Up@dawn 2.0

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

First Installment Coaching Philosophy

Philosophy: as Seen in Sports

                When it comes to sports different coaches employ different strategies and philosophies when it comes to leading their teams to wins and championships.   Whether it be in basketball, football, or other sports the goal should be the same and that is to win a championship.   One of the hardest tasks is trying to incorporate a group of people with different aspirations and attitudes into one cohesive unit that has the ability to be a great team.  Molding and leading individuals is one the hardest tasks for a person to have.  Phil Jackson, former coach of the Los Angeles Lakers was tasked with trying to get strong minded strong minded individuals such as Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O’neal  to buy into his system of the triangle offense and  also trust their teammates by not only relying on their individual greatness to win. 

                 Phil Jackson preferred a more laid back approach to leadership.   In his book Eleven Rings he stated, “As a leader your job is to do everything in your power to create the perfect conditions for success by benching your ego and inspiring your team to play the game the right way. But at some point, you need to let go and turn yourself over to the basketball gods. The soul of success is surrendering to what is.”  Steve Kerr, the head coach of the Golden State Warriors and former player under Phil Jackson, uses a similar strategy by allowing his players to play freely and be themselves on the court, which is one of the key reasons that they have become one of the best teams of all time.  His free flowing offense allows his players to not be bound by stiff and rigid plays that leave few options, and instead chooses to let his players make decisions based on how they see things happening on the court.  Also his laid back style of leadership allows a fun atmosphere to be around and have caused his team to gravitate around him be successful.  

                Coaches who allow their players to play freely usually have the most success.  A “team first” philosophy is essential when managing a team and getting everyone to trust one another and not allow outside forces to become a distraction are usually the best teams.  Creating a winning atmosphere is based on basic principles such as having no egos, recognizing a common goal, and pulling together through adversity.  Although, there are many different philosophies when it comes to coaching or leading, in my experience the best results come when a team is allowed to make mistakes and play in loose atmosphere that is also fun. 


  1. I wonder if the reason they play well isn't because they set aside their egos but if all or most of the players and coaches have the same like ego and have the ability to foster a loosely structured environment around them?

  2. Phil Jackson said some very wise, very un-jock-like things. "Wisdom is always an overmatch for strength." And, "Love is the force that ignites the spirit and binds teams together." And my favorite: "If you meet the Buddha in the lane, feed him the ball."

  3. Philosophy in sports can be a strange thing because, like you mentioned, you have to get all the players with different backgrounds and characteristics to work together and be great. Personally, I think a coach who is real with you and cares for you is the best coach. Although coaches have to be the big strong guy who is in charge, if he relates to you and is cool I think the players play a lot better.

  4. Anonymous2:49 PM CDT

    Philosophy within sports is intriguing in that the coach has to have a unique way to make many different parts work together. Jackson and Kerr have both demonstrated their ways in success as to how they manage this

  5. Coaching a team in any sport can be hard, becaus like you said you have to get the players to buy into what you are trying to teach them. I was blessed enough to couch forth and fifth grade church basketball for two years while i was in high school. It was one of the hardest yet most fun thing i have ever accomplished. Trying to get young children to sit and listening to your words may be just as hard to do as coach strong minded players like Michael, Shaq, and Kobe. While most may not agree with me but could we start looking a coaches as philosophers as well?