The Ultimate Coaching Philosophy

By October 20, 2017 No Comments

When you think of the best coaches in sport, who comes to mind? What about the best organizations?What do they have in common? How do they consistently win at a high level?

To have a successful career and life one must have a philosophy.

You can’t do everything well, so you must have a sound belief system in place as your foundation. The foundation of any great sports program or business is the philosophy. This week I will share with you my basic philosophy for a sports program. I am confident this can be transferred to the business world and allow you to be successful as well.

Ryan Prewitt photo Duchesne football coach Charlie Elmendorf talks to members of the Pioneers during their first day of practice Monday. Elmendorf still runs the traditional two-a-days, but runs them together in the morning so practice is done before the hottest part of the day.

A large influence in my teaching and coaching life has been my uncle, Charlie Elmendorf. He has been in education and coaching for close to 30 years. I am sure he will tell you that his sustained success is a product of his philosophy. I was fortunate to have him as my football coach in high school.I was also fortunate to work with two great basketball coaches during my student-teaching experience, Terry Hollander and Wade Bouslog.

These coaches helped shape my philosophy which can be used in football, basketball or any other sport because it’s not about the sport; it’s about people. It’s all about how you treat people.

Our program is result oriented in a people environment. Our goal is to create a close-knit, goal-oriented group, which works hard and believes in the family concept.

It is vital we recognize the contributions made by all team members, and develop a collective sense of trust. Without trust not much can be accomplished. In order to establish trust you must give 100% effort, 100% of the time. You must care for all team members.

Sports are full of passion and should be played with it. Those who fail in sports and life often falter in the face of adversity. This is what’s great about sports. They teach us how to deal with and respond to adversity. If nothing else, I want my players later in life to be able to look adversity in the face and not blink. The strong survive because they persist and get up. The harder we work in practice each day, the tougher it will be to surrender.

In order to develop a family mentality and sense of strength, there are eight qualities that we strive to instill in our program.

  1. You must promote a team concept. Successful teams are built around individual talent that is molded into a team environment. A coach has to get his players to believe that it’s not about the name on the back of the jersey; it’s all about the name across the chest. The team always comes before any individual award or honor.
  2. We are committed to being first-class people on and off the court. What makes a top program is the caliber of people within the program. Our coaches believe the person is more important than the player. We model what we want from our players. Our goal is to help build first class people who represent their team and community well.
  3. Our program also teaches our athletes to keep their priorities in order. Faith must be at the top. Whatever their faith may be, it is number one. Next is family and then comes education. Basketball comes last. One cannot be a good athlete if they don’t have the first three priorities in order.philo 3
  4. Respect and acceptance of all teammates is a fourth trait we aim to develop. All individuals are different, have different personalities, and outlooks on life. We will respect one another as individuals. There is no ridicule of any team member or coach. Issues will arise because kids are involved. When they do arise, we must come together to reach the best resolution possible for all parties involved.
  5. For us, practice is the best part of the day. Our goal is to be the hardest working team in the state. Success takes a great deal of hard work and sacrifice but it is also very enjoyable, if we make it so. In order to make it enjoyable, we coordinate fun challenges into practice and have many team bonding events throughout the season. philo 4
  6. As coaches and athletes we have dreams of championships and state tournaments. What I am convinced of and what I must convince my players of is this, “Nothing worth having comes free.” To accomplish our dreams and goals, we must pay a price. The higher the goal, the higher price we must pay. The price for us is hard work, sweat, discipline of mind and body, and a dedication to do what it takes to be a total athlete. If we refuse to pay the price then we cannot expect to accomplish our goals.
  7. We focus on the ability to, “Stop and smell the roses.” This not only in enjoying our on court successes, but also realizing just how fortunate we are. In order to illustrate this we have “Thankful Thursdays” every week. We must take time to express gratitude for our families, our education, and the many talents and abilities we possess. High school athletics offer an excitement that is unique and hard to duplicate later in life. We must take time to enjoy the experience and give thanks for the incredible opportunity we have been given. philo 5
  8. Lastly, and most importantly, we emphasize character and leadership development. As a coach, I am a leader. The number one job of a leader is to develop more leaders. For years I had a program I implemented on my own. However, I realized it wasn’t quite what was needed. Our athletes deserved something more in-depth, dynamic,  and fun. Fortunately we were exposed to Lead ‘Em Up and have been using it ever since. It’s been a game changer and our players love it. Lead ‘Em Up will help any coach in any sport develop tomorrow’s leaders. I highly, highly recommend it.

The philosophies of a successful program are based on the same qualities that make for a successful life. Winning involves successfully combining loyalty, leadership, knowledge, determination, persistence, and effort toward your goal. I have a talented team this year and I am confident that if we take this philosophy and instill it with our players, we will have a very successful season.

As always, thanks for reading, have a great week, and be a RGP today!


Coach Elmendorf is available to speak to your team, group, or organization. Message him for details