Athletes Vs. Coaches?

"In order to be a good Coach, you have to have played the sport you’re Coaching"


"Those who can’t, Coach"


"Great Athletes make crappy Coaches"


"The best kind of Coach is the one who was the best Athlete"


Those are all comments I heard during casual conversation at my nephew’s basketball game this past weekend.


What do you think?


Is any of that correct or just standard societal dogma with no real truth?


Post your comments below…



– Brian


46 Responses

  1. Francois Nel - South Africa says:

    In the sport of rugby union all world cups since 1995, that I know of, have been won by teams whose coach did not play the sport at the highest level. That includes teams of Australia, South Africa and England.
    However. Having played the sport should help you understand the requirements better. Having played the sport at the highest level should give the coach additional knowledge to what is required to compete and succeed at that level.
    If you look carefully I have used the word should. The problem is that most players that goes into coaching will coach in the same way they have been coached. They will generally not be up to date with what is happening in the world of sport science. Thus they will not be able to coach according to the level and abilities of the athletes.
    The problem is that to coach you need to know the science and the art of coaching as the IYCA is teaching. You need to continuously expand and update your knowledge. Having played the sport should give you the edge over other coaches.

  2. Brian Murphy says:

    i think this is so, that a good coach was once a good athlete/player. being now a coach and through there training as a ‘technition’ they can appreciate what it takes to be a good ‘practitioner’. The mind can only be succesfull in one context, after all all the best athletes in the world say they dont think about anything when they are at there best. and even if they are not, as a good athlete they should be trying to grind not go into analysis!!!!! i think great athletes can ‘coach’ because obviously the end result of coaching is to become like them but not nessecarely be a good ‘teacher’. the good athlete makes them a good athlete due to hard practice engraining feel and the good teacher, yes has pretty good feel too, in order to make accurate demonstrations, but has more of a conceptual analytical take on things, paralell to teaching techniques n styles to create optimal feel for the player to learn!

    Brian Murphy
    PGA professional golf coach

  3. john moon says:

    I think an athlete turned coach may not make him a better coach it does give him a better
    insight into what he wants from his athletes.

  4. greg pitt says:

    it is not always true that the best coach was a bad player but it is true that someone who worked hard and learned their skills will have a better idea on how to teach the skills. the opposite is also true, an amazingly gifted athlete who just picks up the skills the first time will have less experience in explanation and in some cases just not know how to teach a skill.

    however this is not always the case, there are always exceptions

  5. robert says:

    what i have witness in my time is that all the best coaches have come of grade 2 football, some of these coaches have also played some grade 1 football. and the ones that i have learn from are all from grade 2, and these guys are still coaching at the highest level, ( ie our sport is rugby league and rated as the greatest game of all. so for the debates they will continue long into the future and beyond our years.

  6. Just because one is a great athlete does not mean that they know how to teach others to become great athletes. A great coach is somebody who learns how to motivate and inspire others and has the technical know-how to develop good programs. it doesn’t matter whether or not they were a great athlete or not.

  7. Lloyd Edwards says:

    Hey, I agree with Francois, Playing a sport does give you a better understanding of whats needed to succeed. I am at the moment training to be a boxing coach, to fully understand what a fighter goes through I am also preparing myself to fight to feel out all elements that a fighter would go through. What I have found since coming to the boxing community is what I like to call the “IGNORANT COACH”. The coach that says “I got coached this way 20yrs ago, I won a couple of titles this is the training that worked for me so its good enough for you”. Having played sport at national leve, I have come across some very good coaches who were not the best atheletes and some who were very good successful athletes.

    I see it like this if you are willing and open minded to learn and develop your skills as a coach, it does not matter what level you play at you will be a good coach.

  8. Stacie says:

    All Coaches should know the sport that they are coaching…However a “Great” coach knows the sport, knows the different personalities and abilities of their athletes and has the patience to train each Athlete on a their own level.

