Are You a Good Coach–or a Great One?

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FSU football coach Bobby Bowden

Successful coaches and athletic directors are more than great motivators. They are leaders, mentors, and teachers. They cultivate behaviors in their athletes that drive passion and performance. Here are some of the traits that separate the best from the rest.

Lead by example.

Athletes notice when commitment and passion comes from the top. If you want your team to go the extra mile, you need to demonstrate your willingness to do the same. You set the standard for work ethic; now dare everyone on your team to keep up.

Share the game plan.

The need to know the “why” is important for any winning team. If your athletes understand how their intense training schedule supports the team’s greater goals, they’ll be more inclined to go the extra mile in practice and on game day.

Coach the person, not just the athlete.

Your job as a coach goes beyond the X’s and O’s of skills and strategy. When you take an interest in the lives of your athletes, you’re better equipped to address their needs, help them grow, and cultivate a culture of excellence among your players.

Communicate effectively.

All of the technical knowledge in the world won’t help you if you can’t communicate it effectively. Take time to understand how your players learn and then tailor your instruction accordingly. The best coaches are able to deliver both criticism and praise in a way that’s well received and taken to heart.

Keep your eye on the ball.

Success is a moving target. To stay relevant, you must commit to lifelong learning and continuous improvement. You must also strive to develop at a faster pace than your peers. This is where earning your Master of Athletic Administration online from Ohio University can give you a competitive edge.

Be a game changer.

Good coaches follow successful sport programs. Great coaches invent new ones. Creativity is key to your success as a coach. Remain open to innovative ideas and teaching philosophies. Stay up-to-date on the latest sports tech. Take risks and drive change.

Push for peak performance.

Great coaches make training challenging – physically, mentally, tactically, and emotionally. They plan workouts with great attention to detail. And they understand that every training session should provide the optimal environment in which athletes can reach their full potential.

Stay humble.

Every coach wants to win games, but not at the expense of skill development. Great coaches realize it’s about the team, not the man behind the bench.


Learn more about earning your online Master of Athletic Administration from Ohio University.