The other day my son was sharing some frustrations he was having at work. They were frustrations that many of us have faced in the workplace… and many of us have faced as young coaches.
My son is a very hard worker, knows his stuff, is very loyal to the company, but one of the newest members of his work team. His main frustration is that he would like to be given more opportunity and shown trust in his work.
I took my first coaching job in 1979 as an assistant at Blue Springs High School. Fred Merrell was the head coach (he was my high school coach when I played at Blue Springs) and taught me a great deal about coaching and teaching. He worked with me on game planning, figuring offensive tendencies from scouting reports and 16mm film, and teaching me about how to “balance” up a defensive alignment against an offensive set.
1981 was my third season of coaching at Blue Springs. That year we had a very good team, with some very talented players. Our Homecoming game was against Rockhurst High School, which was the first ever meeting in this great rivalry between the two schools. Rockhust had an excellent team (as usual), and was entering the contest undefeated. We felt like we had a very good game plan against them, and our players performed great in the first half.
In the 4th quarter we had a 20-0 lead and were commanding the game, when Coach Merrell came up and asked if I would like to make the defensive calls for the remainder of the game. I was 24 years old with three years coaching experience, and Coach Merrell was willing to turn over the reigns… even if it was at this late juncture…. I was ecstatic, and remember the moment to this day. I was a hard worker, knew my stuff, was loyal to Coach Merrell and our team, but was the newest member of the coaching staff. Coach Merrell still gave me an opportunity and trusted my work. His trust gave me great confidence and motivated me to work even harder.
We ended up winning that game, 20-0, and Rockhurst went on to post a 12-1 record that season, ending up as State Champions.
If you are a young coach, work hard to show you deserve to be trusted… know your stuff… be a great teacher…. be loyal… your time will come.
If you are the veteran, think about the coach (or coaches) on your staff that you can mentor. Often your young coaches, even though they may not have the experience, are hungry, hard workers, enthusiastic, and may have skills you can develop and harness to make your squad better. What young coach needs to be given an opportunity and trusted?
As a side note, one of my players on that 1981 squad, Tim Berry, passed away this week. Tim started at fullback and linebacker on that 1981 team. Tim Berry was one of the toughest yet kindest football players I have ever coached.
Tomorrow – the flip side… the importance of experience!
Jeff Floyd – firstname.lastname@example.org