  9. Iain Binning says:

    It is often said that knowledge is power and if a coach has the knowledge, the motivation and the inter personal skills to help make his/her athlete into the best they can be then they are successful irrespective of their background. In Rugby – Clive Woodward, Football(Soccer to you on the west side of the pond) – Jose Morinho or Arsene Wenger, they were not stars at their respective sport but because of that had to work even harder and smarter to get to the point where they were recognised as top coaches. A top player may find it easier to land a top job but that creates its own problems. John Barnes at Celtic for example, a top player but barely lasted five minutes in the manager’s seat. The jump from dressing room to head coach/manager
    was just too big. Martin Johnston would have to be cited as another example. However top sports people have made the transition from being great at their sport to great at coaching it.
    It is down to the individual and their knowledge, motivation and inter-personal skills.

  10. Tom Gose says:

    Critics of coaches need to understand that Coaches coach people not a sport, much like teachers teach students, not history or math. That is why some coaches with great backgrounds washout while some coaches with an inferior background succeed.

    Coaches who “get it”, especially at the high school level but true at higher levels, understand the people on their team. They have expectations for the group but they understand each athlete learns differently, has varied levels of motivation. Some can take a stern talk, others cannot etc.

    For example, an athlete with an injury history is almost always accomodated with an easier training camp. The same understanding of differences between athletes exists on the mental side as well but many coaches do not acknowledge it, much less accomodate it.

    I have an assistant track coach who is a retired Head Coach and is in our state Track & Field Coaching Hall of Fame. I watch him coach things he never competed in with amazing success, making the complex seem elementary. He is coaching the kids not the event/sport.

  11. Rob Kulessa says:

    Let’s take it a step deeper. An athlete who played the sport may have an advantage when teaching fundamentals of the sport but at the higher levels it is going to be an individual who has skills in motivating, teaching and game management.
    For instance, outside of being a proud IYCA-YFS1, I am also a USA Hockey official. I have found at the younger levels such as mite, squirt and pee wee it takes a guy with a feel for the playing of the game who can better teach these younger players what to do on the ice but at the higher levels like bantam and midget and into Juniors, it is a coach who understands concepts and schemes and can translate that vision to their players will be the coach who is ultimately successful.
    The athlete and the coach play 2 distinct roles in how a game is decided. Wearing both hats while in theory a great advantage has not always translated into game day victory.

  12. Rich says:

    Great topic!

    The best coaches are the ones who work hard continuously to be the best they can be. I don’t believe there is any positive or negative relationship to the level of athlete the coach was in his/her competitive days. All things being equal ( they seldom are!) being a high level athlete can theoretically give the coach a head start, because they have been exposed to and met the rigors of success, both in training and competition. There is definite value in that. On the other hand, that is just one aspect of coaching. One of the greatest track coaches in the United States over the past three decades , now sought after by US Olympians as a private coach, has been Frank Gagliano ( Rutgers, Georgetown, Oregon Track Club). He never competed in track & field! Great article about his career here: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/more_sports/2008/07/05/2008-07-05_frank_gagliano_godfather_on_track_has_ha.html

    Many times when an elite athlete fails as a coach, it is because their perspective is limited and they do not work to develop the many other skills that comprise great coaching.

  13. Richard Ruiz says:

    I have had the experince of seeing coaches that were once very good athletes, be some what impatient with kids. They sometimes don’t understand, that what came to them naturally doesn’t happen to every kid. A former athlete that had to work that much harder and overcome lack of natural talent, may be more understanding. That coach may also know exactly what it takes to bring the best out of such kids.

    There’s always an exception to these commonly known situations, but most are based on real life experinces from little league right up to the pro ranks.

  14. Pat says:

    My experience is that athletes to whom things came easily make poor coaches.

    They have trouble relating to less talented athletes, tend to have less patience with mistakes and struggles and often don’t understand what it takes to empower average athletes to perform at higher levels.

    One of my coaches was a Hall of Fame caliber player and was a good example of this.

    Things had come easily to him as an athlete so he didn’t have much to offer when it came to teaching the mechanics of the game or instilling the ability to handle adversity. While I genuinely enjoyed him as a person, he was a very mediocre coach and his record was very mediocre as well.

    So while almost all good coaches have played the sports they coach – the best often are the ones that were the hardest workers, the ones who studied the game and often were of ordinary talent.

  15. Jim says:

    Well, i coach youth sports year round. At present, i am coaching 10 year old traveling baseball. I also coach football and basketball. My experience tells me that the keys to being a successful coach have little to do with how successful you were as an athlete. Personally, i played college baseball and considered myself to be solid. However, that has meant little in my success as a coach.

