Coach: One Definition

What is your definition of coach? Have you ever thought about where our current use of the word coach came from?

Hundreds of years ago, the word coach was used to denote a horse drawn carriage. That’s a very interesting analogy to think about when it comes to coaching basketball. A horse drawn carriage isn’t very glamorous. It’s not a sports car or a private jet. It’s a pretty humble means of transportation whose purpose is to carry its passengers to their destination.

What are you?

Are you the horse drawn carriage for your team? Are concerned more about the journey than you are about the destination? Do you keep in perspective that we’re coaching a dumb game? Yes it’s a game we enjoy, but at the end of the day it is just a game.

Are we more concerned about how we help our players and teams through the journey of life? We aren’t the only horse drawn carriage they are ever going to have. Sometimes we might be the first, but at some point, they are going to have to take a different one. Either we won’t be around or we won’t be able to go where they need to go.


Do we take responsibility for this journey? Are we focused on their success or our shine? When there’s a bump on the road, do we blame it on them or take responsibility for it ourselves?

If we are coaches for our players and our teams, we have to understand that we bare a lot of responsibility for the journey. No matter what the circumstances, you didn’t have to take the job. If you accept a job that is doomed for failure, it’s not your team’s fault. If there isn’t much talent available or no one wants to come play where you are, then maybe you shouldn’t take the job. Either way, it’s not your team’s fault. Depending on your level, you might choose the players, the schedule, your practice plan, your X’s and O’s, your substitutions, and so many other things. Your team doesn’t choose any of that.

Your players get buckets, rebounds and stops. Yes they miss shots, foul and turn it over. But who put them in the game to make those mistakes? It’s about leadership. It’s about modeling behavior. Don’t just say it. Eat, sleep and breathe it. Make every action ooze your commitment to their successful journey and not your own shine.

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