Go to social media and you will see a constant trend of “coach bashing.” Parents complain about coaches. Players complain about coaches. High school coaches claim that AAU coaches are ruining the game. AAU coaches claim that HS coaches are too political and hold their players back from maximizing their potential. So, do bad coaches exist?
Yes. Bad coaches are everywhere. There are bad high school coaches, bad AAU coaches, and bad collegiate coaches. “Bad” is a relative term, which depends on who is judging the performance of each coach. Before this starts to sound too negative, which we might have already passed that point, we need to explore what makes a “bad coach.” Below you will find the ABC’s of “bad coaching.”
A| About Me
This is the coach that thinks that the 45-point win is about his coaching ability and not the massive talent advantage on his roster. When a coach makes the success of the team about themselves, they lose sight of the number one objective for all coaches, which is to serve their student-athletes. The “about me” coach can not move past their ego, which prevents them from empowering their players, and ultimately stunts the development of the people within their program.
B| Blame Others
Some coaches are undefeated, if it weren’t for those darn officials. Bad coaches find countless reasons to avoid taking ownership for the challenging moments that come with the job. When the team suffers a loss, the players are referred to as “they.” You might hear something like, “they didn’t want it bad enough.” Good coaches are able to take ownership for the challenging moments, and maintain the focus on what “WE” need to do to work through challenging moments. Bad coaches that “blame others” survive by pointing a finger at the uncontrollable things, which take the attention on things that the coach could be doing better. Blaming others is like vomiting around your team. You feel better afterwards, but everyone around is disgusted, doesn’t want to be there anymore, or is also vomiting out the same blame that started with you.
This bad coach is always talking about what could be accomplished, if they had the same advantages as everyone else. Complaining is frustrating to everyone else, does you no good, and does not move your team forward. Instead of being jealous and complaining about what a successful program has, use that energy to study other successful programs. Unfortunately, complaining gives a bad coach the satisfaction of deflecting the negative attention. All coaching jobs are not created equal, but all coaches are also not created equal. Bad coaches complain, because it makes them feel better about themselves. Good coaches spend their energy attacking the challenges, so that their competition will eventually complain about the program that they have built. Bad coaches are about themselves, they blame others, and there is always something to complain about which establishes a negative and losing culture.
Thankfully, we can find incredible examples of coaches who are avoiding the ABC’s of bad coaching. These coaches take ownership and accountability for everything in their program. By taking ownership, the coach is empowered to find a way to embrace challenges, improve each day, and eventually build a championship culture. Coaching is a challenging job and the ABC’s of bad coaching will tempt all of us. Put your players first, take ownership for challenging moments, and maintain a positive outlook and your program is destined for a bright future.