A Virginia coach stripped down his coaching philosophy to the studs with a goal of eliminating wasted energy and bad habits.

By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Managing Editor

Often times during the course of a season, coaches postpone fixing problems until after the season because there’s no time to make big-picture changes during the pursuit of wins. Take time to rethink strategies now.

Blacksburg High (Va.) coach Thad Wells seemed to reach the pinnacle of his coaching career – at the age of 30 – when he led his team to a state championship in 2016. But for the young coach, the thrill of victory didn’t feel as good as he expected.

“My mission has always been to help adolescents find their purpose in life,” Wells said. “I can’t spend 30 or 40 years coaching just to win state titles. There has to be more to it.”

Wells stripped down his coaching philosophy to the studs with a goal of eliminating wasted energy and bad habits. He offers these six tips to other coaches looking to do the same.

Stress What’s Important in Life: “I’m very passionate that we’re out of balance as coaches; we think we have to do everything to be successful. It’s an all-or-nothing approach. Some people never see their families. I’m very passionate about making family the No. 1 priority. It helps us keep our sanity.”

Adjust the Schedule. “We don’t meet as a staff on the weekends at all. All of our communication on the weekends is online. We’ll trade Google sheets, but we don’t meet at all. That’s the rule.”

Set an Example for Players. “You can’t teach the kids it’s all about family if the only place they ever see you is at school. Then, something’s wrong. Show them your commitment to your family and community.”

Teach the Players Values. “We don’t practice on Mondays, and we go to the classroom. We teach the fundamentals of life, finding values and talents, finding their purpose and interests. We talk about books, habits and forming rituals. We bring in financial advisors.”

Seek Out Knowledge. “After we won the state championship, I was constantly watching webinars and reading books. I read over 70 books on values in life, strength, productivity, habits and successful businesses.”

 

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Eliminate Wasted Energy

As Wells assessed his program to determine how to make family a greater priority, he found several routines that could be eliminated completely.

“Ask why you do anything,” Wells said. “Find the right answers. If something doesn’t work, switch it.”

One thing Wells eliminated was an abundance of coaches meetings. He found that the coaches were meeting before practice every day just because it was on the schedule.

“Now, the coaches meet for 30 minutes on Monday, and that’s the only time all week,” Wells said.

Wells also dropped Thursday walk-throughs from the practice schedule.

“It’s a waste of time, I won’t do it just to do it,” Wells said. “I don’t want to do anything just because it’s the way it’s always been done. If you get into a habit of wasting time, you begin to place less value on time. Make sure there’s a purpose for everything you do.”

Do you have a thought about this article that you would like to share? If you do, email managing editor Dan Guttenplan at dguttenplan@ae-engine.com. Tweet us @fnfcoaches.

About the author

Dan Guttenplan