6 Signs Of An Ineffective Coach


"Be willing to take blame for the failures of your team and they will respond with respect and take on more personal responsibility." 

There are many features that can make even the finest coaches, less effective. If you exhibit any (or all) of these 6 attributes as a coach, chances are you aren't being as powerful and productive as you could be. 

1. Using the Bench as a Threat--The bench is an intrinsic part of the game. SPOILER ALERT: If your team has over 11 players on it then some of you will have to be on the bench at some point. The bench is a common fact of the game but when coaches turn it into a slab of horizontal intimidation and retribution, the potential value of it gets lost (for the player and the coach). Using the bench as a threat does not make you more credible, in fact, it produces an environment where athletes are nervous and apprehensive to try new things and develop because they recognize "playing it safe" is their best bet. 

Footy Tip: Use the bench as a teaching tool and meet 1-on-1 with players to deliver individual coaching points.

2. Constantly Changing Team Tactics--Changing the team's tactical objectives and shape every twenty minutes doesn't suggest, "I'm a genius like Pep..." but more like, "I do not understand what I'm doing let's make random moves." Coaches change tactics for all different reasons and occasionally you get it right. However, without preparing, training and advising the key aspects of the shift to the team beforehand, these sporadic changes are more prone to harm your team than help. Tactical switches also call for positional and cognitive adjustments from the individual players themselves, which means they need to be prepared to perform the switch and make sure that it works smoothly.

Footy Tip: If you will change tactics, be certain in preparing for weeks/training sessions beforehand and train your squad for the likely variations.

3. Micromanaging (Standing and Screaming the Entire Match)-- Micromanaging is one of the most off-putting characteristics of any coach and one that is a foolproof sign of an ineffectual leader. It's game-day, stop and relax. If your team is adequately prepared, there shouldn't be any desire to direct them for 5,400+seconds. Give them some autonomy and trust in their decision making abilities. Give instruction and coaching points here and there but then sit down and take a deep breath before you pick up a red card or have a heart attack (whichever occurs first).

Footy Tip: Sit down, settle down and breathe. Most the game is won or lost during weekly training sessions and preparation (or lack-thereof).

4. Only Focused on the Group--Great teams all have a positive team mentality and chemistry within them but individuals must still be managed. Ineffective coaches only focus on delivering messages to and taking care of the team as one big group. While this is needed, great managers are also capable of reading individual cues and relate with the players on the team. Not every player will have the same attitude, focus, drive, skillset etc. Great managers are able to harmonize and cultivate these variables and work with players individually to boost their development as well as their utility to the group. NOTE: This does NOT mean to single out 1 or 2 of your favorites and hold separate sessions to only help them! This will get noticed by the rest of the team and undermine any cohesion you may have.

Footy Tip: Figure out what excites or gets a specific player's attention and see if you can relay coaching points to them within that framework. Most players respond much better to individual instruction off to the side rather than yelling it out in front of the group.

5. One Who "Knows It All"--Ineffective coaches know everything. The best coaches in the world know what they don't know and are on a relentless quest for understanding within the game. Often it's the coaches who don't know what they are talking about who have the most to say. Often you hear ineffective (or inexperienced) coaches say something like, "Well, it's a simple game!" and ultimately use that as a lazy excuse for not seeking further knowledge and expertise. Yes, this game is simple (on the surface). The best players in the world are the best because they make the complex look simple and the simple look even simpler. You can't make the difficult look simple without first grasping the intricate details and nuances of the game that actually make it difficult. Know what you don't know and become a student rather than a preacher.

Footy Tip: You don't know everything and no one else does either. It's ok. LEARN more and "chew" on the information for a moment rather than immediately regurgitating it to your team. 

6. Is Not Willing to Take Full Blame for a Loss-- Ah the EGO... the pit of misery and despair where pride, vanity and cockiness prevail. A competent coach needs to be able to accept full responsibility for the team losing just like the idiom says, "The captain always goes down with the ship." However, some coaches are the first to jump ship and watch the boat sink from afar because they can't take personal responsibility for the lack of preparation and achievement of the team. Pointing the finger at your players is a classic way of revealing to the world you have not done and will not do everything in your power to develop your team. Who wants to play for a coach like that?

Footy Tip: Be willing to take blame for the failures of your team and they will respond with respect and take on more personal responsibility. 


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