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Issue 40 - The Coach as a Teacher - Part 2 (The coach - player (teacher - student) relationship)

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 1 Issue 40
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The Coach as a Teacher - Part 2 (The coach - player (teacher - student) relationship)

Coach Wooden established four essential components of being a successful coach: The Coach as a Philosopher, as an Example, as a Teacher, and as a Leader.


This week we will focus on the coach – player (teacher – student) relationship.


Coach Wooden described a coach's role as a teacher in the following manner:


The coach must never forget that he is, first of all, a teacher. He must come (be present), see (diagnose), and conquer (correct).


A student is more likely to be receptive to the correction of his teacher when they have a good relationship. Coach Wooden described eight key elements of a good teacher- student (coach-player) relationship. Coach’s comments are italicized. I have inserted my commentary after some of the points.


1. Keep a close personal-player relationship, but keep their respect. Be sincerely interested in their personal problems and easy to approach.


We don't need to take our employees/team members to TGI Friday’s for drinks and appetizers, but we do need to have a sincere interest in their personal problems. It can be very beneficial to have an hour each day when your office door is open and team members know that during that time they can come and talk to you about anything that they may have on their mind.


2. Maintain discipline without being dictatorial. Be fair and lead rather than drive.


As Coach liked to say: “You cannot antagonize and influence at the same time.”


3. Study and respect the individuality of each player and work with them accordingly. Treat each man as he deserves to be treated.


We should develop a communication/teaching style that is most effective with each student. They each have their own idiosyncrasies and may need a slightly different approach.


4. Try to develop the same sense of responsibility in all.


As Abraham Lincoln said: “The worst things you can do for those you love are the things they could and should do for themselves.”


5. Analyze yourself as well as your players and be governed accordingly.


As Coach liked to say: “The ability to see the good in others and the bad in ourselves is perfect vision.”.


6. Approval is a great motivator. Use the "pat on the back," especially after severe criticism.


As Coach liked to say: “A soft answer turneth away wrath.”


7. If you teach loyalty, honesty, and respect for the rights of others, you will be taking a big step toward a cooperative team with proper team spirit. Jealousy, egotism, envy, criticism and razzing of each other can ruin this.


Teaching employees to clean up their own break room (including the microwave) or athletes to clean up their own locker room is one way of teaching respect for the rights of others.


8. Consider the team first, but don't sacrifice a boy just to prove a point.


How important is the teacher – student, coach – player or supervisor - employee relationship? Consider this:


“The #1 reason employees leave jobs is a poor relationship with their immediate supervisor.” (The Gallup Organization)


These relationships can be difficult sometimes. Coach would remind us: “Let us overcome the angry man with gentleness.”



Yours in coaching,



Craig Impelman



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Application Exercise

Favorite Poetry

If a child lives with criticism,
he learns to condemn ...
If a child lives with hostility
he learns to fight ...
If a child lives with fear,
he learns to be apprehensive ...
If a child lives with pity,
he learns to feel sorry for himself ...
If a child lives with ridicule,
he learns to be shy ...
If a child lives with jealousy,
he learns to feel guilt ...
If a child lives with tolerance,
he learns to be patient ...
If a child lives with encouragement,
he learns to be confident ...
If a child lives with praise ,
he learns to be appreciative ...
If a child lives with acceptance,
he learns to love ...
If a child lives with honesty,
he learns what truth is ...
If a child lives with fairness,
he learns justice ...
If a child lives with security,
he learns to have faith in himself
and those about him ...
If a child lives with friendliness,
he learns the world is a
nice place in which to live ...


Dorothy L. Law

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