    Understand the age of the kids, understanding the psychology of the parents, and good communication skills are keys. However, the single most important thing is educate yourself on the game. We may have played, but that doesn’t mean we know everything about the game we’re coaching.

    To my dismay, there are many youth coaches who never make an effort to learn anything about the game they’re coaching. To serve the kids we coach, we should always be looking from others new and innovative ways to teach our young athletes.

    Humility is a virtue. It’s being humble that will facilitate our action to learn from others who have experience that would make us better youth coaches and serve our athletes better!

  16. david pocock says:

    I consider the skill set necessary to be a good coach is not necessarily the same skill set necessary to be a good athlete. Certainly there are some skills and characteristics that overlap – dedication, discipline, focus, etc. Other skill sets are particular to one or the other – in general an athlete has to have the ability to “implement” what has been taught (comand of movement) whereas a coach has to have the ability to “direct” (identify what needs to be done). Both must share a vision for the desired outcome – and if, for the coach, that vision comes from a history of participation, that’s great but not always necessary. In the world of film, there are actors and there are directors – and sometimes the best directors have been great actors and sometimes not – but the magic happens when both parties “see” the desired outcome the same way and are able to help each other get there.

  17. Alan Edge says:

    You have to be of a certain disposition to be a great coach, so the chance of a top athlete having the correct skill set and attitude to become one is probably unlikely.
    out of all those people out there how many become great athletes ! and there are even less great coaches.

  18. mark says:

    I don’t necessarily believe you have to have played the sport to be a good coach. An example of this is Coach Scott Drew of the mens Bayor Bears basketball team. He is considered one of the youngest top basketball coaches in the country. Yet he never played in college and never even played varsity basketball in high school. I think the difference in great coaches is they have a passion for what they are doing and they have been around the game along time. This is the case for Coach Drew, his dad was and still is the coach for Valpraiso university… a team who in 1998 tourney upset several big name teams including Ole Miss on a game winner by Coach drew’s brother…Bryce Drew. I am sure Scott spent many hours with his dad learning the fundamentals and the strategies to coaching basketball.

  19. Eric Soyka says:

    I would say a great coach is someone who can inspire their athletes to succeed and teach the athletes how to practice their sport efficiently. A coach who can do these things will have motivated athletes who know how to practice any situation. The coach may have been a great competitor or may not have been, but as long as they understand the material they are teaching and have a good way of communicating it, they can be a good coach. For example, in the world of fencing, Gary C. has told many people that he was never a great athlete, while Michael M. was a 5 time Olympian. Both of these coaches have produced athletes who have fenced in world championships even though one was not a strong competitor and the other was. That’s my two cents at least 🙂

  20. Chris says:

    Brian – Very provacative question

    I believe it is more a matter of “desire” to understand your athlete and his/her sport. Their goals and objectives and what makes that athlete “tick”.
    I also beleive a high level of passion, focus and intensity make for a good coach. Seeking first to understand then delivering a prescription/solution around your athletes goals make a great coach.
    I do believe that it does help to have played and excelled at the sport your are coaching the athlete around, but again, it comes down to listening, diagnosing and prescribing.


  21. Dennis says:

    The best coach is the one that was a really bad player and trained really hard to become a great player. This coach has the advantage of learning from experience.

    It’s through experience you learn, and if you haven’t played the sport then you really don’t know how to do anything.

    I know as a coach, if I can’t do what I teach, I’m not comfortable with teaching it. If I go out there and learn how to do it myself, I end up with a completely different perspective on it and it’s now much easier to teach.

    Also, your athletes are going to believe in you more if you really know what you’re talking about.

    I think learning how to play the sport is the most important thing a coach could do.

    Even if you think you’re a really good coach, if you go out and learn how to do the skill yourself, you’ll completely change your perspective on it.

    “Words don’t teach, it’s experience that teaches” – Abraham Hicks

    You can watch all kinds of instructional videos, read books, etc, but it’s not authentic if you don’t have experience. Your players will also lack the same understanding.

    If you don’t know from experience, you really don’t know what you’re talking about.

