We all have a list of our all-time coaching greats. No matter what the sport, or era, we all think of a special group of coaches who are at the top of the pyramid.
There is no doubt that certain traits and habits contribute to coaching success. Some coaches have a tremendous ability to connect with their players. Others have great technical knowledge of their sport and others yet, some combination of many different skills that allow them to have great success.
Well, there is one other factor that I think all great coaches will agree has made a gigantic impact on their success. As a matter of fact, I think if you conducted a poll of all the greats, they would have one common denominator to their success.
What is that one thing that all great coaches possess?
A great roster!
Great coaches are most successful when they have great players. Now it is clearly a chicken or egg type of question. What comes first?
Without talent no coach can be considered great. Dick Vitale says all the time that, “you can’t win the Kentucky Derby with a mule.” No truer words have ever been spoken. You can coach your butt off and without the talent, nothing great is happening.
Some coaches are great recruiters and thus have great talent. Others are good recruiters who are great developers of talent, and thus have talented players to work with. But no matter how you slice it, great coaches have to have a certain level of talent to start with.
If you like winning, you better also like recruiting, in college, for sure, in travel ball, no doubt and in the school ball setting, too. Now the school ball setting is a little bit different in that you are convincing athletes to be softball players rather than soccer players, but without getting those athletes you are up the creek without a paddle.
So it’s a little bit about the “Xs and Os” but you better not forget the “Jennys and Mary Jos”!
About the Author: Tory Acheson brings a wealth of knowledge to the Fastpitch Prep staff. He has coached at all levels of the game, including the last 25 years at the college level at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, Tennessee Tech and Kennesaw State. He began his coaching career at the high school level spending 9 years Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wis. and is now working as a professional softball instructor.