Coaching Philosophy: You Need One

26 Jan

By Curtis Peterson
Strong Football
November 29, 2010

I’ve talked to numerous coaches, and so many seem lost. I think the big problem with many coaches is they lack direction. They lack an ultimate purpose that drives all their teaching on the football field. Every coach, despite how silly and childish it sounds, needs a coaching philosophy.

Let’s be clear, I’m not talking about X’s and O’s, or what offense or defense you want to run when you’re in charge. Oh no. I may be only 23 years old, but I recognize the need for a coaching philosophy. When I get away from it, I find myself not satisfied with the teaching I’ve done with the players on the field.

Step One: What is your philosophy on life?

So how do you build your own philosophy? I think the first step is to recognize what drives you in life. Be honest with yourself. As a man (or woman), you should recognize what your philosophy is throughout life. Examine your life. What code have you lived by? Correction: What code have you lived by when you have been most satisfied with life. Seriously, be honest. It’s perfectly fine to be selfish. Some people want to beat the competition, or enjoy the moment. That is fine. Just adhere to that.

Step Two: Coaching Philosophy

Now, second step, look at what you want to be as a coach and examine how satisfied with your coaching career so far. Are you satisfied? If not, you probably haven’t adhered to your life philosophy in coaching. I bet you they are very similar when you are completely satisfied, or at least they are founded upon similar principles.

My Life Philosophy

For me, I can tell you my life philosophy. A successful man is built on a foundation of integrity, gentlemanly behavior, a strong mind, responsible citizenry, and leadership by example or oratory. A man that is firm in these principles will experience life to the fullest, while at the same time being triumphant in all that he does. That’s my philosophy. Believe it or not, I can probably nearly quote that on command.

My Coaching Philosophy

But what about my coaching philosophy? I honestly feel that I want to help every athlete and coach around me grow as a person, a student, and as a team. I will do this by being consistent and fair while demanding hard work, discipline, and fun. This philosophy isn’t built just upon players. Notice how I say athlete and coach. I want to help my fellow coaches grow, not only as people and as teammates, but as students. The relationships I build with players and fellow coaches mean a great deal to me, so both are included. In addition, I feel everyone, especially myself, is a student. I try to soak in everything. I’m terrible at judging, however, I’ve done my best to try to understand people’s perspectives and respect their opinions. So I am constantly a student, learning from every coach I have come across, even if their experience is limited or they are an “old timer” so to speak. You can learn something from everyone.

Concluding Remarks on Coaching Philosophies

That is my life and coaching philosophy. I challenge you to find your own. Don’t create it, don’t memorize it. Find it. It is within you. Just be honest about it, especially with youself. It really coach be anything. Once you establish it, you will find you will be much more successful, and much more satisfied with your coaching career and your life.

Reprinted by permission of the author.  To receive a copy of Coach Peterson’s free e-newsletter, go here:

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