When we look at a football team, it is obvious that many factors contribute to the win of a game or the success of a season. Some of the most obvious factors include the player’s athletic abilities, offensive and defensive strategies, weather conditions, home field advantage, and most importantly- leadership. Leadership drives teams in all aspects of life, whether in a business environment or a sports environment, as will be discussed in this paper. The purpose of this paper is leadership in football and the ramifications that good and poor leadership has on the performance of the team as a whole.
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Don Chula is a former professional football coach in the National Football League. He is the winnings coach in NFG history. In his book titled, The Little Book of Coaching, a quote stood out in bold ink, taking up the entire page and summarizes the problems some leaders have. “The problem with most leaders is that they don’t stand for anything. And yet, leadership implies movement toward something-a sense of direction”. This quote is strong and bold, emphasizing how leadership can make or break the team. You can’t be a successful leader if you don’t have a clear idea of what you live, where you’re headed, and what you’re willing to go to the mat for. These beliefs were at the heart of everything I did with my coaches and players on the way to building a team that won consistently over many years” (Don Chula, The Little Book of Coaching). Another expert on leadership in football is Louisiana State University’s head football coach Nick Saba. He is also an author of a book entitled, A Champion’s Tips on How to Lead and Succeed at Work and in Life.
Saba has stated that leadership involves many things; setting precedents, showing compassion, and seeing things from other people’s perspective. It all comes down to TEAM; Together Everybody Accomplishes More” (Saba, 127). Being a leader is about getting others to do things better than they thought they could. It is about setting a good example, interacting with people, communicating messages, anticipating problems, holding firm to beliefs, and being flexible enough to evaluate and improve all aspects of the organization. “And to be the most effective leader, you have to be organized” (Saba, 127).
There are ten lessons listed in Nick Saba’s book on being a great leader. I feel they can be applied to any organization. They are listed below. Lesson 1: Great leaders stand up when adversity arises. Lesson 2: Great leaders allow the team to take ownership of the rules. Lesson 3: Great leaders embrace future leaders. Lesson 4: Great leaders lead the orchestra but let them play. Lesson 5: Great leaders pick their battles. Lesson 6: Great leaders do not rush to make changes because of failure. Lesson 7: Great leaders hire good people. Lesson 8: Great leaders never force leadership.
Lesson 9: Great leaders are not always popular. Lesson 10: Great leaders don’t have all the answers, but they find them. This paper will show one man’s thoughts of leadership through his eyes being a idle school football coach. METHODOLOGY This research is based on leadership in football. We gathered information while searching the World Wide Web, reviewing books and the information gathered during our interviews. This paper will identify leadership in football by showing what leadership is, the tasks of leadership, what leaders deal with, the job of a leader and what affects leadership.
Members of our group contacted Coach Harry Brewer, head coach of the Hutchison Junior High School Football team and asked him if he would be willing to schedule a meeting with us for an interview. When he agreed each research team member prepared questions that would be helpful during the interview. This approach allowed everyone in the group to have input even though we all couldn’t be present during the scheduled interview. Jay and Laura met Coach Harry Brewer and his information was very interesting and informative. THEORY The theory that Coach Harry Brewer from Hutchison uses for his team is the human relations model.
This model works well in a team environment because the coach is more of a counselor to the football players and he understands the personal needs of his players. The human relations model shows a concern for employees. In this case a concern for the players and coaches on the football team. In order to have an effective human relations model, communication is key. Coach Brewer wants to make sure that through effective communication his team strives, not only on the football field but also in life. He shows concern for their personal lives and wants to make sure they learn life long lessons on the football field.
Human relations management was brought to life by the Hawthorne Studies by Elton Mayo showing that employees work better when they are in a team environment and can give each other moral support. The study showed that people do their best when they are rewarded for their work. The team works well together and as individuals. In the human relations model informal groups have more of an effect on behavior. Coach Brewer’s approach to coaching his players shows that he has their best interest in mind because he wants to have a support system for his players.
Another important figure in the human relations model was Chester Bernard, former president of the New Jersey Bell Telephone Company. Bernard stressed the importance of communication. Bernard wrote in is book, The Function of the Executive, “The first executive function is to develop and maintain a system of communication. ” (Bernard, 1938, p 226). Coach Brewer uses this method with his assistant coaches. He knows their personalities but lets each one use their own coaching style. He understands that each player is different and they react differently to the different coaching styles.
Coach Brewer successfully uses the human relations model to lead his team. He wants to lead by example and be a positive influence to his players. Because of Coach Brewers human relations approach of coaching, he also has an impact n his players’ personal lives. He stated that some of his players would rather be at football practice than at home. Coach Brewer does not like to yell at his players, he would rather be a positive force in his players’ lives. This makes the players relate to him as a person because he is not always belittling them but trying to make them better players and better human beings.
The human relations model works well for this team. EMPIRICAL SECTION Leadership can be shown, defined, and redefined in every company, in every organization, and in everyday life. Organized sports, however, show leadership n a very unique light and develop young kids into growing leaders. In my experience in football, leadership is shown in a multitude of layers and some lines are not as clearly defined as others. The most obvious line of leadership is the coach, but there are other leaders that emerge that may be less obvious and one may not even know that they are being led.
