Your Letters & Pictures

Are you ready to coach? By Ron Lavi

(This article is only my opinion; it is based on my experience and it is an attempt for a dialogue.)

What does it take to be a coach? Does a team take on the Coach/Managerís personality!? Do nice guys (coaches) win? What is the different between a Coach and a Trainer?

SoÖyou want to be a coach. You believe that since you are or you were a very good player you will be a good coach. You are preparing yourself to teach your players the fundamental of your sport and you believe that you are going to be a winning coach.

If we look at the greatest players in their sport, we discover that most of the greatest players in their sport did not choose coaching or were not successful coaches and most of the successful coaches were not successful players in their sports.

There are very few successful soccer coaches that were also successful soccer players. Johan Cruyff, Franz Becknebauer (both on the top 20 all time soccer players), and Mario Zagallo and Enzo Bearzot (not on top 20 of all time) are some of the very few that were very successful.
On the reverse side, the most successful Coaches in their sport, like Alex Ferguson, Rinus Michels in soccer, Phil Jackson, Red Auerbach, Pat Reily and Larry Brown in Basketball, or Bill Parcell, Bill Walsh and John Madden in Football were not considered the top players in their sport.

In addition, donít you wonder why, many times, coaches with the best collection of talents in their sport donít win the top trophy? Why, for example, Rick Adelman, with a great group of talents, in Portland and in Sacramento did not win the championship? Why Steve Mariucci, with a great 49ers team, was not successful? It is also given and understood the greatest coaches in the world need talent to win.

Winning in sport, in most cases, is determine more by your mental strength than your physical ability and I believe that a good coach has a lot to do with how well his team is prepared to play the game.

I believe that a good coach is similar to a successful manager in a successful company or department. A good coach must have very strong people skills. He must be a good communicator combined with discipline, fairness and must find a way to get the most out of his players.

Having a solid understanding of soccer or a sound soccer philosophy is just one part of being a good coach. A successful coach spends a major portion of his time on player issues. These issues include: recruiting, motivation, team work, players ego, alignment/formats, positive communication and serves as a second parent/teacher to understand his players on a personal basis.

I strongly believe that teams, in most sports, eventually take on their coach/managerís personality, just like kids learn from their parents. It is not always how well you know the game; it is more important how well you deliver the message. A good coach should be a strong leader.

Most soccer teams in the upper level soccer leagues have several trainers (or assistant coaches). The trainerís primary contribution to a team is teaching the fundamental of soccer. This is where I see a good soccer player can contribute when he or she decides to be a coach.

Ron Lavi
President of the Marin Soccer League

Posted on 30 Jan 2006 by coachgianni
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