Recently I attended a dinner that featured a well-respected Division I offensive coordinator as the guest speaker. The coaches credentials were impeccable. He had been successful in Group of 5 and Power 5 schools, leading several young men who earned All Conference and All America honors. He helped many achieve their dream of playing in the NFL. During his speech, he spoke of his philosophies on game planning, game management, player discipline, playing time, practices, and the like.
He mapped out practices for those grueling summer workouts, as well as game weeks themselves. Player development and preparation went hand-in-glove. His expectations for player conduct both on and off the field were crystal clear. His players loved, respected, and played hard for him at every stop.
The coach opened the floor for questions. Specific players and a few game scenarios were the subjects of most of the questions. Then it was my turn. I prefaced my question by confirming that he expended a significant amount of time and energy developing his players. Then I asked what his process was for developing his position coaches and graduate assistants.
After mumbling some nonsensical mumbo-jumbo, he admitted that he didn’t think he answered my question. Instead of rephrasing the question, I thought it would be easier to provide him with one of those “for instance” questions. “How do you teach a new coach how to recruit?” I asked. His answer was predictable. “They watch what I do and learn that way. After they’ve observed or heard me a few times, they’ll have a good idea what to say.”
That, my friend, is a textbook example of coachmosis. You’ve never heard of that? Surely you’ve heard of osmosis. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines osmosis as an usually effortless often unconscious assimilation. Dictionary.com defines it as
Would you expect your players to significantly improve just by absorbing knowledge without effort? Why, then, would you expect young coaches to do the same? What I didn’t tell you is the aforementioned offensive coordinator has 28 years of experience, yet boasts of only 2 conference titles. Four of the teams he worked for won national championships since he began coaching; however, he was never on the staff during those titles.
Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s an excellent coach. Imagine, though, what would’ve happened had he coached his coaches with purpose and a plan. What if the defensive coordinators had done the same?
I spent more than 26 years in an incredibly successful Fortune 100 corporation. Much of that time was spent developing managers (or coaches, if you will), because we believed that they had the most important job in the enterprise. They were the ones closest to those who had the greatest impact on our success.
If you’re responsible for other coaches, I encourage you to develop them. If you are the new, young coach, seek the development on your own. Feel free to reach out to me, as I can help you. Good luck!