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June 8, 2021

Being a Sports Coach: Expectation vs. Reality

DDS: College Basketball
DDS: College Football
DDS: Pro Basketball
DDS: Pro Football

Being a coach is no walk in the park. It’s a complex job with many layers, far more than what the audience on game day can perceive. Many aspects of sports coaching aren’t even strictly about the sport. It’s a relational and interpersonal job that requires effective communication skills, people skills, and in-depth knowledge about a wide range of sports-related topics.

With our savvy AI and life-like simulation design, Wolverine Studios helps you become an effective sports coach. You will face obstacles and variables that mimic the challenges of real-life – players with different personalities, drafting and recruitment, data analysis, and more.

You will quickly learn that being a coach isn’t all it’s cut out to be. You might even find yourself muttering a quick apology to all the coaches you’ve shaken your fist at as an avid fan on the stands. But before you get started, let’s debunk a few coaching myths to get you in the right headspace before building your dynasty.

What it Really Means to Be a Coach

Expectation: Winning is a coach’s true measure of success.

Reality: They’re closely watching a number of metrics

Yes, winning games is important overall. Every team aspires to be the best, and it’s the coach’s responsibility to guide the players to victory. But winning shouldn’t be considered in isolation when evaluating your effectiveness as a coach. Winning is the end product of a million other factors that work together in harmony to achieve results in the form of a productive team.

Losing games is like having a fever – it alerts you that there is a problem, but it’s not the actual problem. If you’re not winning games, evaluate your coaching style before, during, and after game day. Were there aspects you overlooked during training? Should you be approaching your players differently? How else can you develop better team chemistry?

Expectation: You have complete control.

Reality: There are going to be more moving parts than you ever imagined.

Sports movies and TV shows can lead audiences to believe that the coach’s word is law, that the coach makes or breaks the team; therefore, they take full responsibility for every win and loss. However, in reality, this isn’t completely true. Yes, a coach is a vital and influential leader in a sports franchise. But a franchise is a company, at its core.

A coach is like a senior manager that leads one department in the company but typically answers to the general manager, who functions as the CEO of the company. 

Furthermore, there may also be power dynamics within the team. There is a team captain who represents the players, and each player will have their own opinions.

There will always be curveballs and speed bumps, no matter how well you plan, so be flexible and learn to adapt. As a coach, you must find a middle ground between your methods and the needs of the franchise and team.

Expectation: All you need is a star player.

Reality: Having players who can work together is far more crucial.

Coaches have access to an endless mountain of stats regarding a player’s performance and athleticism. This is vital information to consider and analyze, especially during the drafting or recruitment period. However, stats don’t paint a full picture. They don’t tell you about the player’s personality, work ethic, and compatibility with the roster. 

Don’t just look for the best; look for the best for your team. They might not necessarily be the top-ranking players in the league, but they may mesh well with your existing roster and help players bring out the best in each other. After all, even the best shooting guards with high conversion percentages can’t be ball hogs.

Remember, players don’t win games. Teams win games.

football player

Expectation: Knowing the sport is enough.

Reality: Coaches have to balance hard skills and soft skills.

It’s a given that a coach is knowledgeable about the sport, but being a good coach is far more than that. You have to be a constant student of the sport and the industry. Be on the lookout for new and emerging training techniques, both in your sport and other sports. Stay updated with relevant sports news and research. Study up on topics that are related to athletic performance such as nutrition, exercise physiology, and sports psychology.

Your team will look to you for guidance on all things related to athletic performance, so you must be well-rounded and informed. You’ll be more effective and able to offer insightful feedback when you take a holistic approach.

Expectation: The love of the game will keep everyone together.

Reality: You're going to have to manage a lot of different personalities.

Passion is at the foundation of every athlete’s and coach’s lifelong pursuit of the sport. But collective love of the sport isn’t all it takes to create a successful team. If it were that simple, switching rosters would be as simple as plug-and-play. 

A team is comprised of players who come with varying histories, ways of working, and personality traits. Your job, as the coach, is to manage these contrasting personalities and build a unified team. Consider how you relate to the players, how you relate to the general manager, how the players work with each other, and how they relate to the members of the coaching staff.

While being a coach requires you to wear different hats and acquire a wide variety of skills, it also puts you in the position to help build a successful franchise.

Ready to coach your own team to victory? Try a free demo of one of our games today.