Monday, June 8, 2015

Top Ten Peeves with the game #5

5. The continual use of the term: "Players Coach" It's not the term itself. It's the perception of the term. Bill Parcel once said that if he was called that he would take it as an insult. He hated it. Yet, all the players said they loved him. He was tough demanding - his players cursed him but loved him. The term has taken on a life of itself insinuating a coach who allows his player a lot of leeway or coach who runs a "loose" ship in order to keep the players happy! (I really don't think that was what it was meant to be but it has morphed into that.) It has also taken on a reverse meaning also for those who believe that if you are not labeled as a "player's coach" you must be some mean SOB who just doesn't care about the players. (Sometimes the one who tells the player his problems man to man, who demands the player grow up to be a man, the one who is the hardest is the one who cares the most.) This is furthest from the truth. Style doesn't mean if you care. Caring and meeting needs mean if you care.

I think when the term first came out it wasn't meant as it is taken now. I first heard the term used with Bo Schembechler based on the fact his players played their ass off for him. I am sure it was used before that, however, I never had heard it. Yet "Bo" was one of the most demanding ornery (at times) hard-ass coaches there ever was. But over the years the term has been skewed.

The problem comes when people classify with such a broad stroke and when media perpetuates an image. I was recently asked in an interview if I was a player's coach? It was a question that was impossible to answer for it depended on the authors meaning. The term in itself has become ambiguous.

The point here is one size doesn't fit all. There are the loosey - goosey types who win, There are demanding types who win. The key is to be yourself. The players will see if you are sincere. They don't care if you are a hard-ass or a softee. They just want to know you care. In an educational setting (High school or college) if he coach succeeds in getting the young man to grow as a person, student, player. If the coach gets his player to reach his goals of championships and college entrance and being a productive member of society - he should be classified as a players coach. For what else can a player ask for!

My real pet peeve with this is because it has become so familiar in society and so present in everyday sports media, many coaches think they should coach to this style. Schools think they need to hire to this style. Without defining what it means thats a dangerous precedent. (If you went around an interview panel they would all define it differently.) Players want you to be you. They want you to be knowledgeable - an expert. They want you to sincerely care not just put on an image of caring. They want you to be able to get them where they want to go. Coaching to a style no matter how demanded by media and administrations is dangerous and usually a losing proposition.

Nothing wrong with a term - just define it then I can decide if I fit in it.

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