It is getting to be the time of year when most teams have experienced some success, and also have had to deal with some sort of adversity. I always find it interesting and revealing seeing how coaches deal with both.
The accompanying document and philosophy really guides how I (we) try to speak to players, parents, and the media in regards to our program. Each “Chain” (as in “chain of command“) deals with a different set of circumstances, but both rely on the underlying principal that we (coaches) are adults and professionals and the players are really just kids.
The first “Chain” in the document is the “Chain of Accountability”, which guides our thinking after or during some adversity, such as a loss, poor practice or scrimmage. I believe that the first person that needs to take responsibility, to be accountable, after a loss is the head coach, followed in turn by the coordinators and position coaches. . It is far too easy for a coach to say, “Those darn kids just didn’t play well tonight”. In these types of situations I would much rather use phrases like “As a head coach, I needed to do a better job of preparing our athletes for this contest” or “As Defensive Coordinator, it is my job to make sure we put our athletes in a position to stop the opposing offense, and tonight I did not do a very good job of that.” Ultimately everyone (including the athlete) IS responsible and accountable– I just think as professionals and adults it is part of our job to deflect criticism from those below us on the chain, whether it is another coach or our players.
The converse of the “Chain of Accountability” is the “Chain of Praise”, which guides our thinking and comments when something positive happens in our program like a win or when a team accolade is awarded. In this case, the first people that need to be praised are the athletes, our players. Again as adults, I think the coaches in this situation need to be confident enough in our own work that we shower praise on those below us on the chain, whether it is another coach or our players. Instead of taking credit myself for the victory, I would prefer phrases like “Our athletes really played well tonight and executed the game plan that our assistant coaches worked hard to implement this week” or “Our running back coach really spent a lot of time working on ball security this week, and it was really reflected tonight in the turnover margin”
The bottom line, our players are kids, often with fragile egos and an undeveloped maturity level. As adult, professional coaches, we should be able to shoulder more of the burden during tough times, and need less uplifting during the good times.
Thanks again to PrepsKC for running this column both online and in their weekly print magazine. If you get a chance to go and visit their site and “Like” this post, I would appreciate it!
You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you.. Don’t Believe It!
Jeff Floyd – firstname.lastname@example.org