30 Days with America's High School Coaches
September 14, 2021
In 2020 I was a guest on several podcasts where I discussed the book, coaching, and kicking. Listen to my interviews with:
If what you know of coaches is limited to what you see on game-day, you have not seen the impact these individuals have.
To see that, you must enter the schools, homes, and practice facilities where they do their most important work.
Through interviews with coaches across the nation in a dozen high-school varsity sports, this book peels back the many ways that coaches shape the characters, work ethics, and morals of the young men and women they’re charged to work with.
The book explores how this happens in five key areas:
1) How coaches relate to their players. In-season, coaches spend as much, if not more, time with their athletic charges than do the kids’ parents, teachers, and friends. You’ll learn how coaches navigate difficult waters with their charges, balance discipline and teaching, and get to know their athletes’ needs.
2) How coaches approach their craft. From highly structured to free-flowing, and from emotional to more cerebral, coaches approach their work in many different ways. They all work, if you are true to who you are. Here, you’ll see examples of how coaches get their athletes to buy in to the team and trust each other as well as the coaches.
3) How coaches build programs. Unlike college and pro teams that can choose the athletes they work with, high school coaches are required to work with the talent they have. This section will look at the ways coaches build programs that consistently generate success on the field, as well as in the classroom and in the community.
4) How coaches improve themselves. The best coaches are constantly working to get better – in how they coach, how they relate to their kids, and how they deal with challenges. Here you’ll read about coaches who faced difficult challenges and by improving themselves, overcame the rough waters they faced.
5) How coaches affect their communities. The work that high school coaches do frequently transcends the schools. Indeed, these coaches often shoulder the challenges and needs of the communities they work in. From immigration to poverty to racism, here are stories of how coaches are improving not only their students’ lives, but the lives of everyone in the community.
The approaches high school coaches take to working with teenagers varies greatly, but the vast majority of coaches share one thing in common: helping their student-athletes to become better people is their first job. Everything else follows from that work.
A coach in Ohio summed it up best: “The goal is to win, but the purpose is to develop kids, not only physically, but also mentally, socially and emotionally.”