The unemployment line continues to grow for NFL fired coaches this season. Locker room epitaphs might read something like, “his players gave up on him”, “he took the hit that player personnel should have taken”, or maybe even, “he deserved it.”
With the firing of Brad Childress, Wade Phillips, Josh McDaniel, and most recently, Mike Singletary, other coaches with fledgling teams are feeling just a tad of uneasiness about the future of their j-o-b.
As each team evaluates their future, and player personnel puts on their thinking caps, what will these teams be looking for in their future head coaches? Some of these teams have had several coaching changes in the past few seasons so how can they ensure they have the right man for the job this time around? First, foundational work needs to happen in the front office.
Before a team makes any major decisions, they have to have their own internal structure in place. Any organization, NFL or otherwise, will self-destruct if there is internal conflict, strife, power and control struggles, and an overload of ego. When all departments are willing to work together, only then can a head coach come in and put his own master touches on the organization as a whole.
A head coach needs free reign to design his own kind of team but not without the support and expertise of his supporting staff.
It can be challenging trying to get all that testosterone and the various personalities to work together as one unit. Let’s examine some traits that every head coach needs to possess to have a chance at a winning team.
A head coach absolutely needs to know how to bring out the best in himself, his staff, and players.
He needs to understand what motivates individuals to exceed expectations. He needs to be able to share his own wisdom in a way that promotes the highest magnitude of respect among teammates and staff.
A head coach needs to set a personal example of excellence in all he does.
His own life, family, priorities, and work discipline speak volumes without him ever having to say a word. He needs to work harder, smarter and with more dedication and detail than anyone else.
A head coach needs the utmost self-disciplined, detailed preparation for every practice and every game.
The carefully structured journey of preparing fully and playing at the highest level of ability will always reap rewards. Everyone on a team wants to win but it is careful attention to the journey itself that produces the by-product of reaching the goal. Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden told his players, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”
A head coach needs to instill the thought in his team that they’ll make mistakes but they won’t be failures.
John Wooden also communicated to his players, “You can make mistakes, but you aren’t a failure until you start blaming others for those mistakes.” Personal accountability is something every head coach needs to personally embrace. If the head coach is not putting forth his best effort, he can’t expect his team to put forth their best effort.
There are additional traits besides the ones mentioned here that a head coach needs to have in order to build a strong foundation for his team.
Weigh in and let me know what coaching traits you think are the most important in building a winning NFL team What coaches do you feel would make a good match for each team needing a head coach?
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