Many dream about the idea of becoming a high school football coach due to its sheer charms. It can be a prestigious career filled with the respect of young players, cases full of hard-won trophies and the sweet joy of victory. It is a particularly wise choice for those who enjoy interaction with teenagers, creating challenges and formulating strategy. If you have a love for the game of football, this could be a perfect career match.
Before deciding to pursue a football coach career it is important to think through what it might be like and to reflect on your own experiences. If you have played the game yourself, you will have a wealth of knowledge to draw from. What parts of football do you love? If you enjoyed playing, then you will be able to relate well to the players. There is said to be a unique camaraderie among football players. They must live life before one another. Players must perform drills, push themselves harder then they thought possible, show up on time and support fellow players regardless of personal feelings.
If you didn’t play the game, but helped assist your coach or managed the team, then you will have a different outlook and your strengths may be in plays and strategy. This is important because good strategy can win games and employers want to hire winning coaches. Even if this is your strength area you must recognize that there is always more to learn as a coach. Ask yourself if you can be the kind of coach that operates out of firm conviction and good discipline, but is also willing to hear others out.
If you worked with a brilliant coach in the past, then you will find that will be a good foundation to build on. Dig deeper to discover why the coach was good at his job. Think about how he treated others, how prepared he was and how well he used his skills. Perhaps the coach you worked with wasn’t great, or worse, was unkind or lazy. These experiences are not wasted as they will show you what you do not want to model in your own career.
READ AND RESEARCH
What is one of the best ways to gain more knowledge on a subject you’re interested in? Reading books and listening to professionals is naturally a great avenue to educate yourself. For example, Finding the Winning Edge by Bill Walsh is said to be a book that is like a bible for coaching as it instructs coaches efficiently in going beyond offense and defense. Another inspiring read is Faith in the Game, by Tom Osborne. This one has the potential to show you what kind of impact you can have on your young players and it just might inspire you to passionately pursue coaching.
For a little more grit, you can pick up The Quick Passing Game (volumes 1-3) and The Bunch Attack, by coaches Coverdale and Robinson. These resources will cover attacking defenses and passing concepts. Football’s Eagle and Stack Defenses by Ron Vanderlinden may blow your mind a bit with information. However, it can pared down for high school level and goes into amazing defensive detail regarding the how and why of each position. For sheer inspirational reads aspiring coaches should all read Coach Tony Dungy’s, Quiet Strength and Coach John Wooden’s, Wooden. Both will shine a light on being a good man as well as a coach.
GAIN SOME HANDS ON EXPERIENCE
Next, you will need plenty of coaching experience in order to hone your skills and expose your weaknesses. Do whatever you can to secure that first position. Scour ads, apply at schools and recreational centers in your area, and consult with everyone you know who may have anything to do with coaching. Be willing to take an unpaid position as it would most likely be like an apprenticeship and could serve you well. Once you have secured your starter job put your heart into it. Try to go beyond expectation in every task as this will help develop character in you and it will demonstrate commitment. You never know who is watching and what that might net for your future.
BEGIN FORMAL EDUCATION
You will find that it may not be absolutely necessary to have a college education in order to become an excellent football coach, or even to secure a paid position. If you have lots of field experience or you know someone in the field you could be hired relatively easily. However, many high school football coaches find they must act as teachers in addition to coaches. Typically public schools don’t have the funds for full-time coaches so in these instances your degree could help you secure the job.
Once you choose a college it is wise to seek some guidance counseling that will help you make the most of your degree. You want to focus on as many physical education and sports science classes as you can while still earning your teaching degree as they will raise hiring opportunities for you. In addition, every state in the nation requires a teaching license which involves fulfilling a set of requirements such as, accumulating student teaching hours under master teacher guidance, passing exams and paying fees. Many schools also require teachers to continue their education to ensure they are always improving their skills.
One can obviously see that there is a lot to being a good high school football coach. You need to understand the intricacies of game, have excellent organizational skills and be fairly patient. Though you may not think you are signing up for it you may find you do become part child psychologist and part father to your players. It will take some time to learn to balance your coaching roles and to understand how to best manage the quirks of each of your teams, but there is much reward in coaching young lives onto victory.