Many times, people measure coaches purely by their win-loss record. Being a successful coach, though, doesn’t end at the final whistle of the game.
Coaches can have an impact on athletes far beyond the field of play. Professional football player Courtland Sutton recalls the positive influence coaches had on his life.
MORE THAN A COACH
Sutton cites his time as a college football player and the bond he created with the team’s receivers coach. This coach went beyond simply pushing Sutton to become a better player. He was someone that Sutton could turn to whenever he faced something he needed to talk about.
This transcended being a coach. He became a mentor.
“He is someone who’s going to figure out your strengths and weaknesses, and he is going to help you grow,” Sutton says. “We knew we could go to him, whether it was on the field or off the field. We could go to him and talk to him about anything. I really enjoyed that. He and I keep in contact to this day.”
PUSHING THE ATHLETE
As a coach, you’ll often have to make hard decisions. But that isn’t always a bad thing.
Athletes step onto the field dreaming of playing a certain position. They may want to throw a game-winning touchdown or cause a game-clinching fumble with a sack.
But as a coach, you may want to try a player at a different position than they expected. Change can be hard for players. By working with them and having a positive attitude, the change could have a major impact on your team.
“Changing positions is something I am pretty sure a lot of the guys that are in the league have had to do,” Sutton says. “Obviously that coach sees something in you to be able to play that position. And you just go in there and learn as much as you can and do the best you can at that.”
PLAYING MULTIPLE SPORTS
Many football players focus on improving for the gridiron during the offseason. One way that can impact their football abilities is by playing a different sport. Coaching an athlete to play multiple sports can help them master skills that can transition to the football field.
Sutton remembers how playing basketball helped improve his football skills.
“I learned a lot about being able to high-point the ball,” Sutton says. “Learning to do it in basketball taught me a lot about [doing it] in football. I was trying to box out guys that were 6’10” or 6’11”. And being able to do that taught me a lot now going against [defensive backs] that are 5-10, 5-11, 6-foot maybe.
“It is a little bit easier doing it against them than doing it against guys that are 6-10.”
No matter the sport, players and coaches face adversity. Learn more about how professional football player Stefon Diggs overcame adversity on and off the field.
Coaching sports can help you have a major impact on the players on your team. You can help them not only grow and learn to be better athletes. You can help them become better individuals.