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Developing a successful coaching philosophy

This is an excerpt from Winning Football by Bill Ramseyer.

A program operates under the philosophy developed and preached by the coaching staff. This philosophy includes basic principles that guide the actions of the coaches. Each coach must completely buy into the philosophy and adhere to it.

Although there will be as many personalities as there are coaches and players, there must be only one philosophy for your football program. Your philosophy must be positive in every way. The philosophy described here has served me well in coaching and might serve as a foundation for developing your own philosophy.

1. Coaches will always totally support each other. All disagreements will occur behind closed doors and settled face to face by the coaches involved. Only regular coaching staff will attend any coaches' meeting. No coach will second guess another coach in any manner, either through words or facial expressions. Tactical ideas will always be presented in a spirit of constructive suggestion, never as a criticism of someone's else ideas. Each coach will examine his own areas for improvement rather than focusing on what he perceives to be someone else's inadequacies.

2. Coaches will be positive about and supportive of all players and promote that attitude in each player. At all times, including during games, any statements or attitudes will demonstrate confidence in all players and player groups (offense, defense, line, backs, etc.). There will be no negative statements, sarcasm, or cynicism. Coaches will not have pet players or players they are down on. Everyone will be treated fairly. Coaches evaluate players only for what they do on the practice and game field, not for any inadequacies they might otherwise have. Personnel is never discussed with other players unless the statement is positive. No statements that question commitment, guts, or the decisions of another player will be made in front of other players. Matters concerning players arriving late, violating the dress code, or committing other infractions will be handled privately by the head coach. Coaches always show poise, and they instill poise in their players. The head coach sets the pregame and halftime tone most effective for the situation, and this is the tone throughout the locker room. Coaches never lose sight of the fact that the players are the game. Each player will be treated with respect and as an individual. Correcting players will always be done in a positive manner. If a player thinks he can do it, has been told he can do it, and been reaffirmed that he can do it, he will do it. Players must be so well-schooled in fundamentals that they are free to execute at an emotional high without fear of making a mistake or being ridiculed. Inconsistent play is caused by mental, not physical, breakdowns. We constantly strive to improve our ability to coach the mental and emotional.

3. Coaches will be professional; they will be a credit to the coaching profession. There is no swearing or chewing tobacco around players. Coaches never get in verbal confrontations or say anything negative to any opposing coach or player. Coaches respect every opponent but are in awe of none. Coaches can't make statements, even among themselves, about beating a team 50 to 0 and still feel respect for that opponent. We always prepare to win the game at hand. Coaches and players refrain from talking about future opponents. It's easier to focus on the current opponent and do a better job of coaching if the current opponent is the only one we talk about.

4. Coaches must be very emotional and totally enthusiastic about coaching but always in complete control of their emotions. The best coaching decisions can be made only when both feet are on the ground and the coach is thinking clearly.

5. Coaches coach the total player. We take players to their limits and saturate them with positive motivation as we work to develop total dominance on the football field. Xs and Os and technique are important, but we always strive to be the best at coaching the mind. Motivated players are successful players.

Learn more about Winning Football.

More Excerpts From Winning Football