Are great coaches born or made?
That is a topic that is a focus of the new book by veteran coach Martin Rooney entitled, “Coach to Coach: An Empowering Story on How to be a Great Leader,” from John Wylie & Sons.
Rooney comes down on the side that great coaches are made and presents a lot of interesting advice for coaches and fans interested in what makes a good coach. And on how to be a better human being.
Not too many books on coaching mention that the best thing you can do for your kids is love your wife.
Instead of simply presenting his advice, he does it as a fable with an old coach instructing a young coach, who is having problems on the job and at home on how to become a better coach and person.
The old coach says the Golden Rule in coaching that that a coach has to be more enthusiastic about someone else than himself. And he says they need empathy. And that the best way to become stronger is to lift someone else up.
His Holy Grail of coaching is: Do and say the right thing, in the right way, at the right time, to the right person to get the best results.”
In his first sessions with the young coach, he writes the word enthusiasm with the IASM in capital letters on a blank piece of paper. The IASM is an acronym to stand for I AM SOLD ON MYSELF.
The old coach says he wants the young coach to really soul search about what it is you love to do and why you love to do it.
His second assignment is for the coach to apologize to a player he got into tiff with at practice after a loss.
Another piece of advice to say to players and people. “I’m proud of you.”He also says, “A coach also can’t get too caught up in wins and losses. If victories on the field create defeats for the coach at home, that will be the biggest and most costly loss.”
It is interesting advice, but I don’t know how realistic it is. If coaches don’t win, they don’t have a future. And many successful coaches have not exactly had an Ozzie and Harriett home life. Vince Lombardi is one example.
Rooney certainly has experience as an athlete and a coach. He is a former US bobsledder, Division I track athlete, judo black belt, record-setting powerlifter and two-time Guinness World Record holder, coach and motivational speaker.
His mission is to improve coaching, and it is a worthy one. As he says in the first paragraph of the book, “The world needs better coaches.”
The book provides a lot of good advice. But the question is whether it will make a better coach if the coach doesn’t have a natural aptitude for coaching remains one that is difficult to answer.