One thing I love the most about coaching, and especially coaching at the school I do, is the opportunity to bounce ideas off some of the best in the business. I will throw ideas out there to some of our coaches, some get rejected, some get praised, some get modified, but all get discussed. Just the other day in the weight-room, I took some time to seek counsel with one of our most experienced coaches. The topic, leadership of course.
For some reason, its one of those things I just can’t get off my mind. We have X’s and O’s guys and I can do that to a certain extent, but just don’t have the background to be great at that aspect of the game yet (still working on it), but the leadership aspect draws me in every single time. In my discussions with Coach H, he brought up the fact that leadership is a tough thing to teach kids when you have everything planned for them. We have a tendency to plan so much of their day, do we give the kids the opportunity to prove themselves as leaders?
It makes sense on so many levels. If you have every single moment of their day planned for them, what opportunity do they have to prove themselves as leaders. Practice from start to finish is on a script, we follow that closely. The clock is rolling, and we are on a timer. The weight-room and the conditioning drills bring out the kids who will yell at other kids, but that isn’t leadership. So what can we do to create opportunities for leadership? Sure we can do team building exercises, but once again that is forced. So it got me thinking, what time is there?
There is the 15 minutes before practice. Are the kids goofing around in the locker room, or is there a leader stepping up and making sure everything is ready for practice to begin on time?
There is the 15 minutes after practice. Are the leaders helping get all the equipment off the field, or are they letting team managers and coaches pick up all the equipment?
There is the off season. Are the leaders getting their team mates together for open gyms, to play catch, to work on football skills or even just to be together?
There is the classroom. Are the leaders setting the example for all the other students, or are they the class clown with the worst grades?
There is the community. Are the leaders seeking out opportunities to volunteer their time, and invest it in the community that supports them on Friday nights, or are they out partying with their friends?
There are plenty of opportunities for leadership to be developed and while the coaches can create several of those opportunities for them, real leadership is developed when no one is looking. Real leaders step up and take control when the time isn’t planned for them, so when the 4th quarter comes, and we are down by 3 with 2 minutes to play, real leaders get us to the end zone.