  22. Jim says:

    The fact is, there is no correlation to the level of play or athleticism a player attains & the success of the coach they’ll be.

    Some of the greatest players in the history of professional sports could not win at the highest level. And some of the greatest coaches could never crack a line up.

    The biggest advantage a former great player has is they don’t have to earn respect in the beginning. Unfortunately for them in most cases, that respect fades as the losses pile up.

    The best way to settle this debate is to look at the coaches of championship teams & see how few were good players. Then, see how few you’ve ever heard of before they were great coaches.

    Good coaches not only have to study the game, they have to be able to adapt to the changing face of their sport. And then they have to be able to relate that information to their players, while also knowing how to motivate their team as well as each player individually.

  23. Dan says:

    There are two types of coaching in play here. One is athletic development and performance training, the other is game coaching. A great practice coach and teacher of fundamentals, does not necessarily make a great game coach. I guess that’s why pro and college coaches make the big bucks, because it is difficult. At the same time, being a great game coach does not automatically impart performance training wisdom and skill.

    In my experience having played professional sports helps primarily from a PR/Marketing perspective because people like to meet celebrities and will come to a ‘pro’ camp just to be around success. Once they are in the door, your athletic prowess means very little to coaching ability. I have noticed “celebrity” athletes who don’t know how to teach can get a pass from “camper” types, but not from those who really seek quality instruction for their kids.

    I guess the difference is between bringing 100 kids to run around for a half a day and get a celebrity camp tee-shirt, but little training, and having a 100 pay you year around to make them better athletes over the long run. (Might get a tee shirt too!) Hard to hide poor teaching over time.

    Professional/collegiate/high school coaches can provide great insight into their specific sports and are mostly proven coaches so can provide a great PR/quality coaching combo. Many of these coaches also played so there are great coaches who are former players. The key, however, is not having played a high level sport, but having been in training and practice at a high level, have a gift for teaching and a desire to learn the craft.

    If you run across a person who has great experience training as an athlete at a high level who is also a good teacher and is driven to be an expert coach, not just a former athlete, then you have a winner.

    And if you can find a celebrity athlete to help you host a camp that will bring in lots of new students, but you control the itinerary, you will definitely help your business by turning a few campers into clients.

  24. You’re always thinking my friend. This is a great question that has come up a number of times with me and my peers. Here’s my take on this subject:

    Playing sports my entire life (football, basketball, baseball. soccer), I feel it does in fact give me an edge to coach these particular sports because it gives me more confidence knowing that I understand the game and what is required to coach/train the athlete the best way to get them ready for that sport.

    That being said, until the athletes is older I feel “an athlete is an athlete is an athlete” and “a kid is a kid is a kid”. And I basically coach the younger kids all the same. We work on jumping, running, body weight strength exercises, having fun, etc. All the things kids need to build a great foundation to succeed in sports and in life.

    But as the athlete gets older, I do feel that you need some knowledge of the sport to coach an athlete the correct way. I’m not saying you needed to play the sport before, but you do need to know how the game is played and what things you eed to work on for that athlete to excel at that sport.

    For example…I never wrestled, but I love the sport. My youngest wrestled for the first time this year and I got study it, ask questions, talk to my peer about it, etc. I wanted to learn as much about the sport as possible so i could a feel on how to set a program to make the athlete better at their sport.

    Anyway, I hope this makes sense. I don’t believe you need to play the sport in order to coach athletes in that particular sport.

    But I think it is a MUST to at least understand how the sport is played. This will help you understand what you need to do to make that athlete better and it will give you more confidence while working with the kids.

  25. Tim says:

    two of the most skilled gymnastics coaches that I know of never did any of the skills that they were succesfully coaching every day. They had a passion for the sport and for the athletes that was truly amazing. They learned to coach the sport by observing and always being willing to learn something new.

  26. John Stallcup says:

    Lee Evans the first man to run a sub 44 second 400 meters (43.86 in 1968) has been one of the best track coaches in the world for decades. Ray Norton the worlds fastest 100 & 200 meter sprinter in 1959-60 mentored/coached Jim Hines (196868 100 meter world record holder and gold medal winner) from the age of 15, he also coached Houston Mcteer. Their coach Bud Winter the greatest sprint coach in history was a mediocre sprinter himself. Glen Mills (Usain Bolt’s coach) who was trained by Bud Winter wasn’t a very good sprinter either. So you can argue it both ways and be correct. It helps but isn’t mandatory.

  27. jeff hill says:

    I for one don’t like ‘blanket’ statements. Those statements tend to lump a whole group into one category. I think there are good coaches that have played the sport they coach and good coaches that have not. Being a good coach is so much more than having played the sport. In my mind, it boils down to having a passion for those whom you lead AND having a passion for the sport you are coaching. If you are genuinely passionate about people they will perceive that and want to run through walls for you. However, knowing your sport is critical to coaching your sport. That’s where playing the sport can be an advantage.

  28. SoCal Brian says:

    I think like most on here have mentioned, it does give you a certain perspective or edge to coaching. I played sports for over twenty years and I coached and trained athletes most of that time as well. Personally, a great understanding of what it takes to play a sport does not necessarily require you playing the sport to be good. I am a believer in the that it depends on the sport as well. Again, personally speaking, I have had my own coaches and also coached with coaches that were great motivators and a basic understanding of the particular sport but, were very successful coaching. If I had to sum up this mess I just wrote I would say that a successful coach knows what he is doing and finds a way to do it even better!

  29. That is an outlandish statement. Living in So California we don’t have sports like rugby, lacrosse and field hockey, nor hockey in school. If you know the movement skill and the development phases of the sport it will make you a great coach. The rules and the X’s and O’s comes from studying the game.

  30. Al Roth says:

    Unfortuanately every coach is not going to have the experience of playing every sport to qualify them as being a “Good Coach” This happens due to life circumstances, injuries, and not having the luxury of having a positive influence in their lives to mentor them thru the process. I truly bellieve if you have the Passion to make a difference, and the openess to learn (IYCA) that thru due dilegence, you will persevere and be a truly productive coach. I do believe experience of playing helps to an extent, but in the same breath note that each and every coach out there HAS watched instruction videos, and read many books. That is where they get their advantage from. When you stop reading, you stop growing. I have been an athlete and trainer and successful coach for over 28 years and have had to put away some of the training of the my past in order to grow with the science and experience of the individuals of today. To sum it all up in one final sentence, The best Coach is the individual who has the willingness to “Step out of the Box” and do what is right for the safety and effectiveness of each and every athlete they train or coach. My EGO held me back for along time. When I finally put it aside I was amazed at What I Was Truly Missing Out On. Thanks, IYCA

  31. David Egan says:


    I have heard all of these and more. I think there are a multitude of traits which make a good coach. Good coaches are: Empathetic toward their athletes. Have a sense of humor. Do not take themselves or the task at hand too serious. Are athlete focussed not self-focussed. Organized. Helpful. Focus on the journey not the result.

    David Egan

  32. Brendan Murray says:

    The answer is very simple.

    Those with the qualities best needed for a coach become good coaches.

    Those who seriously lack those qualities make poor coaches.

    A coach who has been an athlete, and note I did not say champion, has the benefit of his or her experience. This certainly helps understanding.

    Although some champion athletes do become coaches it would be wrong to assume that this also makes them great coaches. No one lacking the qualities makes a good coach.

    Usually the good athlete who has the qualities, skills, and knowledge of a good teacher becomes an excellent coach.

    At 57 years of age my learners respect me more, because I can sprint with them.

    Draw your own conclusions!

  33. Aaron Blake says:

    This is a really good question, Iam a high school sprints and relays coach and I also compete at the masters level in the 100 and 200m.
    I ran track in high school and competed for a season in college. Through my experience as an athlete you can take on some of the attributes of your coaches whether they be good or bad.
    I believe that a coach can come from both arenas what the difference is what their past experience was and how much passion they have on learning the sport and doing what is necessary to develop their weaknesses in their coaching areas.
    I coach my high school athletes to be not only better athletes but coaches, my approach is to not just coach and yell out what the practice session will be, but to explain why we are doing so many repeat 60’s with very little rest, this is very important because I want my athletes to be informed. I grew up as somewhat the “Dumb Jock” era, you didn’t ask questions as to why we are doing this even though I myself wanted to know. So when I started my coaching career
    I was determined to let my athletes know why we do what we do, at different age levels I may have to make it more simplistic. But that is why I LOVE coaching, the ability to touch a persons athletic career in such a way that they want more not just pr’s and wins but knowledge about themselves and their bodies.

