5 Unique Skills of Outstanding Coaches

4 min read

5 Unique Skills of Outstanding Coaches

After interviewing many of the top coaches in last year’s success for life podcast and my principles from coaching myself, I wanted to share the 5 unique skills of outstanding coaches.

Coach Schuman Handing Out the Winning Trophy At the NUC All American Game
  1. They must CARE about you or the athlete being coached.

This is the most important thing any coach can do. They must truly care about the success, the person and the welfare of the athlete. Each individual must be treated accordingly. The coach must care about that athlete’s development and success. He must have a deep interest in that athlete as a person, not just as a performer. That means getting to know him as much as possible and spending time to make that happen.

Coach Tom Herman of Houston (now Texas) hugs and kisses every player player before each game to celebrate their sacrifice before they go out to the field. That act goes along way with the players, they know he cares about them and their welfare as a person. This article tells you more about it.

Tom Herman Hugging players at Houston, he is now the head coach at Texas

2. They must be TIRELESS WORKERS

Coaching is a process of learning and developing your craft. You must be willing to work long hours for not much pay, doing unexciting things in order to become a great coach. Its not just about the on the field coaching, but the video watching, the planning, the understanding players, the relationship building, the off the field training and much more that helps the coach become great.

In the series “All or Nothing” which covered the Los Angeles Rams, you saw assistants Coach Fassel and Coach Williams sleeping in the office, because they had a late night film session. Those coaches slept many nights in their offices due to the great dedication they have to being the best. Its no coincidence they are NFL coaches with that prodigous work ethic.

3. They must be a DILIGENT LEARNERS

It does not matter how long you have been coaching, you must be willing to continuously learn more about your sport and be willing to find out all the nuances you can about your sport. You must attend clinics and speak with other coaches and peers to stay up to date as to how things get done in your sport.


This is so important, not only must they be able to lead players and coaches, but have the ability to be adaptable. This means you must be able to work with players of different backgrounds, different skill levels, different socio-economic backgrounds, different races and ethnicities and understand how to take many many different factors and create a great environment for success. They must create astounding skills, must be able to teach and develop those skills. They must understand each players needs and motivations and how to get the most out of the them. They must understand each coaches’ motivation and get them all on the same page. They must be able to identify problems and issues on the team and address them quickly and move on to the next one.

It takes the adaptability and positivity of John Wooden, the bold determination of Winston Churchill, the quiet resiliences of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the diligence of Nick Saban, the motivative skills of Urban Meyer, the longevity and grace of Eddie Robinson, the intelligence of Bill Gates, the savy of Warren Buffet, The calculated resolve of Frederick Douglass, the relentlessness of John Calipari, the patience of Nelson Mandela and the fearlessness of George Washington to be a great coach.

John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success


This is not something often discussed in coaching but is definitely a required skill set. At times, things will not go your way, you may not have the athleticism in the team you want or you may be under fire. The persistence to always think long term and fight the good fight day in and day out while addressing near term issues is critical. On a daily basis many things come up that a coach must deal with and in order to be a great coach you must handle those every day while maintaining your vigor. Coaching, in particular being a Head Coach, requires the ability to weather the storm and stay positive. The great coach maintains positivity while dealing with the negatives. The master head coach can persevere and persist when others would quit. The coach who can do this and keep plugging a way will ultimately be successful.

Winston Churchill in World War II prepared his country for the Germany’s invasion by preaching persistence and determination at all times. This leadership providing the backdrop of a country that would endure air raids, massive loss and destructive bombings but helped them persist into a daily battle that allowed the British Navy to defend their country against the Nazis and thwart their invasion.

Great Listen Below:

e great Winston Churchill

These Five Qualities as a coach will help you gain the opportunity for great success and lay the foundation for your continuous personal success, player achievement and career advancement.

This article was written by David Schuman

David Schuman and can be reached via email as well at

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