All I Know About Leadership From Coaching Soccer
Back in 1986 during my days of coaching youth soccer (1983-1995), I wrote these lessons to capture my thoughts on leadership. Later I used them in writing Authentic Leadership and True North. See if they apply to your leadership:
All I Know About Leadership, I Learned from Soccer
- If you want a winning team, start with good talent.
- The coach’s job is to find each player’s “sweet spot” – his best place on the field – and then get players to play together as a team.
- It takes 5 years to build a very good team, but 10 years to create a real champion.
- The team that plays well together will always defeat a group of individual stars.
- Cultivate and nurture your stars, give them lots of leeway, but insist they become team players.
- It takes strong starters at every position, plus a few good alternates, to build a winning team.
- The coach must first admit his mistakes so the players can acknowledge theirs.
- Players who learn from their mistakes today will be more valuable than those who never make mistakes, and much better than those who repeat their errors.
- Never blame someone else for your mistakes or let your players get away with doing so.
- Never underestimate your competition.
- The wise team learns more from its losses than its victories.
- Take advantage of opportunities to upgrade your pool of talent. Develop your rookies: they will be tomorrow’s stars.
- There are players who would be happier and more effective playing for another team.
- Expect 100% effort in every game. If you get it and still don’t win, that’s okay – you’ll win next time.
- When players are fully prepared, the wise coach sits back and let them play their game, rather than coaching from the sidelines.
- There is a time when the coach should recognize he has done all he can do, and it is time for a new coach to take over.