September 21, 2022 • Athletic AdministrationCoaching

Be The Coach You Would’ve Liked To Play For

Be Professional

When you commit to coach, be the best you can be. Develop a foundational philosophy on which you base all your decisions and choices. Know why you are coaching—for the love of the game and the love of the athletes. Choose athletes above winning. Build trust by being an expert with the use of your words in this public, emotional competitive arena. Constantly work to improve your knowledge and ability to teach the game and motivate players. Go watch and learn from the best people in this profession.

coachBe A Master Teacher 

Teaching ability gives you credibility. Understand the game, the athletes, and how to teach both. When working with beginning players, teach them to love the game first and then teach them how to play it. The best coach at every level is organized and prepared. Instructions are simple, clear, and cannot be misunderstood. Activity and attention are high. They understand and use proper practice organization concepts and the rules of motor learning (how to teach physical skills). They can motivate using both praise and confrontation. Your success with athletes will be in direct proportion to your ability to plan, organize, teach and motivate.

Be An Example 

Your players will hear what you say but they will learn more from what you do and who you are. Use your sport to intentionally teach lessons that can be used for the rest of your life—perseverance, mental toughness, discipline, accountability, confidence, and selflessness. Model the behaviors you want to see in your athletes – competitive poise, quiet confidence, etc. It is essential that you can do this in the most difficult times. Accept and abide by the judgment of the officials. Model and teach players to stay within the spirit of the game. Honor the profession by purposely, intentionally, and consistently teaching and modeling character.

Be A Confidence Builder 

A coach should believe in their players before they are successful. Believe in them as people and competitors regardless of their level of ability. Allow them to experience and be accountable for both their successes and failures. See beyond today in their lives. Communicate value. Be the face your team needs to see to perform fearlessly.

Be A Team Builder

Intentionally develop a team culture that includes behavioral expectations for all stakeholders (athletes, coaches, and parents). Create a climate that is safe for athletes—physically safe but also, safe to take healthy risks, safe from ridicule, safe from unnecessary outside pressure, and safe to learn and challenge themselves. Build your team using standards that athletes will rise to, not rules that they will test.


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Content provided by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association. For more information visit: