On the incompetence of coaches

Chris Schultz had this interesting little tidbit:

http://www.tsn.ca/nfl/story/?id=440095

[i]Now, full disclosure – in general, I am not a fan of football coaches. I have no doubt that is because my experience with most coaches was not very good. Most were anything but teachers. The majority of my coaches were experts at applying pressure and then dis-associating from the players when that tactic did not work or their own skill set did not provide an alternative.

There are some great coaches in football – no doubt – but in my experience I have also seen a level of incompetence that is shocking. And it is prevalent at all levels. I often get asked why I don't coach, and I always answer with, "why should I?" Being a former player doesn't qualify me to be a coach, a teacher.[/i]

Schultz has played in both the CFL and the NFL. He's been part of championship teams, and he knows his football. For him to casually come out with this assessment of coaching incompetence speaks volumes about what kind of chaos can go on behind closed doors. We all saw it with Hawkins, and it bears remembering whenever we're too inclined to keep a guy credit just because he happens to be a coach. Nothing about being a coach makes you a god incapable of mistakes large or small. Coaches can and do frequently mess up, and should be held accountable just as players are held accountable when they make mistakes.

Wishing you a Fantastic 2014 D.

Interesting topic. I don't really agree with Schultz. He associates competence with the ability to teach, while it is his personal opinion, I think a Professional football coach is hired to deliver results and that's win football games. When a player becomes a "Pro" and accepts a cheque he is expected to know what he's doing. The teaching for the most part happens at the minor and College level in football.

Don Matthews was not a great "teacher" but he was the best at getting results through psychology and magnetism. A football coach is much like a military commander its about convincing a group of men to outmuscle, outwork and outthink another group of men IMO.

When Schultz says he does not understand why people think he should be a coach it makes me laugh because it is the same thing about broadcasting, he' no more qualified to be a football broadcaster than a football coach...

I largely agree with you, but "teaching" is not limited to technique. A huge part of coaching is teaching the systems and being able to correct the errors in its execution. That may be what Schultz was referring to.

He played for Tom Landry in Dallas, who struck me as exactly what Schultz described. In Toronto (1986-1994) he played for five coaches in nine seasons: Bob O'Billovich - 1986–89, Don Matthews - 1990, Adam Rita - 1991–92, Dennis Meyer - 1992–93 and Bob O'Billovich (again) - 1993–94. Other than Matthews, nobody I was clamouring for the Als to hire. He may have had the bad luck to not play for what he would have thought was a good coach.

Out of curioisity, where would Popp (the HC) fall? Three times in that role and the outcome speaks for itself.

To you as well!

Interesting topic. I don't really agree with Schultz. He associates competence with the ability to teach, while it is his personal opinion, I think a Professional football coach is hired to deliver results and that's win football games. When a player becomes a "Pro" and accepts a cheque he is expected to know what he's doing. The teaching for the most part happens at the minor and College level in football.

Don Matthews was not a great "teacher" but he was the best at getting results through psychology and magnetism. A football coach is much like a military commander its about convincing a group of men to outmuscle, outwork and outthink another group of men IMO.


Up to a point I agree with you. But of all the team sports, football is the one in which coaching plays the most important role. Essentially, it's a game of strategy and tactics, broken into a series of set plays on a chessboard. You don't want your athletes thinking; that's usually counterproductive. What you want is for them to go out and execute at a high level secure in the knowledge that coach will do the thinking for them. Nothing more discouraging for a player than knowing that his coach is getting taken to the woodshed by the other team's coach and there's nothing he can do about it.

The other thing is: Schultz was talking about coaches in general, not necessarily just head coaches. I have a feeling that his ire is mostly reserved for position coaches and coordinators who flat-out weren't smart enough / good enough teachers to produce results.

Don't tell me that coaching isn't a huge component of a team's successes and failures. Look at how frequently we got outcoached this year, and how much it cost us in the crunch. We were awful at halftime adjustments, and we rarely called the right plays on offense at the right time. Players feed off negative energy as much as positive energy. Arland Bruce openly came out and said that the coaching wasn't good enough after the season ended, comparing us to other teams with bright football minds who could properly use the personnel they had to the fullest. Talent was not lacking in 2013, nor was hard work, but we finished at 8-10 and didn't win a playoff game. Coaching in football isn't just about motivation, it's about Xs and Os.

When Schultz says he does not understand why people think he should be a coach it makes me laugh because it is the same thing about broadcasting, he' no more qualified to be a football broadcaster than a football coach...
He's been a broadcaster for a decade now, and a good one. That's all the qualification he needs. Sports journalism is a tricky business and all depends on whether you, as an ex-player or ex-coach, are willing to put in the work and learn the craft of broadcasting. Schultz has obviously worked hard to become a journalist; LaPolice is clearly working hard to do the same. Contrast with guys like Rod Black who have been in the profession for years but who are clearly not cut out for the job...

I'm not saying he's bad at what he does but coaching like broadcasting you either have it or you don't and it comes in many flavours.

Your point about taking the "thinking" out to allow the player to focus on his assignment and execution I really agree with but I don't associate that with "teaching" but more about "buy in". While some players love that others feel it limits them.

.....what's the ol saying.....'those that CAN ...do'..... and 'those that CAN'T...teach'....just sayin... :wink: .For you Mr. Shultz

Yeah like Professor Kelly :lol: Teaching is one of the many components an individual needs to lead a group of 80 men (players and staff).

What I would consider high levels of football there are now more teams than ever and there probably are some pretty bad coaches out there.
When I think of High levels I speak of
NCAA FBS
NCAA FCS
CFL
NFL
That is a lot of teams for coaches to be coaching at a high level of players who will be preparing to become pro or actually be in the pros.
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Before that there were years of NFLE who was still filled with pro players playing in a pro league.

Should Jim Popp not be coach, GM, plus other duties, I would not be too concerned about the loss of Ola, at offensive tackle. For years Mr Popp was able to recruit successfully and, has signed some really adept players for our team. His being coach, GM and, general problem solver, has failed. All these duties require the vetting and hiring of a possible new coach,filling the OC position and, Popp himself, coming to grips with his ability to be a one person actor for all the work and attention required by this football team.

I don't think you can reduce any profession to a formula. First of all, I'm an ex-journalist, and I can say with some authority that being a journalist is a craft you have to learn. Do some people have more natural aptitude for the job? Sure, but aptitude isn't the final word on performance. You may have good instincts, but you still need to put in the work and learn how to be a pro. Same for coaching. No disrespect, but Schultz is a former player who has first-hand, intimate knowledge of coaching at the pro football level. His opinion on the subject is worth having.

Your point about taking the "thinking" out to allow the player to focus on his assignment and execution I really agree with but I don't associate that with "teaching" but more about "buy in". While some players love that others feel it limits them.
I think it's both, though. You need the Xs and Os AND the ability to motivate. If you're only about Xs and Os, you end up like Cortez in Hamilton. But if all you can do is the rah-rah stuff, you're a Hawkins or a Jim Popp. Neither model is suitable. No player will respect or give 100% for a coach who can't back up the motivational speeches with technique, clear assignments, and good teaching (look at the disaster that was Casey Creehan in Winnipeg and Hamilton). That's what made Marc Trestman successful in the CFL -- he understood that you have to be both a teacher and a motivator.

Contrast Reinebold with Thorpe. Reinebold was all about the motivation, but awful at actually communicating to his players what he needed from them, and what they needed to improve on. When Thorpe was hired, Chip Cox endorsed the move, saying that they needed someone to be clear and specific about his expectations (and that likely includes not just playcalls and alignment but positional technique, gaps, keys, etc.). If you can't teach, you can't coach.

. . .and those who can't teach, teach gym.

Very very true.

And then of course there's the Bart Andrus's of the world, who aren't very good at either. . .

Well, if you ask me, Hawkins wasn't very good at the rah-rah stuff either; he just liked to move his mouth a lot. Thank goodness he's behind us. :stuck_out_tongue: