There are a ton of great coaches out there. Over the years, I have been so fortunate to have learned so much from so many and I will continue to learn! It is crucial in any coach’s development to be a “lifelong learner”. As I always say, “When you stop learning, you have stopped living.”
That being said, some of my personal “mentors” were highlighted in an awesome book entitled “Beyond Winning”, by Gary Walton. The six coaches studied included two of my all-time favorites, Vince Lombardi and John Wooden. Man, if you can’t learn from those two of the best coaches ever, then who can you learn from?
Reading through the book (for about the 4th time!), the philosophies and values of all the coaches could be summarized by listing the 10 characteristics common to them all:
- Committed to individual integrity, values and personal growth
- Profound thinkers who see themselves as educators, not just coaches
- Well-educated (formally and informally) in a liberal arts tradition
- Long time commitment to their athletes and their institution
- Willing to experiment with new ideas
- Value the coach-athlete relationship, winning aside
- Understand and appreciate human nature
- Love their sport and work
- Honest and strong in character
- Human and therefore imperfect
Everyone wants to be regarded as a top notch, quality coach right away. Everyone wants immediate results. Improvement and winning has to happen NOW. But it is a process. And this process takes time.
As you examine the list of values and philosophies and compare them to how you are as a coach, ask yourself how you match up with the best coaches of all time.
“Pursue Perfection, Achieve Excellence”