Holding Players and Ourselves Accountable

This entry is part 27 of 28 in the series Leadership

Coach Geno Aurriema’s comments regarding body language and holding players accountable in a recent press conference have been played, replayed, tweeted, and retweeted thousands of times. As coaches, we understand exactly what he’s saying. We agree with what he says. We might even play it over and over just to hear someone of his status say what we’ve been saying for years.

I believe, the difference between him and most of us is that he really does what he says and he applies it every single day. He really doesn’t care if he loses. (Nevermind they have won 108 straight games as of this post.) He cares that his players act the right way and think the right way all the time, regardless of the consequences. If he loses his job for holding players accountable, at least he knows he’s done the right thing regardless of the result.

There is a sentence that is very interesting in his comments. I think it can get overlooked, but to me it is the most important part of what he said.

At 1:37  “….other coaches might say well you can do that because you’ve got 3 other All Americans…”

I don’t think he would care how many All Americans he has on his roster. Most of us don’t coach All Americans, which means most of us don’t coach against All Americans either. Yet most of us worry about too much about winning and we let players get away with things that they shouldn’t get away with.

How many of us would be willing to sit our best player knowing we would lose?  Would we be willing to sit our starting five if necessary? What are our fears of holding players accountable?  Do we feel like we don’t have the support of our administration? Are we afraid that they might be mad at us or turn against us? Are we afraid of a phone call from a parent or a booster? Do we fear of the consequences of sitting our “best player”? If we sit our best player, we might lose. When we lose, we lose our jobs. We’ve worked so hard to get where we are. If we get fired, we will have a hard time finding another opportunity.

The problem is that if we don’t hold our players accountable, we will probably lose even more.

In today’s society, coaching is not getting any easier. Instant gratification, entitlement, and laziness are just a few of the obstacles we must fight daily. Maybe we are just as much a part of the problem because we enable and empower athletes to have these qualities. If we don’t hold them accountable, no one else will. We can’t expect them to hold each other accountable. The hardest part about coaching is holding ourselves accountable to what we know is right. The next hardest part is doing the same for those that we coach. It’s not easy to do, but it’s not easy to win 108 straight games either.

 

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