The Nuts And Bolts Of Coaching Philosophy

posted by Coach Dawn Writes
Friday, April 13, 2012 at 3:38pm EDT

My blog is a place for coaches at all levels who are interested in building teams, motivating their student athletes, and coaching ideas that work. You won't find drills or job postings there, but you will find thoughts from a self-proclaimed coaching nerd who wants to help coaches and teams thrive.

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I’m sure all of us have coaches that we look up to, those folks who were invaluable to us (whether they knew it or not) as we were coming up in the field.  Cecile Reynaud was that person for me and when I saw a post of hers about coaching philosophy over on the Women in Coaching site, I thought you’d enjoy reading it as well.  Here it is:

When I first started coaching at the NCAA Division I level I was 22 years old as the head coach.  I had to dive into the profession with little time to develop my philosophy and coaching values.  Fortunately I played for a strong female coach and was able to use her as a role model and sounding board in my early years.  Keep in mind I was just about the same age as my athletes.

Starting a coaching career again I would make sure I had my philosophy well thought out and written down on paper.  This is such a key for a coach to be successful.  It is the basis for all of your decisions.  Players and parents need to know your expectations and values which will allow them to make an informed decision to play for you.  I always presented my coaching philosophy during a home visit.  So, here it is:


  1. Commit to work hard.  Develop good habits in practice.  Don’t settle for being average.
  2. Commit to becoming a smart player.  Understand the game.  Think quickly on your feet.  Make good decisions.
  3. Put the team before yourself.   Give to other people.  Understand that you and your teammates need each other.
  4. Have a winning attitude.  Believe in yourself.  Play with confidence.  Avoid dwelling on mistakes. Be a positive influence.

  TO STAY HERE:  (This was the part of the philosophy I referred to the most when I had any discipline problems.  It covers everything I felt was important.)

  1. Be responsible.  Go to class, be on time, meet your tutors, be at all practices, workouts and team functions.  Plan ahead and talk with faculty before team trips.  Be responsible for your game.
  2.  Be respectful.  Treat your teammates and staff with respect.  Your actions are a reflection on all of us.  Treat other people the way you want to be treated.
  3. Be honest.  Can I trust you?  Can our team and staff trust you?  Always tell the truth.  Do the right thing.
  4. Be loyal.  Never talk about your teammates or coaches in a negative way.  Keep team problems or issues within the team.  Be willing to confront issues with the person you have a problem with instead of talking to everyone else about it.


  1. Be coachable and communicate with your coaches and teammates.  Accept criticism and try not to take it personally.  Commit to the philosophy and talk with your coaches.
  2. Have great leaders, eager followers and role players.  Lead by example all the time. Do what is best for the team.  Respect and respond to your leaders.  Everyone will have a role.  Make sure you accept yours.
  3. Influence your opponent.  Be the team in control, set the tempo, disrupt their offense with your defense.
  4. Be consistently motivated.   Be a great practice player with good focus and concentration on the right things.  Be mentally ready for each practice and competition.

 It will take several years to get comfortable with your coaching philosophy.  Evaluate it after every season and adjust it as necessary.  You’ll find that you will need your philosophy the most when things get rough, but stay the course and be true to yourself.  Good luck!

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