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Great Players Don’t Make Great Coaches

It is a well-known practice in the world of professional sports to employ great players in the role of coach to professional teams. This trend is based on the belief that great players come with bundles of experience and should automatically fill the role of a great coach. This isn’t always the case.

The Role in Coaching

To a certain degree, it helps to have some experience in the game, when taking on the role of coach. It is beneficial in the sense that as a former player, you have a more excellent grasp in certain sport-specific aspects of the game, in the knowledge of tactical and technical issues. It also gives an exceptional understanding of the kind of socialization which occurs within the organization of a club or a team. Even though these are great to have, it only makes up for a tiny part of the entire role which a coach needs to fulfil. A coach is also responsible for much more in the sense of planning, constant preparations, one-on-one training and the many personal challenges which such role presents.

Different Experience Required

If being a former great player is not the be-all and end-all to being an excellent coach, then the question arises, what the contributing factors which great coaches have in common are? Often these include specific formal qualifications in sports education. Going back to Jose Mourinho as an example again. Mourinho didn’t even play 100 games during his time in the Portuguese second division, yet he is brilliant at managing one of the greatest soccer clubs globally, Manchester United. Mourinho’s background includes studies in sport science as well as the fact that he was employed as a physical education teacher; he was also a youth team coach and was involved in scouting new young players. He also filled the position of assistant coach before he became the head coach. The results of his background are reflected in his league title wins for Italy, Spain, England as well as Portugal. The main reason for this lack of much-needed experience in fields other than playing in coaches who had a brilliant playing career is because these former players haven’t had the time to gather experience in anything other than playing.

The Issues with Great Players

When team owners start to give preference to former players when they are looking to contract a new coach or manager for their teams, they are limiting themselves to a group with inadequate education and experience in much-needed fields. They also reduce the pool of possible candidates to a tiny group. Hence the best approach would much rather be to hire someone with an adequate level of experience in all the skills required to coach a team to greatness, rather than to pick someone based on their success as a player.

The Reasons Behind the All Black Success

It is always a daunting task to qualify one single team as being the best globally. There are various aspects to consider, like winning and consistency. When this topic is under discussion, the name of the New Zealand All Blacks is at the top of the list.

Statistically spoken the All Black has been performing magnificently not only in winning but also regarding consistency. Dating back as far as 1903, their average percentage on winning the games which they played in, stands on 77.09%. This is a number which they have improved on too. Taking their interest of victories over the past four years, the team delivers a 94.44% on games they have won. When a team is delivering such consistently excellent results, it is worthwhile to learn from their success. Hence following are a couple of reasons which are considered to be attributing to their immaculate history of success.

Early Beginnings

Rugby is being promoted and taken seriously from a very young age onwards. Without a doubt, often the first thing that any boy would be taught at school is how to pass and catch. Learning these skills are fundamental in their education and upbringing. During their entire career of schoolboy rugby, a tremendous amount of energy and effort is placed into improving their passing skills. Hence when they reach higher levels of play, these young players have been groomed to perfection on the fundamentals of the game.

Massive Investment Into High School Rugby

The rugby careers of players on the high school level is already a grave matter in New Zealand. New Zealand schools make a proper capital investment into the careers of students, with the top five schools in New Zealand excelling in rugby, spending more than $400 000 annually on improving their rugby programs. Their games also draw large crowds, often in numbers exceeding 7 000 spectators and it regularly gets broadcasted as well.

Moving On To Provincial and National Level

When these young players advance to more senior levels of playing, they enter this world already with the advantage of being skilled to perfection in the fundamentals of the game, in taking their sport seriously and with playing in front of large crowds. The opportunities for players at the provincial and national level are also plenty, but more so, the administration and coaching which are provided on these levels are immaculate. Therefore when players need to be picked for the national team to represent their country, they are skilled to perfection. On the federal level, most countries which they compete against are showing intervals where they had excellent coaching, but in New Zealand, they never have anything less than the best in their coaching calibre.

Parent Coach Leading a Young Team to Success

Statistics indicate that between the ages of six to 12 years, 70% of all children are involved in some sports activity. Indeed sportsfields globally come alive when school comes out. These same statistics also indicate that around 90% of any youth sport has some parental involvement in the role of coaching the team. To be a great parent coach is a daunting task. Not only do you need to guide the team to success, but you are also intrinsically involved in the development of these young personalities. Here are some guidelines to fulfil that role with success.

