Hiring the Right Coach

Michael Shukis

Hiring the Right Coach


It's hard to hire the right coach. Look around the country. People hire the wrong coach all the time. A coach gets hired, has a few bad years, and then gets fired. Before you know it, programs spiral downhill. It's better to avoid this problem and hire the right coach.

But how can you hire the right coach? The answer is simpler than you think.

There's one qualification that matters in coaching: fight. The good coaches have it. The bad ones don't.

What is fight? Fight comes from work. Fight is earned, not given. It means you put your hands in the dirt and work. It means you aren't the most talented but you work the hardest.

Coaches with fight work for what they have. They have no choice; they aren't given anything.

Here's a few things to avoid when hiring a coach. You don't want the five-star recruit or the Heisman trophy winner. The game comes too easy for most of them. You don't want the best player on the team. Many good young players have natural skill, not work ethic. Natural ability doesn't help people learn the sport. It means they can play, not coach. Coaching is about teaching. To teach, you have to know the sport. You learn it by practicing and studying it.

Never hire a coach because they were a good player. Playing at a high level is not a qualification. Hire a coach that improved because of the work they did.

So, what qualities develop fight? The best coaches have a consistent work ethic. Work ethic is built, not given.

When these coaches were athletes, they improved every year. They were never the best player on the team, but they fought every day to get better. They might've been college walk-ons, but they earned playing time. Fight is developed; it isn't something you're born with. And it isn't something you can teach.

A coach with fight is one that does everything to maximize their potential. They don't accept "no" for an answer. They do whatever it takes to get the job done. They trust themselves. They've spent thousands of hours watching film and practicing. You want the coach that hones their craft.

Unfortunately, it's never been harder to hire the right coach. Many coaches say all the right things. That's the easy part. But then they have to do the job. And when they fail everyone wonders why. If you look at their past, it's easy to see why. A naturally gifted player rarely makes a good coach.

If you want the right coach, don't hire the most skilled player. Hire the one in the trenches working. Hire the person who gets better every day. Hire the one that acts instead of talks. A lot can be said for the person willing to roll up their sleeves and work. Teams follow that person. They trust them. And when they trust them, they succeed.

tags: coaching,hiring

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