Our Coaches – What we look for between and outside the lines?

At The Learning Tree, we want our coaches to serve as teachers, mentors and role models for our student/athletes. Our leadership team is committed to hiring and training individuals who not only teach the sport but have the following Five Tools that every C.O.A.C.H. should have.

Five Tools of an Effective C.O.A.C.H.


Comprehension of the rules, tactics, and skills of the sport is required. You must understand the elements of the sport. To improve your comprehension of the sport, take the following steps:

  • Read about the rules of the sport.
  • Read about the fundamentals of the sport and specific strategic plays.
  • Read additional coaching books, including those available online.
  • Contact youth organizations.
  • Attend coaching clinics
  • Talk with more experienced coaches.
  • Observe local college, high school, and youth games.
  • Watch games on television.

In addition to having knowledge, you must implement proper training and safety methods so that your players can participate with little risk of injury. Even then, injuries may occur. And more often than not, you’ll be the first person responding to your players’ injuries, so be sure you understand basic emergency care procedures.


This coaching tool refers to your perspective and goals—what you seek as a coach. The most common coaching objectives are to (a) have fun; (b) help players develop their physical, mental, and social skills; and (c) win. Thus, your outlook involves your priorities, your planning, and your vision for the future.

Athletes First, Winning Second

This motto recognizes that striving to win is an important, even vital, part of sports. But it emphatically states that no efforts in striving to win should be made at the expense of the players’ well-being, development, and enjoyment. Take the following actions to better define your outlook:

  • With the members of your coaching staff, determine your priorities for the season.
  • Prepare for situations that may challenge your priorities.
  • Set goals for yourself and your players that are consistent with your priorities.
  • Plan how you and your players can best attain your goals.
  • Review your goals frequently to be sure that you are staying on track.

Another vital tool you will want to have in your coaching kit is a genuine concern for the young people you coach. This requires having a passion for kids, a desire to share with them your enjoyment and knowledge of football, and the patience and understanding that allow each player to grow from his involvement in sport. You can demonstrate your affection and patience in many ways, including the following:

  • Make an effort to get to know each player on your team.
  • Treat each player as an individual.
  • Empathize with players trying to learn new and difficult skills.
  • Treat players as you would like to be treated under similar circumstances.
  • Control your emotions.
  • Show your enthusiasm for being involved with your team.
  • Keep an upbeat tempo and positive tone in all of your communications.

The fact that you have decided to coach young players probably means that you think participation in sport is important. But whether or not that participation develops character in your players depends as much on you as it does on the sport itself. How can you help your players build character?
Having good character means modeling appropriate behaviors for sport and life. That means more than just saying the right things. What you say and what you do must match. There is no place in coaching for the “Do as I say, not as I do” philosophy. Challenge, support, encourage, and reward every youngster, and your players will be more likely to accept, even celebrate, their differences. Be in control before, during, and after all practices and games. And don’t be afraid to admit that you were wrong. No one is perfect! Each member of your coaching staff should consider the following steps to becoming a good role model:

  • Take stock of your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Build on your strengths.
  • Set goals for yourself to improve on those areas that you don’t want to see copied by your players.
  • If you slip up, apologize to your team and to yourself. You’ll do better next time.

Humor is an often-overlooked coaching tool. For our purposes, humor means having the ability to laugh at yourself and with your players during practices and games. Nothing helps balance the seriousness of a skill session like a chuckle or two. And a sense of humor puts in perspective the many mistakes your players will make. So don’t get upset over each miscue or respond negatively to erring players. Allow your players and yourself to enjoy the ups, and don’t dwell on the downs. Here are some tips for injecting humor into your practices:

  • Make practices fun by including a variety of activities.
  • Keep all players involved in games and skill practices.
  • Consider laughter by your players to be a sign of enjoyment, not of waning discipline.
  • Smile!