The Coaching Conundrum The systematic failure of today’s coaches

I was doing some research on what makes a successful coach, and I came across an article written by Wayne Goldsmith. Admittedly, I had no idea who Wayne Goldsmith was when I first came across the article; thus, further research ensued.


I found that Wayne Goldsmith is one of the premier international sports coaches in the world. He has worked with those who have been to the top, whether in Olympic Games, world championships, professional football finals, or on international tours.


In his article “The Ten Habits of Highly Effective Coaches,” Goldsmith brings up a point that I see as the root of so many coaching problems. He said, “Athletes are only athletes for an hour or two at most each day. For the other 22-23 hours each day they are human beings.”


As an athlete myself, I see first-hand how coaches fail at this. So many times coaches claim to train their athletes to become great people; however, in a “do-whatever-it-takes-to-win” culture, these coaches quickly shift their mindset instead to training their people to become great athletes. And, unfortunately, that is where the training so often stops.


Taking Goldsmith’s concept of “athletes are only athletes for an hour or two a day,” that means the majority of who the athlete is as a person is neglected.


That coaches’ claim they want to build great people, but in harsh reality remain focused only on athletic capability, is an example of inconsistent practices on their end. This is the basis of my own theory on why there are only a handful of winning coaches.


I am convinced that there is a formula to success, one that can be and should be applied to life, but also is certainly applicable to coaching.

If you take the most successful coaches in the world, no matter the sport, I venture to say that the one thing they all have in common is consistency. This is a wide umbrella that covers an array of characteristics that make coaches successful.


Under this theory one can predict how successful a coach is or will be. Consistency in these five main areas will give a good idea as to the success of a coach:

1. Consistency in a good philosophy

2. Consistency in application of that philosophy

3. Consistency in how players are treated

4. Consistency while winning

5. Consistency while losing


There is a reason why University of Alabama football is so dominant year after year. There is a reason the University of Texas appeared in 13 straight baseball playoffs. There is a reason Duke is a no-brainer to make a run at a title every March. Sure, each of these programs is home to top-of-the-line talent, but, after all, where can a ship go with no captain.

© 2019 Ben Fagan.                                                                                                                                                                              s.benfagan@gmail.com

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