When is a coach’s job done?

Every Monday for the past decade or so, I’ve read Peter King‘s Monday Morning Quarterback. Over the years, there’ve been many tidbits that popped out to me, and I’ve shared some of them before on this site:

This past week, one particular chunk really struck me, and I wanted to share it. I know there’s been a lot of distressing news coming out of the NFL recently, but setting that aside for a moment we can find a lesson about coaching.

Every week during the NFL season, Peter gives out awards; week three‘s coach of the week went to Jeff Stoutland, the Offensive Line Coach for the Philadelphia Eagles. Here’s what Peter wrote:

Coach of the Week

Jeff Stoutland, offensive line coach, Philadelphia.

Good job by Troy Aikman giving Stoutland props for getting a makeshift line ready to produce in a big way. With Pro Bowl guard Evan Mathis and right tackle Allen Barbre already down (and regular right tackle Lane Johnson serving a four-game suspension for a substance-abuse violation), the Eagles suffered another body blow on the line on the first series of the second half, losing Pro Bowl center Jason Kelce to an abdominal injury. But with neophytes at left guard (Dennis Kelly), right tackle (Andrew Gardner) and center (David Molk), the Eagles still churned out enough production—six scoring drives in 11 offensive possessions—and 379 total yards in the 37-34 victory over Washington.

Stoutland, a coaching lifer, was Nick Saban’s line coach at Alabama until taking a job on Chip Kelly’s staff before the 2013 season. He’s known as a perfectionist who doesn’t like excuses. I love what he told the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane last year: “I learned from really, really good coaches when I was young. You know the one thing they all had in common—good coaches never get tired of coaching the same thing over and over and over and over and over. A lot of people are like, ‘You know what, I told you that like twice now, I’m done. I told you, now it’s your job to do whatever.’ I’m not satisfied. I’m a pig head. I’m like, ‘Until the guy gets it right and understands it, I haven’t done my job.’ ” He’ll need that approach with his line as beat-up as it is now.

(I bolded that last part)

I just love that, and I know exactly what he means. When you’re coaching, it can become frustrating when you think you’ve covered something and your pupils don’t ‘get’ it. It can be tempting to think, “Well, it’s your responsibility to understand, now that I’ve covered it more than once.” But the job of a coach is to bring out the best in his or her team, and that job isn’t done if people haven’t reached their potential and grasped the lessons.

[pic credit to the Eagles, I grabbed it from here]

[pic credit to the Eagles]

“Good coaches never get tired of coaching the same thing over and over and over and over and over. A lot of people are like, ‘You know what, I told you that like twice now, I’m done. I told you, now it’s your job to do whatever.’ I’m not satisfied. I’m a pig head. I’m like, ‘Until the guy gets it right and understands it, I haven’t done my job.’” – Jeff Stoutland (Offensive Line Coach, Philadelphia Eagles)

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Posted in Books, Leadership, Sports

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