The answer to the question of coaching

Published 6:34 pm Tuesday, July 23, 2019

There have been many times when people have asked me the question, “Just what is coaching?” I have pondered that question in my head many times and have arrived at what I think a valid answer might be.

First, let me tell you what in my opinion a good coach really does because I was fortunate to be coached by some of the best, and I have taken ideas from them and used them while I was a coach.

In today’s climate, a coach has more influence in a young man/woman’s life than ever before. They are the role models that athletes look up to in their formative years that could easily sway the direction that young athlete takes in life. This is so important! Dr. Billy Graham once said, “A coach will influence more lives in a year than others will influence in a lifetime.” That was a profound statement made by one of America’s best.

A good coach will just show an athlete that he/she truly cares! If you, as a coach, can win that battle, you have jumped a hurdle that will be remembered for a lifetime. Just a pat on the back or simply saying that you are proud of the player will carry you further than other people can imagine. The deal is, that you as the coach have to show this and do it daily. Athletes of today can see right through a phony, and he will never be trusted again. There is an old saying in the coaching profession, “That it isn’t the X’s and the O’s, rather it is the Billy and the Joes.” Treat your players like you would treat your own son or daughter, and you will find out just how far it will carry you.

Trust is a key factor. The players have to trust their coaches in all sports, and if you tell them something, then live up to it. Athletes today are smarter than ever before and the better the players, the better the coaching needs to be. Good players can tell whether their coach knows or does not know. Just stay true to your word, and you will win over every athlete on your team.

On senior night, I use to take my each of my seniors into the locker room and tell them that I will always love them and just how proud I was of them. I told them if they ever needed me to please never hesitate to call. They had given me four years of their lives and had been through good times and bad times with me. They were not paid to do this. They were young men who loved to play the greatest game in the world, and I had the deepest amount of respect for them. To this day, I am not afraid to tell any of them how much I love them and am so proud of them.

Coaching is taking someone to a level they would not get to on their own. That is a simple answer to the question that I originally stated. All of the above have to be true for them to follow you. You have to show them you care, can be trusted, you love them and are proud of them, regardless of the outcome. There are coaches that can coach bad players, coaches that can coach average players, coaches that can coach good players and coaches that can coach great players. They can also take a good player and make them great or a bad player and make them good. Some, however, cannot coach either level of talent.

Show them that you care, and you will have half the battle won. Then be trusted.

Good luck this season!

I was taught many lessons between two white lines and it made me a better person. Thanks, coaches!

— Harold Robinson Jr. is a former coach at Williamston High School for 31 years and on the East Carolina University football staff for 12 years.