but who you know, and nowhere is this more true that in coaching. How often do we see guys in jobs we don’t think they deserve? It happens all the time, and I can name several guys off the top of my head that probably shouldn’t be coaching—and so can everyone else involved in team sports.

I’m not here to bitch about that, though. It’s been done to death. Sometimes we don’t know why people are in the positions they’re in, so it’s best to chalk it up to the fact that they’re trusted. That can be even more important to a head coach than the guy’s actual technical expertise. I understand that, and I accept it. The ability to delegate something to someone, then not have to worry about it—freeing you up to do your job—is a very important thing in coaching.

I’d add a caveat to the original saying, though. In coaching, it’s who you know and what you learn from them. This is another concept I took from Dave Tate.

When EliteFTS first started rolling, Dave’s concept was to take the best of the people he knew and put them all together in the same place so people weren’t afraid of each other anymore. He didn’t want the strength coaches to live in another solar system from the athletic trainers, the physical therapists, and the personal trainers. The idea was that we can all learn things from each other—and that no single aspect of the training model is 100% useless. There’s something to be taken from everything, and everyone.

The same goes for “regular” positional coaching. I’ve mentioned this before, but I go to a lot of clinics. Most football programs typically have one main philosophy. You can be a spread team, an option team, and Air Raid team, a smashmouth team, or you can be described 8,000 other different ways, but most coaches pick one and stick with it for a while. I used to be a big believer in the triple option, believe it or not. I’m talking about the way Paul Johnson ran it at Navy. First off, when you sit in a clinic and listen to PJ or someone from his staff, it would take a lot for you not to switch right there and then, because they make it seem like it’s unstoppable.

I know this happens with every football play, because that’s how they’re designed, but if you listen to an option coach do a clinic, they make it seem like it’s just unfair that they know this shit and other coaches don’t.

Anyway, I’m not really a fan anymore. It’s kind of obsolete, to an extent, and what we found after running it for a while – mostly at the beginning of my career – was that it’s pretty much impossible to come back from any kind of deficit if you’re an option team. If you’re down by more than two touchdowns at halftime, you’re f****d.

So, we stopped running the option and started running something else, but the way we learned how to do that was through listening to other coaches. I mean, even if you don’t want to run what they’re espousing and never will, it’s good to learn about it in case you have to come up against it one day. When we go to clinics, if one of us isn’t speaking, we’re usually there to listen to just one or two guys who run what we run. I don’t hit the bar and start getting shitfaced after that, though. I’ll go in and listen to the linebackers coach from Podunk State and the defensive backs coach from Bumblef**k High School, because if the shit they’re using has made their players better, maybe some of it can work for me. I’ve caught some serious gems that way.

The same philosophy goes for training our kids. I don’t believe in a bunch of shit where you stand on Bosu balls and touch your nose, but I’m willing to learn all about it in case there’s something in there I can learn. I’ll obviously take a hell of a lot more away from listening to Coach X or James Smith, but in order to separate the wheat from the chaff, you still have to be able to tell the difference—and that doesn’t meaning thinking everything on your side of the fence is automatically wheat.

This counts in life, too. For years, I didn’t work in an office. I always thought I wanted to work in an office – one where I could sit back, look out the window, put my feet up and say, “F**k yeah, I made it.” When I finally got there and got my own office, I felt like someone locked me up in a cage, so instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, I asked some smart people in other industries what they thought I should do. I came away with some valuable shit and took their advice, and it’s been working.

As a coach, you wouldn’t just blindly try shit. You learn, you refine, and yeah, you invent, but you don’t do it from scratch. The more people you learn from, the better off you’re going to be.

Angry Coach

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