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Don’t Worry About Being the Chief, Be the Best Indian in the Tribe

In 1996, I can remember sitting in the High School Library where I worked with my eyes fixated on a 13 inch computer screen trying to find information on coaching football. Back then Toby’s was one of the few sites that presented information on coaching in a clear but easily accessible manner. This is one of the ideas behind the Internet, to present a broad range of information that is free to anyone who can gain access to it. I am not a creative person. I have not invented anything new in the game of football. I have built my offensive line philosophy on ideas from a multitude of great coaches, and even some not so great coaches. To tell the truth I am a guy who typed a notebook full of notes from clinics, books, tapes, interviews, and experiences. At the time I thought the best way to share ideas with other coaches was to place it on the web.

There are no secrets in football. Everything comes full circle in this game. The X’s and O’s are important, but are basically the same everywhere. The only differences among coaches is how well they are able to teach their players. The learning process should never end. Young coaches often make the mistake of thinking that they know all there is to know about coaching their position. The more you know the better prepared you, your staff, and your players will be.   Clinics, books, tapes, and the Internet are all great ways to refresh your knowledge and your love of the game.

I am not a head coach, and because of this I have about one third of the stress in my life that a head coach has, and for that I am lucky. Assistant Coaching puts me in the position to give attention to the little details, which should not be the head coach’s responsibility. Like the quote says at the top you should try be the best Indian in the tribe. A good coach always works to make his or her program the best it can be. Strive to find your programs weaknesses and your individual weaknesses to make them your strengths. Is it your special teams or academics that could use improvement? How about film breakdown and equipment? Always remember to prepare for the task before you volunteer for it. Do not be afraid to get your hands dirty this is football!   I have worked under some great head coaches including; John Parchman, Midland Lee High School and USA Today 1999 Coach of the Year; Charlie Linn, Evangel University; and David Large 1999 Missouri 2A Coach of the Year. All of these coaches were great assistant coaches first.

I do not have an offensive or defensive philosophy. Instead I have a coaching philosophy. This is a philosophy that defines who I am as a coach and how I approach my relationship with my players. I have always tried to measure myself as a coach against the standards I set for my players. I never demand they do anything that I can not or have not done myself. I never demand their respect. By this I mean I will show respect long before I expect to receive it. If you are going to demand respect you better return it. Believe in your players. Believe in their individual goals. Remember to treat the players the way in which you would like to be treated. Do not criticize your players they are the only ones you have. Lastly, I try to tell myself “think players, not plays”.

Submitted by: Coach Matt Anderson