I love the television show Friday Night Lights. As a ritual I watch the entire series before school starts back. If I could be a High School Football Coach, Eric Taylor is the guy I would try to emulate.
If you haven't seen the series, stop what you are doing, take off a couple days from work and do it.
Seriously, it is the best, closest thing to what we as Coaches go through. The games are just a small part of our daily lives. So much goes into the life of being a Coach and a Coach's spouse.
In my own coaching career, I've experienced several things that are covered in the show. I've worked in two districts that have split. I've dealt with hard to coach athletes, hard to deal with parents, over zealous boosters and just about everything that this show covers. Granted it is Hollywood and there are some things that you know are for entertainment but all in all it is a great show for Coaches and their families. So here are the 3 things I learned from Coach Eric Taylor.
1. Make the Big Time Where You Are
"Well you live in Texas now. You love the game of football. You just don't know it yet." - Eric Taylor
I have coached at almost every classification in our state. I currently have an arena that seats roughly 2400 and I've also coached in a gym that seated 400. I'm still the same coach, well more mature, but the games had the same passion for me.
The role of a Coach is to sell this to his program and boosters: The big time is where we are at. There is nothing like a small town football game. I've been to towns where the tallest thing in town is the lights and the pressbox.
In FNL, East Dillon isn't a destination job...but he wins there.
Make your current job the most important job you've ever had or will have.
2. BE FAIR
"Because Hastings, just like in real life there's still rules on this team. Unlike real life, Nobody's above the rules on this field." - Eric Taylor
Sadly, Athletics is becoming the last place Students are told the truth. The games don't lie. Competition doesn't lie. Tell Players the Truth. But be fair. You can't treat every player the same...but you can't be fair.
Allowing your best player to get away with things shows your "role guys" that talent gives you a pass. Unless you coach on a level that wins mean more money on that check what lesson are you teaching the majority when you allow one or two to get away with whatever they want.
We have dismissed very talented players because they can't act right in the community, classroom or locker room only to see another sport or a summer team take them in with open arms. That's on them, not us.
Be fair. Hold Players Accountable. Tell the Truth.
3. Communicate Effectively
"Don't whisper yell at me. Don't whisper yell at me please." - Eric Taylor
As a Coach, communication is right up there as knowing your sport. You have to know how to communicate AND you have to know how to communicate in different ways. You can talk to players differently. You must talk to your administration differently than you do your assistants. You have to talk to your family differently than you talk to people in your program.
Coaching is about people. Being a Coach and a Pastor are the two professions that you can't escape. You don't get to leave the name tag at the office and go have a different life. You are constantly communicating even when you don't realize it.
Have a great football season. It's a lot of fun and remember....