  34. Stephen says:

    I’m going to make this very simple.
    Seems most of those commenting are not aware of a guy named Dan Gable.
    Most Division 1 National Championships in Wrestling at Iowa. Most in any sport (21,15 consecutive, also a record).
    Dan was also a National Champion at Iowa State as well as an Olympic Gold Medalsit at 149.5 lbs. in 1972 with not a point scored against him.
    Dan Gable may be an anomaly, but I don’t think so. Several of his wrestlers are also highly successful coaches: Tom Brands (3 time national champion, Olympic medalist, has won three consecutive D-1 National Championships at Iowa as head coach); Terry Brands (coached Olympic Gold medalist, Henry Cejudo, Gold medalist in Beijing-2008, and resident coach, till recently and now assistant with his twin brother, Tom, at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, also a national champion and Olympic medalist); Tom Ryan, head wrestling coach at Ohio State; Barry Davis, head wrestling coach at Wisconsin; and others. All of the former finsihed in the top ten at this years National Chiampionships.
    Others include Cael Sanderson at Iowa State and now at Penn State.
    I could go on. These were all great athletes and now are great coaches.
    My JC coach at Phoenix College (AZ) never wrestled and we won two JC national titles at PC and were regularly ranked in the top five year after year.
    I have had the privilege of being a very successful coach though not having the most successful career as a competitor.
    It comes down to passion, devotion, committment, etc. and we have many of those who aren’t willing to devote those characteristics to become great.
    I’m grateful that I was able to receive instruction and influence from some of the best coaches and athletes during my continued career as a coach.
    You need to instill in the athletes their trust in your committment, the compassion to know you are there for them, the integrity and character to help make them the best they can be, the selflessness to provide those in your charge with the best of resources to help them to grow beyond even their own expectations.
    “Excellence is never an accident. It is always the direct result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, skillful execution and the vision to see obstacles as opportunities.”
    Thank you for the great post and to all of the commentors above and to come.

  35. Anthony Munoz says:

    I have thought about this subject on many different occasions. I may be able to draw from my playing days but nothing and I mean nothing can take the place of hard work and effort. I coached against and know some elite athletes who coach and some of them ride the successes they have earned in the past and I have no problem with that because my concept to coaching is to soak up as much knowledge as possible and most importantly apply it. If you think you have reached the top then there is only one way to go, which is down. The help that the IYCA, Latif Thomas, and Lee Taft offer has allowed me to be an informed coach. I know because of you guys, I can take my coaching knowledge to whatever level I want and I thank God for guy’s like you. Coach vs. Athlete; I give the nod to the one who thinks there is more to learn.

  36. Brian Grasso says:

    From 1999 – 2003, I worked as the Head Strength Coach for both the Canadian and US National Synchronized Skating Teams. Never heard of the sport before 1999 and certainly was NEVER a figure skater of any kind. I also went on to be a consultant to many internationally successful teams all over the world. Love all the feedback so far…. New question —-> Does working as a Sport Coach differ from being a quality Strength Coach in sports we have never played??? BG

  37. gene whisenant says:

    Off the top of my head I can think of a handfull of great athletes whom did not fair as well in coaching as in playing their sport . To be a great coach may mean you touched or changed
    only one life during your career being a coach and lost all the games . If only one parent calls you a great coach because you did something special for his child – your a great coach. But
    overall , love for your sport and love for your fellow man are basic in the foundations of all great coaches

  38. Stephanie says:

    I do not believe that only great athletes make great coaches, nor do I believe that you had to play the sport you coach to be a great coach.

    A great coach understands the athlete. They motivate in the spirit of sport and bring out the best in their athletes. They communicate well and understand the sport and all it’s many facets. A general knowledge of the rules is needed of course. Some of the best teachers aren’t the best competitors but they understand technique and know how to get their athletes to perform at their highest level.

