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Best Traits of a Professional Sports Coach Part 2

When we are analysing a sports team, we need to pay special attention to the head coach, who is one of the most important personnel in determining the success or failure of the team.  The head coach is responsible for organising the team.  The gestalt principle that the whole is more than the sum of its parts comes into play with any professional sports team, whether we are talking about European football, NFL, basketball, baseball, or any other team sport. 


But how do you know if a team’s leadership is strong?  Check out Best Traits of a Professional Sports Coach, Part 1 if you missed it to start learning about the key essential traits for a good coach.  Read on to find out more vital traits which are indicative of good leadership and which point toward success:


  • Game planning abilities.  While putting together the weekly game plan is a responsibility which falls more with the assistants typically than the head coach, it is a process the head coach is still involved in.  Plus, remember, the head coach has to pick his assistants, which means he needs to have the game planning skills to evaluate what they will be bringing to the table.  Head coaches also need to know which aspects of game planning to take care of themselves and which are better delegated, and to whom.
  • Play calling.  This is another duty which a head coach may take on in full or in part, or end up delegating.  A good head coach will know when to delegate the play calling, and will make smart calls when he does decide to take on the responsibility. 
  • Clock management.  In sports where there are timeouts, a coach needs to know when to call them to make the best use of them.  While this is not the most vital trait for a coach, mistakes in this area really tend to stand out, and it is still an important skill. 
  • Discipline and perspective.  A good coach needs to be able to maintain the discipline of the team as a whole.  This is not quite the same thing as motivation.  For whatever reason, the ability of a coach to motivate players seems to receive more notice than his ability to keep them disciplined and focused, but the latter is generally more important.  There are many other forces already motivating players—but that alone does not give them focus or keep them steady on the path to success.  A coach needs to also have discipline himself and maintain perspective, especially when it comes time to make a hard decision.


The abilities and personality of a coach are essential to the success of a team.  Even if a team has a great roster, if they suffer from poor coaching, they are usually not going to do all that great.  Instead, the talent of the players just ends up getting wasted.  Now you know what to look for in a great coach—and by contrast, what to look for in a poor one.  Always incorporate coaching analysis into your investigation of any team while you are handicapping!


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