We have training and teaching programs for every occupation, right? Wrong. Real estate agents need a degree in their field to obtain the credibility to sell us homes and land. Insurance salesmen need an education in the discourse of both sales and accounting to fully understand their industry. But, coaches have no required education.
Coaches, the people faced with the responsibility of molding and inspiring our youth, require no training? Coaches aren’t obligated to get a degree in coaching or leadership, but teachers are. Teachers, who are also in a sensitive position of teaching and molding young minds are required to get a degree in teaching — some are even required to obtain an advanced degree. So, we have two occupations. Both involve the heavy responsibility of caring for our youth and leading them into careers as adults. Both require sensitivity, intelligence, and tact. Coaches, on the other hand, at the professional and college level can earn millions of dollars each year, while teachers earn only a fraction of that. But, there is no formal education or degree required to become a coach?
While “coaching coaches” may seem a bit meta of a phrase, there is no better way to describe the work of the NFL-NCAA Coach’s Academy. They are seeking to change the way coaches approach coaching. They are taking it upon themselves to train former athletes that are now current coaches on the aspects of the coaching profession no one trains you on. They are instilling a curriculum, a base line of understanding, a template in which coaches can follow to effectively and successfully coach their players to the best of their ability.
The program “guides former and current college and professional players and current high school and college coaches through the intricacies of the coaching profession.” This may at first glance appear to be a rudimentary training program, but it is anything but ordinary. Before the NFL-NCAA Coach’s Academy, there was no way for coaches to get better at coaching other than just by trial and error. Is that really how we want our coaches to tackle their jobs? Wouldn’t we much rather have a regulated training program with actual implementation for those people tasked with the responsibility of shaping our youth? That is exactly why the NFL-NCAA Coach’s Academy is so groundbreaking and so important. It is the first of its kind and is doing a great job of teaching coaches how to get better not just at coaching, but better at people, too.
But, what about coaches of sports like peewee football and other elementary and middle school sports teams? Should we just trust them to know what they’re doing without training when even college and NFL coaches need training? No, so why don’t we change that?
The idea of the NFL-NCAA Coach’s Academy doesn’t have to stop at professional, college, and high school sports — its principles can be extended to coaches of even younger players as well. Just watch this video of how this children’s sporting event quickly turned violent.
These are parents and coaches getting confrontational and violent over a peewee football game. They are teaching these kids that it’s okay to get angry and use your fists when a call doesn’t go your way or the ref doesn’t favor you. This behavior is wrong. And, if there were more institutions like the NFL-NCAA Coach’s Academy, coaches would learn how to make these types of unfortunate situations more avoidable, more discouraged, and less frequent.
Just because you’re a coach doesn’t mean you know everything, and it doesn’t mean you don’t need a little coaching yourself now and again. There is absolutely no shame in a coach needing some training outside their field of expertise because coaching isn’t all about grinding your athletes and winning games — it’s about molding young minds, shaping our youth, and preparing athletes for their futures through hard work, determination, and dedication. To do this, you need to know how to interact with people.
Coaches need to know how to talk to their players, how to listen to them, and how to guide them through tough times. You are not just a coach. You are their role model, their leader, and sometimes the closest thing they have to a present parent. Act like one. Actually, care about your athletes and learn how to care for them physically, mentally, and emotionally. And, if you don’t know how to do this without some training, well, you’re not alone.
Chad Q. Brown’s Profile is a retained consulting firm incorporating distinct team building and talent strategies utilizing proprietary technology and behavioral assessment infrastructure. Our mission — help people get better at people.
Chad Q. Brown