Be Certain About the Role Which You Need to Fulfill

Not only are you a teacher of particular skills to develop their sporting abilities, but also a creator of personalities. It is important to remember that in youth coaching, it is as essential to creating the person as their skills. Children need to experience the fun of being involved in teamwork and physical activity. What happens during these crucial years have an influence on their entire approach to various elements of life later on.

You Are Being Observed, Be A Great Rolemodel

Being involved in sports is about more than just winning. It is also an indication of your personality, your sportsmanship, how you bounce back after defeat and can you persevere during hardship. Sport does not only mean to compete with others but also with oneself to continually strive to improve who you are. As a coach, you are being observed by many young eyes, and they learn much more from your example than from your words. How you as a coach talk about the opposing team, how you talk to your team when they fail and how you behave during the heat of the moment are all vital examples to them of what is accepted in life and the norm to go about.

Distinguish the Line Between Being a Parent and A Coach

It can be challenging to stop parenting in the field and then switch back from it, at home. When your child is in your team, it is best to treat them like any other child while coaching. It is even considered best to let them refer to you as the coach while on the field, instead of seeing to you as their parent. It can be challenging for the child as well to be coached by a parent. It is effortless for other parents or team members to attribute your child’s success to nepotism, and the worst-case scenario is if that is true. Always be sure to switch role according to the environment which you are in and make sure that your child understands why.

Usually, when children are part of a team where a parent coach is used to train them, the odds are that they are involved in learning the greatness of being a good sportsman, a characteristic which will influence their level of success later on in life. Hence be sure to teach in a way that that correct outcomes are received.

Great Teams Function on Trust

Being the coach of a team, you would know the importance of trust within a team to be able to excel. Faith grows when the individual experience a fair share of psychological safety within the team environment. As a coach of a team, it remains your responsibility to ensure that actions which improve individual psychological safety are continually pursed by psychological safety is grounded in knowing that even if you make a mistake, you won’t be punished. When this kind of security is present within the team environment, individuals feel the freedom to speak their minds, to stick out their necks and to be creative. This leads to improved team performance.

Conflict should be Used to Collaborate, Not Alienate.

Regardless of how much humans love to win, we will always hate to lose even more. Hence whenever a situation arises which creates conflict within your team, it is best to find a solution where both parties can feel as if they are part of a win-win situation. Going into battle with the expectation that you both can walk away from the location as winners, is decreasing the possibility that someone would settle for the fight-or-flight approach. Collaborating a solution which will resolve the matter for all parties positively, is an excellent tool in any couching’s box of tricks.

Speak To Each Other On The Same Human Level

In a team, there are certain positions of importance. This can be based on social status, respect, autonomy and even competence. When entering a situation where confrontation needs to be resolved, it is better to promote reflecting on the fact that all team members have thoughts, feelings, hopes, dreams, and the list can continue. Don’t approach someone with the differences in a position separating you from each other, instead, contact the situation reflecting on the similarities binding you together. When a coach approaches a slacking player, the best wouldn’t be to do it from the perspective of being in a leadership role and speaking from a position of status, but much rather stick to an approach of one person, talking to another on the same level of humanity.

Prepare for Conflict

Before entering a situation where conflict is present, it is best to prepare for the likelihood of a couple of possible scenarios. People don’t always hear what was said, and actions aren’t still perceived as they were intended. Hence be prepared to get a variety of responses and know how you will go about to stick to your principles and real intent.

Stick to Curiosity and Refrain from Blaming

When someone might suspect that they will get blamed for a specific action or scenario, they are already on the attack and not open to finding a resolution to the matter at hand. Avoid sounding like you are planning to place blame on anyone and rather ask questions out of genuine curiosity. Instead of pretending that you know everything, remain open to new learning experiences.

Coaching the Houston Astros

The Houston Astros is doing noticeably well this season. Let’s explore the team behind the team creating success for Houston. When Hinch was signed as Astro manager in 2014, he became the 18th person fulfilling this role. During the four years which he has been at the Astro’s, he proved himself to be one of the best in MLB. Not only is he the man behind three appearances in playoffs, but also a World Series Championship. This was welcomed after a nine-year drought to the franchise. A franchise-record was also set during 2018 with 103 wins, making them the fifth franchise to break the 100 wins barrier in one season.

