Angry Coach: Delivering Bad News

TAGS: cheating, angry coach, advice, elitefts.com, coaching, football, Elitefts Info Pages

In a highly ironic twist, I had to deliver bad news to someone else last week instead of getting a dose of my own. I know that sounds a little defeatist, but it's been a bit of a rough half-year for me and I've gotten used to waking up to hearing, at very least, that I needed to deal with something. For a while there, the phone calls kept rolling in on a regular basis.

Long story short, I had to tell a very close friend of mine that his wife was cheating on him. I, along with a couple of other people, was given this information by two very reliable sources, and there was proof. We debated what to do and how to handle it for a day or two, and then decided that this wasn't our information to sit on. The guy had to be told. I put myself in his shoes, and decided that if my friends knew something like this for sure and DIDN'T tell me, I'd probably be more pissed off at them than at my wife. Either way, it's a shit situation, but we didn't want to make it worse by unnecessarily stretching it out.

The problem in this case was that the guy had absolutely no idea. I mean, who knows what people think or suspect behind closed doors, but judging by his reaction, and the way he'd been getting along with his wife in the weeks and months before this, I really do think he didn't suspect anything. So, when we told him, I think the news came as a complete surprise.

When shit like this comes up, it's like coaching. And although I know that sounds ridiculous, that's exactly what it is. As a coach, or as a friend or family member, you make decisions that you believe are going to be prudent for your team (whom I'm assuming you give a shit about), the people around you, and yourself. You think things through, analyze situations, then come up with a game plan. That's what we did for this guy. We planned out where we were going to give him this news, who was going to do all the talking, what role each person in the room was going to play, and how we were going to react in every different scenario. We knew precisely what each guy (and girl) was going to to if the guy A) Got up and started breaking shit, B) Started crying his eyes out, or C) Said he wanted to get to the bar and open up the biggest tab of all time. We had it all completely figured out, and we factored everything in for every eventuality you could think of. We didn't leave a single stone unturned.


That's how it works with coaching and training, same as life, at least if you're doing it right. Especially if you're a coach, all you can do is plan, and rely on your experience. It works in two parts. You prepare your players for the entire offseason to develop the necessary skills to succeed. Then, in games, you move them around like chess pieces and put them in position to use the skills you've taught them to make plays when it counts. If they've listened, you've taught them well enough, and they have the physical ability to express their skill on an equal level or better against their opponent, they'll succeed if you can get them in the right place at the right time.

But in the end, that's all you can do. THEY'RE the ones who have to go out and make plays. It's like the Al Pacino speech from Any Given Sunday where he says, "Now, I can't do it for you. I'm too old."

We might not be too old, but if we're coaches, we're ineligible, as much as we'd like to put the pads on and f--k someone up. And trust me, I'd love to. Same thing with this guy's wife. I made some obnoxious comments on Facebook because I'd heard she called me a few names (as if the situation was MY fault), but all you can really do, as a friend, family member, or coach, is put your chess pieces in the right spot and let them go to work. If you've got that part down, all that really matters is how you prepare them. Sometimes, as with your friends, it's none of your business. It's not like I've been sitting around coaching this guy for how to react and how to proceed when some bomb drops in his lap.

But with kids you coach, you have that control. You can cover all that. You can get them ready to make plays. You can physically and mentally prepare them to do the right thing when you, as a coach, get them in the right spot. I know this is pretty obvious shit, but it helps me to think about it in these terms.

The irony here? The guy I told hasn't made a play yet.

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