Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

USMC Leadership in Action

Posted by admin May - 8 - 2012 - Tuesday

I have just started reading a book that a friend of mine who’s a retired Marine officer passed along to me. It’s title is Leadership in Action. If you want to learn about leadership, these are the guys to go to. Nobody produces better-trained leaders than the United States Marine Corps. I’m braggin’ on them and I’m a retired Army officer!!!

The Foreword gets right to the point. It states that “the traits of a leader mark him as a very positive person who has definite goals— who knows where he is going and how to get there. He does in fact possess the skill, knowledge, and self-confidence that enable him to attain the goals which he sets for himself.” Two very important characteristics are brought out before the author even starts the body of the book: leaders need to be positive and optimistic. Secondly, they need to set goals… and know how to achieve them.

Part 1 of the book deals with “Psychology of Leadership.” If you have never taken a course in Sports Psychology, you are doing yourself and your team a disservice. I am shocked at the number of coaches that I come in contact with who know little about the application of psychology of leadership. They know little about topics like 1- the basic human needs; 2- the frustrations that occur when these needs aren’t met and 3- the adjustments that people make to compensate for their failures. An understanding of these 3 elements of psychology will help a leader to develop the human relations skills that one will need to be a successful leader. Human needs, both physical and personal-social, are motivators which cause people to behave in certain, predictable ways. The 4 major classification of needs that are presented in this book are: the need for SECURITY, the need for ACCEPTANCE, the need for RECOGNITION and the need for ADVENTURE.

I’ll conclude this entry by saying that a person can satisfy his needs for security, acceptance, recognition and adventure and yet feel he still must reach greater heights to build his own feelings of self-worth and self-respect. It is at this point that a person approaches his fullest potential. A wise leader will be aware of this need for adventure and self-fulfillment in his players. The coach will use the players’ desire for adventure as a means to inspire his players to greater accomplishments.

Leadership is the art of influencing others to perform as a team to accomplish a common goal. A knowledge of what motivates a player and what makes him behave in a certain manner helps a leader to create those situations that will stimulate the players to constructive action toward the team goals.

QUESTION: Do YOU know the principles behind accomplishing this?

No coach can hope to know all about every player on his team. But, understanding some common factors in people can help a leader to understand his players and thus to more effectively guide them to a level of productivity that leads to a great season.

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