The second line of leadership is the quarterback. The quarterback holds a position that is expected to take charge. He is the person that everybody looks to in times of need. When the team is in the huddle during a bad game the team looks to the quarterback for audience. If he looks lost or scared then the team loses faith in him. He has to appear to be in control at all times even when he is lost and scared to death. He is, in a way, the figurehead of the team. Other leaders that are not as clearly defined are the emotional and performance leaders. There are no set rules for these types of leaders.
They are the players who have the ability to reach the team on an emotional level. They are the ones who motivate the rest of the team and get everyone ready to play. They are usually well liked throughout the team and not only lead in the locker room but on the field as well. I’ve seen these leaders come from every position on the field, from offensive linemen to free safety. They are the heart and soul of the team. We interviewed a football coach in order to get a different perspective from someone who is expected to always know what to do even when he’s making it up as he goes.
Coach Harry Brewer is the head coach at Hutchison Junior High. He has a B. S. In education and history from Texas Tech University and had been coaching football for over thirty years. He has held the position of head coach at two high schools, Celeste High and Putts High, but prefers the junior high level now so he can spend more time with his family. Junior high football does not require the preparation that high school does, therefore, he does not have to put in the long hours that he once did. Coach Brewer appears to have made his home at Hutchison.
He has been head coach there for the last thirteen years. Coach Brewer is self described as a low key leader. He doesn’t do much yelling but instead tries to set a positive example for everyone to follow. “Lead by example and put people first,” advises Coach Brewer. As we all know however, not all coaches are low key and some re very emotional and come across as just plain mean. We asked him what he thought about the coaches that liked to yell and get emotional. “It’s a good cop, bad cop scenario,” he explains. He doesn’t try and change the coaches.
He tells his coaches what results he wants and gives them free reign to obtain those results. He told us he only has two rules when it comes to his assistants, “No physical or verbal abuse. ” Aside from those two rules he allows the coaches’ personalities to come out in their coaching. He said it’s important to know the players, though. He explained to us that in order to be effective you have to lance the bruisers with the nice guys. You also have to know which players respond best to which coaches and customize accordingly. The quarterback is a position that Coach Brewer agreed is expected to be a leader.
Coach Brewer credits the quarterback’s intelligence level as a key factor in their ability to lead. He explains that the quarterback is usually a very intelligent person and people tend to naturally want to listen to what he says. Natural team leaders are not picked, they evolve throughout the course of the season. We asked Coach what he looked for when looking for team leaders. He has to be first”. This answer was vague at first but he elaborated by saying that he looks for the players that are first out of the locker room onto the field, first to line up for drills, never complains, and works hard everyday. Popularity has nothing to do with it,” he says. In closing we asked Coach, “why football? ” He said he loved the competitiveness of it, but more importantly he said he liked to see the end results. “Athletics is important to life lessons,” he says and he says he likes to see how he has impacted his players’ lives. He said that some of his players even insider the football team more of a home than their real home. ANALYSIS What needs to be done when it is crunch time? When quick decisions need to be made, who makes them? The decisions for Hutchison football team fall to Coach Brewer.
Coach Brewer makes the call for who needs to make what play to win the games. Coach Brewer’s style does not change when it is time to make critical decisions. He still is concerned about his players best interest when the clock it ticking. The coaches make decisions together in team meetings. They decide who will play what positions and what plays will be made. They study the alms of the teams that they will be playing to see their strengths and weaknesses. After the coaches meet, each coach has a meeting with their players to go over the action plan for the game of the week.
By doing this they will be able to tell where they need to adjust in order to have a successful season. Coach Brewer also has to make decisions when unexpected things happen to the team. When one of his assistant coaches passed away, he had to make the decision how that was going to impact his team. He decided to let his players make their own decisions about how they would grieve for their coach. It would have been more of a disruption to ignore the pain that his team was going through. He allowed his players and coaches to come to him and talk to him about their feelings.
By being able to assist his team during emotional times, Coach Brewer is able to maintain order in his team. He knows how to balance the personal and the professional aspect when he is making decisions for his team. CONCLUSION In this paper we examined the leadership style of middle school football coach Harry Brewer. In the sport of football you must show leadership on and off of the field. Coach Brewer is teaching early lessons of how to be a leader to his players. Members of our team interviewed Coach Brewer to get an understanding of how he leads his football team.
In doing this we learned a lot about leadership in coaching. Coach Brewer Uses a human relations approach to leadership. He shows genuine concern about his players and fellow coaches. The sport of football has many layers of leadership. First is the coaching level to make sure the players know their role on the team and execute their jobs effectively. The second line is the quarter back. The quarter back makes sure when he is on the lied the plays are run correctly and he communicates to the other players what the plays will be.
The other leaders on the team may not be as obvious. They are the players that keep the team focused and encouraged. These players are not necessarily selected but they tend to emerge during the season. Football coach Lou Holt once said, “l won’t accept anything less than the best a player’s capable of doing, and he has the right to expect the best that I can do for him and the team! “. This is a good way to SSL_Jam up Coach Brewer and his football team. He gives his best and expects the same in return.