Good Coach/Bad Coach, which are you?!

Bad coaches really on the grit and natural ability of young people. Bad coaches ride talent until the talent runs into the wall where natural ability gets beat by developed skill. Bad coaches scar young people and destroy brains while telling tales of glory. If someone is trying to inspire you to to ignore the damage and consistently is motivating you to endure instead of win with skill, you have a bad coach.

If you are going to do combat sports competitively, it will be hard to stay pretty forever. With talent, skill, and elite physical condition - you will still take the hits and do the work that breaks you over a long career. You will lose a few brain cells, crush cartilage, break some bones, and tear some skin. It is what it is in this line of work. The key is to train and compete in ways that minimize all of this. The best coach knows that you will most likely live a long life and you time in the arena should enhance the rest of your days, not make them more difficult on so many levels.

Just because you have a team of people following you does not mean you are a good coach. It means you know how to build a group around an idea. Lots of people get away with doing bad things because they can sell an idea well. It's not what you are selling that matters, it is the long term value of what you do.

A coach is supposed to make you better not simply tougher with more endurance. Tough guys that can endure and have great tales to tell but they pay a heavy price for never gaining the skills to match the toughness. When I was young I feared fighters with battered faces. A good coach told me not to worry because the damage just shows that they have no defense. He went on to remind me that it is the pretty guy with lots of fights that you should worry about. That is the guy with good coaching who understands the sport at a higher level.

Blocking with your face will get you fans and give your bad coach stories to tell about your grit and determination. Knocking people out while staying pretty will allow you to remember your career, have a long career, and win the fights that matter against other skilled people that comes with titles, money, and opportunity.

I can’t judge myself as a coach. I just know that I focus all my efforts on the fight at hand but with a strategy that provides a good tomorrow for all my athletes. I want them all to wake up 10 to 15 years later OK with what we did together. I want them to be better people at the end of it all, not just guys who fought wars. Those that understand, win and win consistently. Guys that chase glory and embrace the grit but not the big picture, tend to have bad records.

My methods are not easy and they demand more than work. I don’t need a big team, I just need people that get what it is I do in a way that will work for them. This is not some plea to come and work with me. Honestly, I don’t have much more time to give then I do. I want all of you to look at who you call coach and really ask yourself if they are giving you what you need to have a long, healthy, and successful career?

If you are a coach, be honest. If you are hurting young people because you just want a team, shame on you. Go do the work and get the experience needed to do the right thing.  The job is to break opponents, not your own people while chasing personal glory. No belt is worth permanently ruining people doing things you are not willing to do yourself. Your team fights the fights, not you. Your people take the damage and have to heal. You sit in the corner and encourage their destruction or success.

Don’t be a bad coach.

Brian Wright