    Case in point, A soccer coach never played competitively, but she knew the game very well and knew conditioning and training techniques for overall fitness. She took avg atheletes and instilled in them belief in themselves and gave them the opportunity to try and learn. The end result, the athletes were able to compete a t a higher level than anyone expected, they loved the game and grew as players and people. That is a great coach.

  39. Raj Thompson says:

    Great Athletes don’t make great coaches. Magic Johnson was a great athlete but a horrible coach. Michael Jordan was the best athlete and a horrible GM. There are athletes that can coach but it’s usually an athlete that wasn’t really big time but understood the game. If you’re going to coach a sport make sure you played the sport. It makes no sense to be a football coach if you ran track or played soccer. Not a good mix. Every coach needs knowledge of the whole game from schemes, training, recruiting, motivational speaking etc. I’ve known coaches that I thought started or had significant playing time but in reality they were on the bench or hardly played. An athlete that turns into a coach must understand that athletes he/she is coaching. Take from your experiences and use them as a tool to be a better coach. Learn to connect with your athletes and earn their respect then you’ll be a respected coach.

  40. Greg says:

    Here is an article about a respected coach, Milton “Dubby” Holt, that coached the Idaho State team to a conference championship. The irony is that he couldn’t swim (http://www.isubengals.com/genrel/010707aaa.html). Passion, coaching/teaching skills, and a critical eye go a long way towards being a good coach.

  41. Spida Hunter says:

    Everyone has their place;

    E.g. I went to a BJJ seminar in the weekend with a black belt (1 of 8 in Oceania) & his ability to “do” was awesome, fluid, athletic, graceful etc….. He’s a “athlete”.

    His ability to “coach” via communication was just above average!

    His brother is a purple belt & his ability to be athletic, graceful etc… is average however his ability to communicate what he’s attempting is Excellent!!!

    So who is better?

    They both have their place, the best coach can do both the above AND communicate in a way that the person can “comprehend” the information being taught!

    This can only be done via the “coach” learning how different people learn information & teaching a format that suits the majority or covers all aspects. Big picture, to detail etc…..

    Anyway Brian, any good coach to me is someone who can communicate enough for the person to get it and this is a life DEVELOPING skill!!

  42. Harold Piersey Jr says:

    To be a great coach you must love what your doing and have a passion to train and listen to our youth. We must learn from them as well as they from us and lead them towards there dreams and goals. Everybody has their opinion about this issue, but the lessons we learn can only make us better. As long as we don’t make the same mistake twice players will respect us and coaches will respect the players.

  43. Harold Piersey Jr says:

    By the way, I was a big time player for the U. of Missouri with a lot of awards and played professional football for a short period. I understand football and the history of it, which some of our athletes don’t realize yet can go a long way. So like I said before, you have to have a passion for anything you do and have fun doing it which will sperate a good coach from the great coaches.

  44. Janila says:

    I agree that one of the aspects of being a *better coach requires first-hand experience. It is different to study the sport and ask other coaches and players than experiencing it first hand. While this will not decide whether you are a good coach or not, it is a benefit.
    I cannot agree: “Those who can’t, Coach”/”Great Athletes make crappy Coaches”/”The best kind of Coach is the one who was the best Athlete”
    I have had a few great coaches in my sporting career so far who are just as capable as any college athlete but choose to coach because it’s their passion. Others that I’ve known coach because they were once athletes in that sport, and love to help athletes achieve their potentials. The last two quotes are not well supported. Great Athletes can make great coaches; take Diego Maradona for example. The best athlete does not always make the best coach. They may have achieved great things in their athletic career, but this does not denote their ability as a coach. One of the most important things in a coach is passion. A great athlete who coaches without any belief or spirit will not be (as) successful.
    Of course, there are many who are exceptions to my statements–those who fit perfectly under these quotes.
    Just my thoughts, feel free to disagree. There is just so much to the art of coaching.

  45. Steven says:

    A coach does need experience as an athlete to be an effective coach.

    However, an athlete stilll requires training as a coach, not just personal sport experience, to be an effective coach.

  46. Ed says:

    If you are passionate about coaching you can always get the required skill sets through continuing education. Lot’s of former athletes pick up coaching without the real desire to excel as a coach, and invariably it shows in their interpersonal skills, first with the kids, then with the parents. It generally does not end well. If you love it you can do it.

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