Joey Espada as the Bench Coach

In 2017 Espada joined the Astros as bench coach. This season is his 9th in the league as a coaching staff. Espada is also in charge of the infield positioning. Before the Astro’s he was involved at the Yankees as third-base coach, as well as at the Marlins for about eight years before his Yankee run.

Hitting Coaches

The Astro’s two hitting coaches are Alex Cintron and Troy Snitker. Cintron joined the Astro’s three seasons ago. Initially, he was their Spanish translator as well as advance coach and assistant coach before becoming first base coach, also involved in infield positioning. This year is his first season as hitting the coach. Cintron is also involved in dealing with all matters concerning the Spanish-speaking players of the franchise. This season is Snitker’s first season on the Astro’s coaching staff as well as in the position of coach in Major League. In the previous season, he was fulfilling the role of hitting coach at Corpus Christi, A Double-A team. This position earned him the title of Inaugural Mike Coolbaugh Memorial Coach of the Year in Texas League. This was based on his outstanding performance, the knowledge of the game, his skill for mentoring the youth and his work ethic.

Pitching Coach

Brent Strom has been fulfilling this position since 2013. This was his third time being a pitching coach in Major League. He was formerly the pitching coach for the Astros during 1996 and then, later on, joined up with the Royals. During 2018 the Astros set a Major League record with 1 687 strikeouts. This was done under the guidance of Strom.

Third Base Coach

Gary Pettis has been a third-base coach at the Astros since 2014. He is also involved as a baserunning and outfield instructor. Pettis has led the Astros to maintain the highest percentage in fielding in the AL, during the past two seasons, delivering .995 in 2018 and .989 in 2017. The Houston Astro’s also have Joshua Miller in the role as bullpen coach. This is his 13th season at the Astro’s. This is also his first coaching position in Major League. At bullpen catcher is Javier Bracamonte. Their catching coach is now in his second season at the Astro’s and is Michael Collins.

Choosing Basketball Coaching as a Career

Being a basketball coach requires much more of you than just being present during a practice session. It is indeed a physically and emotionally challenging career which considering that you have a passion for the sport, can be extremely rewarding. Let’s explore some of the most frequently asked questions when considering a career as a basketball coach.

How much do they earn?

Before choosing a career path, it is best to know whether the career will offer you a sustainable income. There are only a limited amount of very passionate and highly skilled coaches who make it to coaching NBA and earning the $11 million which Gregg Popovich is paid. Don’t expect the same kind of remuneration, at least not right away. On average a basketball coach can expect to earn in the region of $44 000 annually.

What Exactly Will the Job Require?

First and foremost, coaches are required to organize practice sessions, analyze players to determine how to help them excel individually within the team, supervise their physical training, guiding them into excelling as a unit and calculating the best game strategies. It is also more than that since you have to keep the team emotionally inspired and motivated to give their best.

You will be able to fill this position on various levels, from school level, collegiate basketball or professional level. You will also often have to be available for the team on an emotional level. It is a physically and often emotionally demanding position. Although at the high school level, this can sometimes be a part-time position, it is often considered as a full-time position too.

What Training is Required?

First, you will have to earn your Bachelor’s Degree. There are options available between a degree in physical education and training programs or more specialized with a degree focused on coach training. During these programs, you will learn how to work with athletes effectively, how game plans and strategies are developed, as well as how to develop training programs and enhance skills development within your team. Focus is also placed on injury prevention.

Although it is not a requirement, it is always helpful if you have a background of playing basketball yourself. This will help you to be a well-rounded coach. You will need to get certified. Most schools and colleges will require certification from you. This is to prove that you have proper CPR, first aid and coaching training.

Now you need to get as much experience as possible. The more knowledge you have to show, the better your chances of getting into better positions again start as an assistant coach and learn as much as you can while in the area. This is the perfect opportunity to gain some skills in a practical situation.

Once you can start coaching, it is your story to write and where you will end up, will depend on the amount of effort and focus which you put into your career. Enjoy your passion at all times, and you will excel.

Football Managers Setting Records for Worst Performance Ever

Often discussing the great and the brilliant in the industry, it would only be a balanced approach to take a glimpse at the opposite end of the stick as well. Knowing that Premier League is notorious for being very difficult to manage, who are the top five performers delivering the worst results in the history of Premier League management?

