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Coaching Philosophy

By Ryan Post I have been fortunate in my coaching career to work with some great coaches. I have been on staffs where anything that could go wrong did, and I have been on staffs where we always seemed to be on right side of a lucky bounce. In every situation, I considered myself to be in a place where I had opportunities to learn, either directly from coaches with more experience, or through observation. Many coaches will tell you that there is nothing original in coaching, and the following philosophy is no exception. From Amos Alonzo Stagg and Pop Warner to Knute Rockne, from Eddie Robinson and Bobby Bowden to Lou Holtz, each coach developed a philosophy that he would use as a basis for the decision making process. These words are passed from one generation to the next, adapted over time to meet the needs of the coach with antiquated being deleted and the modern additions. The philosophy defines your approach to all aspects of the game including practice and game preparation, player management, assistant coaching duties, fundraising, scouting and recruiting. A philosophy has to be something that you can follow. Simply taking what someone else does and making it yours may or may not work. The fabric has to be unique to your core beliefs. The following is the philosophy that I make an effort to follow: I believe that more games can be one in the long run when a head coach focuses on the character and discipline of his team rather than the talent. Players that lack character or discipline will not destroy my team. This may be the toughest to adhere to. How do you let the best player on your team go? It is easy to say that you will sacrifice in the short term to make ling term strides, but who will be on your side with the What have you done for me lately attitude that is commonplace today? I have learned that having a few offensive plays makes the system learnable. I will adhere to the KISS/KILL principle. Lining up in a new formation doesnt require much execution, but a new play calls for a lot of work. KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) and KILL (Keep It Likeable and Learnable) principles in play design enables many players to learn a few plays that can be executed well. You may choose to have 100 plays that can be executed with 20% proficiency by the players, or you may have 20 plays in which they demonstrate 100% proficiency. The more players that are on the same page per play, the more effective your team will be.

I know that a head coach is only as good as his assistants. It will be my role to gather the best talent available and work to constantly make them better at their position while giving them the freedom to exercise their knowledge. Quality assistants are vital to a head coach. Micromanaging is usually not an option, so you must trust your assistants to get the job done. When you are not getting the end product from your coaches, it is time to educate them, facilitate the design of the practice, and designate short-term goals that are attainable for the coach. I have seen what happens when a coach out thinks himself. I will work to keep our decisions simple, our players prepared, and our opponents off balance. Doing what we do and doing it well will define our approach to preparing for the next opponent. This is one philosophy that I learned through trial and error. On one staff, every week we would watch our opponent and attempt to out-scheme them. Instead of doing this with plays that we had already learned, we would develop 2-3 new plays each week. At the end of the season our original list of 20 plays had grown into 50+ plays. There was no way the players were proficient as a unit with any single play. I believe that preparation breeds success. I will prepare my players physically, psychologically, and spiritually. Having a plan will make you infinitely more successful in any endeavor. Young players gravitate toward structure. I have been on enough staffs where the head coach wanted just one more play at the end of practice. Plan your practice and practice your plan. The plan should be made in a manner to include the players in your situational thought process. Also, having a spiritual plan will bring the players together and help to shape character. I believe that team defense wins championships. I also believe that the offense has more opportunities to score, and special teams can change the momentum of the game. I will prepare my team in these three facets of the game on a daily basis. In the realm of football, it is often preached but not practiced that special teams are a huge part of the game. I have seen teams that score so often that they should have spent more time on preparing the kickoff team. Unfortunately, I have also been part of a staff that should have spent more time on kickoff return because our defense was allowing a lot of points. Also, when we had a stout defense, we found that we were able to do more with our punt block defense. Special teams provides opportunities for game-changing plays.

2013 Ryan Post

I have seen how one bad apple can ruin the bunch. Cancers to the team will be dealt with directly and passionately. Either the person learns to be a team player, or he will cease to be part of the team. There are many outside influences that may negatively influence team chemistry. Parents, peers, and community influences are expected, but the detractors from within do the most damage. It is easy for a coach to say dont listen to them. They dont know what we go through each and every day. When the player who vocalizes his displeasure with the team, coach, or players is allowed to remain in place, the doubters increase in number while the followers dwindle. A team requires a unified effort regardless of the individual beliefs. I have witnessed how coaches make a difference whether or not a player goes to college. I will take on the challenge to get each senior who earned playing time, maintained his G.P.A., and who has challenged himself to be the best he can be, into college. The world of recruiting is changing constantly. When I began coaching in 1991, the single biggest influence on whether a player was recruited was the head coach. Now players have the means to get video, monitor grades, and contact multiple schools easily. The players need guidance through the process, however, and I believe that is the new role of the head coach. There are players that dont have grades, havent earned significant playing time, or demonstrated the sacrifice necessary to play at the next level, but the players and parents want to place blame on the staff for the players shortcomings. Setting standards and communication will enable this philosophy to work. I believe that parental, faculty, and community involvement can be either the lifeblood or the downfall of a football program. I will work to include parents, faculty, and the community in the program while maintaining autonomy over the decisions affecting the team. The head coach needs to assert himself in the capacity of bridge building with parents, faculty and the community. These groups will appreciate and respect coaches for making the effort early on rather than trying to build support later if things take a turn for the worse. Maintaining autonomy over the team will be much easier when these groups also understand that you accept the responsibility of your decisions or lack of decisions. These nine statements serve as the pillars of my philosophy and my approach to coaching. It is not always easy to follow, and the opportunities to weigh the effects of my decisions do not always shout out, Hey, this is a chance

to stop and think about this decision. I can say this though, as I have gained experience my reactions are more closely aligned with my philosophy. Being a coach of any sport is an important role that needs to be filled by someone who has the ability to work with others, is respected, is trusted, and has the ability to get the job done. Having a philosophy on paper that represents my temperament allows me to self-evaluate my decisions and affects how I approach the decisionmaking process. Coaching Wisdom If you cant stand the heat, get out of coaching. -Bobby Bowden Some people try to find things in this game that don't exist but football is only two things - blocking and tackling. -Vince Lombardi If you and I agree on everything, one of us isnt necessary. -Bobby Bowden If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much. -Swansons Rules of Management Pro football gave me a good sense of perspective to enter politics: I'd already been booed, cheered, cut, sold, traded and hung in effigy. -Jack Kemp Football doesn't build character in players. It eliminates the players with weak ones. -Darrell Royal

And finally, a quote of my own.

To ask of others, you must first be willing and able to do for yourself. If you cant, learn how. When you ask, trust that those you ask can get the job done or that they will ask questions if they need help. -Ryan Post Ryan Post is in his fourth year as a coach at East Coweta High School. He has been a high school coach since 1991 in both th Florida and Georgia and is currently the Head 9 Grade Football Coach at East Coweta High School.

2013 Ryan Post