By Bo Hanson – 4x Olympian, Coaching Consultant & Director of Athlete Assessments

Lou HoltzAthlete Assessments recently had the great pleasure of being invited to the USA Lacrosse Association Coaching Conference in Baltimore, MD.  A significant highlight was hearing Lou Holtz’s keynote presentation about his philosophy on coaching and life. For those who do not know Lou Holtz, he is a legend in US College football coaching and is the only coach in NCAA history to lead six different programs to bowl games. He is also a multiple winner of National Coach of the Year honors.

These are the key messages I took note of and trust you will also find inspiring and educational:

1) Coaching is about influencing the lives of young people.

It is a role of true significance and meaning, never should it be about money.  It is fundamentally about building relationships with young people.

2) Leadership.

A great quote about Leadership, “I can name you the coach, but I can not name you the leader.  Leaders are named from below.

3) Coaching is a leadership role.

As such, coaches are to have a vision and are accountable for the choices they make.  Above all, coaching is about “Obligations and Responsibilities”. Never is coaching about “Rights and Privileges.”

4) Coaches can never be “insecure” in who they are.

Insecurity lessens a coach’s ability to give positive feedback and praise to their athletes.

5) Lou made the following assumptions of all his college athletes:

  • You want to graduate.
  • You want to be a champion.
  • You want to perform at your best.
  • You want to help the team.
  • You want to make a positive contribution.

With these assumptions, Lou made it his job to help them achieve in these areas.

6) Athletes Who Care.

Above all else, when Lou looked for athletes for his team, he wanted “Athletes who care.” That is, they care about themselves, the team, the college and the results they get.  He learnt a valuable lesson in that caring is more important than talent.

7) Three Rules to Live By.

Lou lived by three rules which also translated into how he coached.  These three simple rules are:  1. Do Right!   2. Do your best.   3. Treat people well.

8) Three Essential Questions.

Lou believed three questions between the coach and the athletes needed to be answered through both words and behavior. These three questions were:

  • Do you trust me (on and off the field)?
  • Are you committed? (There are to be no pretenders and no imposters).
    Do you care about me? These questions needed to be answered if the team was to build strong relationships with each other.

9) There are three ways to improve a team.

  • Add caring and talented people.
  • Delete (remove) non caring people.
  • Improve each individual on the team.

10) Prioritize.

Lou recognizes that today’s coaches are busy people (as was he when he coached).  Being able to continuously prioritize your time is of critical importance to your team and athlete’s success.  He had a simple way of prioritizing his time by understanding exactly what the outcome to be achieved is, it was a simple matter of – W.I.N. This stands for: What’s Important Now?

I trust you derived value from the wisdom of one of America’s greatest sports coaches and leaders.

You’ve likely noted the strong theme of caring in Lou’s advice.  From our perspective, the fastest and most effective way of showing you care is to show a strong interest in understanding your athletes as individuals and valuing them for what they bring to the team/squad.  Ultimately, how well do you know yourself and your athletes? If there is a chance you could improve this, even if only by a few percent, it is worthwhile – particularly as it is such a critical and impactful area.  We can help you.  Discover more information about the AthleteDISC profile for athletes and CoachDISC profile for coaches or contact us to find out how we can help you further develop your coaching.

If you would like to read some articles with themes similar to the lessons given above we recommend our articles on:

At Athlete Assessments, we’re here to provide you with excellence in service and here to help you be your best. If there is anything we can assist you with, please Contact Us.

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