Ian Holloway at Crystal Palace During 2013

Holloway had the reigns of Crystal Palace in his hand for the 2013/14 season. This was during a time when they were experiencing difficulty in the top division, straight after winning promotion from the Championship. Under his guidance they have played eight games of which they only managed to win one, giving them an average of 0.38 points per game. This resulted in Holloway being fired, and it proofed to be an excellent decision for the team, moving up into 11th place afterwards with 45 points to their name.

2012, the Year of Terry Connor at the Wolves

Terry Connor truly has a reputation for being very nice, but he struggled severely in Premier League. Connor took over from Mick McCarthy. Unfortunately, the team was unable to win any games of their 13 played. Four draws brought in enough points for a 0.31 average on points per game. The Wolves ended up with a mere 25 points at the end of the season, and they moved back down to Championship, while Connor moved back into a more comfortable position of assistant manager.

Double Whammy for Mick McCarthy at Sunderland

McCarthy did it twice for Premier League at Sunderland. Once during 2003 and then again as manager during the 2005/06 season. From 37 games Sunderland managed to win two. Leaving them with a total score of 0.27 points per game. Thus they ended up at the bottom of the list with only 15 points achieved.

Derby 2007/08 season under Paul Jewell

Jewell took over a losing Derby team from Billy Davies, and he too was unsuccessful in bringing the team around again. He had his challenge cut out for him since keeping a promoted side in the League is a daunting task. During the season Derby did manage to set up a record, but it was for the lowest number of points at the end of a season ever. Not the kind of history any manager is hoping for. Derby played 24 games, lost 19 and had drawn on 5. A total of 0.21 points per game.

Crystal Palace Did It Again in 2017 with Frank de Boer

De Boer is famous for being the only manager in Premier League not to have scored a single point during the season. De Boer had grand plans when starting and wanted to get a new style of playing in the Crystal Palace team, but they were just only not up to it, and it led to great misery. They played four games and lost them all. His stay was short-lived, and he was fired relatively soon without ever earning any points in English management.

New York Yankees – Coaching Staff

The New York Yankees are having a high season, and it is time to explore the force behind the team a bit more. Since the coaching team remained unchanged since the previous season, we have to ask who the men are carrying the organization forward in their success and glory? Here we explore the careers of the behind the scenes influencers.

Aaron Boone

Very late in 2017, Boone became the 33rd manager in Yankee history. He is employed by a three-year contract which will end at the end of the season in 2020. It does, however, allow for the extension of another season. Boone was the first in baseball history, to be part of a family with three generations of great baseball players. Both his father and grandfather well as his brother were Major League players as too.

Josh Bard

Josh Bard joined the Yankees in 2018 as bench coach, after spending five seasons with the Dodgers. During his playing career of Ten Major League seasons, he played for the Cleveland Indians, Red Sox, San Diego Padres, Washington Nationals and Seattle Mariners. During his time at the Indians in 2005, he played alongside now Yankee Manager, Aaron Boone. He delivered on 586 Major League games during his career. Bard also spent some time in the Dodgers front office in the position as a pro scout and was assistant to the manager, with them for one season.

Marcus Thames

In his second year as hitting coach for the Yankees, after spending two seasons as hitting coach assistant. Under his guidance, the Yankees set the record for a single-season Major League record in 2018 by hitting 267HR. His path already crossed early on in his career with that of the Yankees, being selected in 1996 in the 30th round. During his career, he played regularly during 10 Major League seasons for the organization. Although the highlight in his playing career was a 26 HR in 110 games in 2006 with the AL Champion Detroit Tigers.

P.J. Pilittere

Being contracted by the Yankees in 2018 as assistant hitting coach to Marcus Thames, this is now his second season with the team in this position. Pillitteri is only the third person to be employed in this position in Yankee history. During his playing career, he played as a catcher during eight minor league games for the Yankees.

Lawrence Rothschild

Rothschild is in his 45th season of professional baseball. During his career, he was player, coach and manager. Currently, he is in his ninth season with the Yankees as their pitching coach. The Yankees pitchers have always been performing very well under the guidance of Rothschild. In 2018 they set their franchise record with one 634K. This record is also noted in Major League history as the second-highest mark. During his playing career, Rothschild pitched for 11 years. He played for both Detroit and Cincinnati. During his Major League career, he also made seven relief appearances for the Tigers.

