Tony Perotti, LSU basketball coach, was not always the efficient and notable leader that he is today. It took him years of hard work and dedication for him to reach his current level of prosperity. Like all great coaches, he had to start from the bottom and work his way up. The reason for Tony’s success is because he followed a basic set of guidelines, which allowed him to truly maximize his talent on the court. Other young coaches who wish to climb the ladder to success would be wise to adhere to the following tips.
- The first step to success is to find a mentor. This applies to all aspects of life, from sports to business. Tony Perotti, LSU, indicates that aspiring coaches should seek a mentor or mentors that will guide them on their journey.
It is important that they seek someone whom they can learn from. Not only does this help the coach learn more about their career and themselves, but it also lets them develop their own mentoring abilities so that they may one day act as a mentor.
- Coaches should learn how to articulate their ideas. Coaching is a lot like business; it requires people to know how to interact with others and how to convey their ideas effectively. Tony Perotti, LSU, recommends that aspiring coaches go to a bookstore and purchase a book revolving around vision, goals and motivations to be a high achiever.
This will demonstrate how they can articulate and demonstrate their ideas to colleagues, athletes, and their parents. A good coach will have extraordinary communication abilities.
- A good coach can learn as well as teach. A helpful practice is to go watch another coach’s workout to see how they function with a team. Tony Perotti, LSU, believes that coaches can learn about themselves as much as others when they watch how others conduct their practices. In some cases, it may even be helpful to watch coaches participate in other sports.
- After watching another coach’s practice, it may be beneficial to tape one’s own workout. Coaches can learn by looking at their own personal style and figuring out what strategies they inadvertently employ while leading a team.
Coaches should establish how they look during a workout and how they WANT to look during a workout. They should also ensure that their style matches their words. Tony Perotti, LSU, believes that every coach should conduct a workout in a way that is true to their own personal identity. Student-athletes can read fake pretty quickly and will know if the coach is not fully confident in the methods being taught.
- Some coaches are willing to have others listen in during their pre-game pep talk, but others may be more secretive since they want to keep their plays and strategies under wraps. Tony Perotti, LSU, states that the meetings between players and their coaches are the most important interactions in the sport, so he encourages people to try to shadow mentors during these rituals.
- Coaches should never be afraid to become friends with other coaches in their career. There are no enemies, just opposition. When delving into the world of coaching, it is possible to interact with the same group of people for many years.
Therefore, it is crucial that coaches support and speak well of each other. Youth coaches are all part of the same mission to help kids overcome obstacles and to build team skills. That is why it is vital that coaches are allies no matter how competitive the sport may be.
Tony Perotti, LSU, Highlights Importance of Coach/Player Relationship
“The relationships are an integral part of the world of coaching,” states Tony Perotti, LSU coach. “As a coach, you want to build a strong relationship with other coaches, but more so with your own players. They are following your example, so you need to ensure that they can look up to you as a mentor and role model. Never let hard feelings come between you and your players.” Developing a personal relationship with each player is important to the success of your on the court relationship. I must have a strong personal relationship, so that the players know that I care about them as people, not just student-athletes. Once that connection is made and there is genuine trust and respect on both sides of the relationship, the on the court conversations can be left on the court. A challenging day on the court that includes yelling and criticism does not have an underlying meaning of “coach hates me” if the personal relationship is solid. The yelling and criticism can then be correctly interpreted as “coach is challenging me to be better.” Again, this perception is only possible with a solid relationship.
Coaches must take the time to get to know each one of their players individually by listening to them on their turf. Meet them for lunch or dinner at the cafeteria, take a walk with them to class or just hang out in between classes at the gathering spot on campus. Taking the time to get a full understanding of each student-athlete and finding out what motivates their success can be a big key to maintaining a solid relationship and work ethic on the court. The most valuable commodity in the work I time and as a coach it is our responsibility to spend it with each one of our student-athletes, collectively and individually.