Qualities of a good coach

Sports coaches are funny. For example, they do not believe that there are good or bad coaches, but rather successful and unsuccessful coaches.
For a national football team coaching career, they say a coach is only responsible for how a team plays, but is judged by results.
And coaches are, in fact, just like other conventional teachers, only that coaches specialise in, for example, football.
Like all teachers, coaches too, have to plan their work and implement it through lesson plans, among others.
Coaches have a weighty responsibility of building athletes’ characters. Irresponsible ones destroy athletes’ careers.
It is for this reason that coaches or managers in developed leagues go to matches dressed presentably, carry notepads, tactical boards and behave.
Therefore, Arsene Wenger’s confrontation with Jose Mourinho in last Sunday’s London derby between Chelsea and Arsenal lacked decency.
A good coach also does a Swot analysis of an opponent and develops a game-plan accordingly.
Good coaches ought to have a football playing philosophy and impose it on their teams. Josep Guardiola and Mourinho are so good at that.
However, most domestic coaches fall short in these respects. They are notorious for being predictable in playing formations and game plans.
Yet, great coaches have an element of surprise about their game plans.
Additionally, modern coaching demands elaborate match analysis, breaking the game down into phases, passes made/failed, distance covered and assists provided.
All this demands that coaches do thorough research, including collecting video clips and studying them.
A good coach must also understand the psychology of athletes so as to know how to motivate them. Managing athletes on the field of play (man-management) is critical.
Being able to communicate clearly to players, the media and other stakeholders is another desirable quality of a good coach.
Therefore, knowledge of international languages such as English is a must. After all, coaching courses are not conducted in vernacular.
All this calls for sound basic education, of at least, secondary school.
Malawi will always struggle to produce national team coaches because players drop out of school, forgetting that tomorrow they will need education as a foundation for coaching.
Mourinho and Wenger are graduates. n

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