A Short List of the Toughest Sports in the World

Curiosity or for bragging rights, it is good to know which sports are considered as the most challenging and brutal in the world. If compared in endurance, agility, skill, speed, physicality and strength, which ones will rise to the top as the toughest? Here are the top five.

At Number Five – Ice Hockey

Firstly note that this rating is given without considering the fighting, which is a regular feature on the ice. Speed and physicality are the highest-ranking attributes for this sport. It requires a good share of endurance to chase a puck with a stick for sixty minutes on ice. Dribbling a ball with a stick at high speed demands high levels of skill too.

At Number Four – Rugby

Rugby can sometimes appear like a bunch of thugs in a brawl. Probably also the reason for rugby not having any superstars flashing their fame, for the rugby field is most likely the place where you will get knocked down for being flashy. Brutal in many ways, requiring you to run through a wall of defence much rather than going around it. It is a high impact, physically demanding 80 minutes of running around requiring endurance and strength.

At Number Three – Boxing

This one is so straight forward; it is hard to find the proper words on expanding on it even more. Except for the high impact factor, the primary physical challenge, speed, endurance and strength which it requires, it also asks for mental toughness. Whenever any boxer gets into a ring, they know pain is an undeniable factor, and they are bound to get hurt. Then they still get on with it and delivering their best.

At Number Two – Aussie Rules

Rating on a global scale of sports played internationally, yet unless you live in Australia, you might not know what it is. Also referred to as footy by the natives. This game is played with a football-like ball on an oval field, and teams need to score by getting the ball through the posts on opposing ends of the area. This can be done either by punching or kicking the ball. It sounds easy, but the endurance required is massive, and the physicality involved is challenging.

At Number One – Water Polo

With the action happening under the surface, this Olympic sport is easy to miss out on as being the toughest. Still, it requires much of the same act of any handball played on solid ground; it only happens in the water. You can expect a lot of grabbing, kicking and other sly moves which require much physicality. The games require strength and speed, and the fact that players aren’t allowed to come in contact with the bottom of the pool is increasing the endurance requirement even further. Making this sport, mainly accessible in eastern European countries, the toughest competition in the world.

Coaching Resilience and How to Improve It

Resilience is as essential in life as it is on the sports field. Sometimes things don’t work out as planned, and then when life hits hard, you still need to have the resilience to stand up and fight back. This is a common scenario during any sports event. When one competitor or team is having an overhand above another, the ability to get up in the face of possible defeat is a skill which comes naturally for some and needs to be coached to others. Following are some advice from Olympic Gold medallists on how you can coach your athletes into being resilient in the face of defeat.

Personal Development is Key

It is essential to instil the concept with your athletes that it is vital that they compare their performance against their own. Comparing your achievement with those of others can be an unnecessary cause of strain and anxiety. These can hinder athletes from delivering their best results. In the end, it is about competing against yourself, improving your skills, techniques and performance and developing yourself into the athlete you want to be. As a coach, you want to do the same and compare an athlete’s performance only against their own and not that of others.

Handle Setback as Opportunities to Create Growth

Setbacks will happen. It is needed to happen. Without delays, you will have no reason to improve. It can be easy if delays are a regular occurrence, to get stuck in a negative place of being mentally defeated. Every setback can be analysed and be transformed as a learning curve. It is your responsibility as a coach to set the example of this during team talks.

Know Why You Want to Win

Determination is built from a clear vantage point on the end desire. The better your understanding is of why you want to win, the more attractive winning seems, and the higher the desire to win grows. As a coach, you must ensure that your team is convinced of why they want to win. They need to be able to experience a personal hunger and desire for achieving success to get up from a wrong position and march forward to be triumphant.

Creating Positivity

Sometimes a coach can find himself in a place of misery, stuck with a team who are not motivated at all. Every practice session is experienced as some form of obligatory punishment, and the entire course is riddled with negativity. A coach needs to be clear on the fact that coaching this team has been a choice made. This isn’t an obligation, and you had an opportunity to be here or not. The same goes for your athletes. They must remember that they chose to do their best and to deliver their best efforts. Always keeping in mind that what you are doing has been a choice that gives an improved sense of control over your life. This leads to a much more positive and productive outcome in the end.