Monday 18th December 2017,

Coaching vs “The Team”

Editor November 26, 2016 Sports Performance Comments Off on Coaching vs “The Team”
Coaching vs “The Team”

The question is, does a “coach” make the team or does “the team” make the coach? With much debate over the topic, I’m sure a great argument could be made from both sides.

Let’s take for example the Massillon Tiger Football team coached by Nate Moore. Cincinnati LaSalle, a team that was formerly coached by Nate Moore and won a State title during his tenure, has since returned to the state finals, won last year without him and has returned again in 2016 for a possible 3-peat. Then, we have the Perry Panther’s. Currently being coached by Keith Wakefield. Perry made the State Playoffs 4x in his first tenure. He was then fired.  He may have even retired. Not 100% sure.  Over the course of 8 years of his absence, Perry qualified for the playoffs only one time. After 2 different coaches having very little success, Perry decided to bring Coach Wakefield back, where he returned to the sidelines in 2013. Since then, they’ve been in the playoffs 3x, making it to the state finals in 2015 and again in 2016. Ironically, playing against Cincinnati LaSalle.

So in this instance, we definitely have two-sides of the coin. Is it the team OR is it the coach?

We could list plenty of examples that seem to point towards the coach when discussing the NFL. From Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and every other quarterback that starts for the New England Patriots, they still seem to win a lot of games. Then flipping the coin and looking at a team like the Dallas Cowboys who has never won 10 games in a row in the history of their program. Take their starting quarterback out of the lineup (with the same coach), replace him with a rookie qb and a rookie running back and poof, the team seems to be on their way to setting numerous records across the league. Weird, right? Is it coaching or is it the team?

We can list another scenario with the Cleveland Cavaliers. A team that has arguably the best player in the league. This team makes it to the NBA Finals in 2015. Returns the following year, fires their coach midway through the 2016 season. Awards another coach the head position and the result made the history books with the Cav’s winning the NBA Title.

There are literally hundreds of other scenarios that could be addressed from the Ohio State Buckeyes under Luke Fickell, followed by Urban Meyer to the rapid rise of the Michigan Wolverines under Harbaugh.

Yes, talent is important. Yes, coaching is important. We may never know who is ultimately responsible for the success of a team. Every situation will be different. From injuries, to gut-wrenching sideline decisions that didn’t work out.

What is very clear most of the time, when things are going good, everyone seems to reap the rewards.  When things aren’t going well, fingers are being pointed everywhere and in some cases, the coach is replaced. A prime example would be the on going saga of the Cleveland Browns.

From a coaches position, I can easily say, not all coaching is the same. As a coach, I care less about an athletes potential and more about what they do with it. After all, there are a lot of very talented and gifted “under-achievers” out there that aren’t doing much with their skills. A good coach could find a way to keep that from happening.

Perhaps that’s what Wakefield is good at. As well as Urban Meyer and Bill Belichick.  When it comes to team sports and coaching, I feel it’s about gaining respect and trust in one another. Believing in each other and creating realistic goals is a must. After all, there is nothing worse than having an athlete with high expectations combined with a lazy work ethic. At the end of the day, a coach has a job to do and that’s to put his players and athletes in the best position to improve themselves safely. The athlete also has a job to do. The athlete is supposed to take care of themselves, trust their coach and give their very best effort each and every day. Match up the two and perhaps that’s the secret to success.

Yet the debate is still open… no winner or loser… the end result is often viewed as both good calls as well as bad luck. And of course someone will receive credit as well as blame no matter what the situation is.

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— tr




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