Coach Leadership Never More Important Than Now

By FirstDown PlayBook on Aug 25, 2020

We first published this article back in 2013. As some schools are opening across the country with the Covid pandemic staring us right in the face, this article seemed appropriate to re-post. You can bet that where there are new rules to be enforced, there will be coaches in near proximity enforcing them to keep your kids safe.

We can all remember what that first day of school is like. There is an air of excitement, nervousness, and in many cases chaos. Of course, the responsibility of putting some order to this chaos lies with the teachers, coaches and school administration. This is no small task but important. After all, if there is no order then it’s hard to have education.

The majority of the time the football coaches will be either the official or unofficial overseers of order in a high school. I first saw this when I was in high school, as my football coaches were often looked to when it came to maintaining order in the school hallways.

As I became a college football coach and recruited many high schools over a period of twenty years, I saw the same thing. When something happens on the school grounds, it is normally a coach who gets called on the school radio.

The coach may actually have this as his or her main responsibility in the school, as often the coach is also teaching History or some other class. However, when all hell breaks loose, school security and coaches are the first people to get called.

Why is this? Well, of all the many personality traits that a coach must have to be successful, being a leader ranks right up there. Coaches are also used to conflict and aggressive behavior. They are used to taking charge in difficult situations.

The best high school coaches seem to get the fact that they affect the entire school and not just their football team. Some students may like him and some may not, but nearly all of them will be aware of his presence in that school.

The best run schools always seem to have a great working relationship between the school administration and the coaching staff. If they are on the same page and have a healthy respect for one another then it shows up. Unfortunately, I have seen the other side of that coin. When the coach did not embrace the responsibility or the administration was at odds with the coach it was not a good situation. Trust me when I say it shows up when you walk that school’s hallways as well.

So as this weird covid school year starts and the prep football season kicks off in some areas, coaches will once again be challenged with whipping their team into shape. Coaches understand that the media will criticize them, parents and fans will second guess them. School administrators will expect them to produce a team that will be the source of school pride not embarrassment.

However, as you watch those coaches wearing the headsets this weekend keep this in mind. The most import thing they did for your child’s school this week might have happened on Monday through Friday from opening bell to the close of school.

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