Jimmy Johnson was one of the best coaches at getting the most out of his players. Jimmy has a psychology degree and he took everything he learned in the classroom to coaching in the NFL. He didn’t care if a player was a challenge to coach and may have some off field issues. What Jimmy cared about was whether or not the player was relatively intelligent. Jimmy had the ability to recognize a player’s potential and to help that player recognize their own potential. Jimmy was also brilliant at helping the player understand that the status quo wasn’t going to result in the player reaching their full potential as a person and player. Jimmy Johnson was excellent at helping a player understand what it was going to take to succeed and getting that player on a plan to getting better.
The approach is all about the “Performance Coaching” process. Jimmy understood that it is in every player’s best interest to perform to their potential for the good of the team, the player and his future. For every player the approach is not going to be the same. Jimmy understood that some players need a kick in the butt, some need a hug, some need both but every player required special attention to create a quality relationship between coach and player. That, the player had to understand that “Coach” had his back and was pushing him or challenging him to achieve what he knew the player was capable of achieving. Jimmy wasn’t afraid to challenge a player to do what he thought was necessary to set a fire under the player and get the player on track with his improvement plan. Jimmy helped players gain confidence and realize that a different approach was going to be required for that player to reach their potential as an athlete and person.
I share this quote today from Jimmy Johnson because it is a very meaningful statement from one of the top NFL coaches of his time. Every coach must realize that we don’t treat every player the same nor should we accept the player’s current level of performance if he is capable of much better. As coaches we are dealing with players from different socio-economic backgrounds and in some cases very different backgrounds and experiences in life when we get to coach them.
Every coach should take the time to get to know their players; strengths, personalities, challenges and unique needs to make sure the player and coach relationship is special. There will be players who are low maintenance and take little time and effort of the coach to get the best out of the them. In other cases the time, energy and efforts of the coach may be significant but that is what we sign up for when we get into coaching. As coaches we take on the responsibility to make a difference in the people and athletes we get to coach. Step up to the challenge and don’t ever tag or label a player and not work on changing that player and person because your job is to make that player/person better and put a plan in place that is going to make that happen.
Coach Jimmy Johnson’s Saying: