Beyond the Game

Quality coaching essential to team success

More stories from Emma Pulaski

Kansas State University’s head football coach, Bill Snyder, recently announced his retirement and many took to social media to share their thoughts on his years coaching. Snyder spent 27 seasons with the Wildcats, racking up a total of 215 wins and two Big 12 Championships. Despite his experience of coaching at a collegiate level, the techniques and rapport he demonstrates are skills that coaches, even at the high school level, can learn from and apply.

While many attribute a team’s success to the players’ skills, it should not always be the athletes we should focus on, but rather the coaches who instruct them. It is important that those who shapes and molds these players, model the same positive characteristics that contributes to a team’s success.

When Snyder first came to K-State to coach, the team had a reputation of low success. He created “Snyder’s 16 Goals,” which contained the building blocks that led to one of the greatest program turnarounds in college football history. A few of these goals include unity, commitment and responsibility. Snyder himself resembles hard-work and enthusiasm, exactly what is needed from a coach that expects the same in return.

Coaches are often the deciding factor on how a team works together and the overall success they will have. According to, there are many different techniques and coaching styles that have shown success; while some use the tactic of bonding with a player and creating a safe space, others focus on making sure the player knows the stakes at risk. recognizes Billy Graham as one of the most influential persons in the last half of the twentieth century. His messages successfully changing countless lives. He once said, “a coach will impact more people in one year than the average person will an entire lifetime.” Such a quote ties a coach to not only being a teacher, but a positive role model.

In addition to training athletes’ physical conditioning, many find it important to help players develop a mental toughness. According to, mental toughness consists of learned attitudes and ways of viewing competitive situations in productive ways, something that a coach can help to teach.

But, this can teeter a line between challenging the athlete and tearing them down. An influential coach should make a kid know that they are always replaceable, but still build their confidence in a way that creates motivation for the player to want to work hard to keep their spot.

A coach should not make it their goal to become genuine friends with their players; however, they should not aim to undermine them by finding flaws in every move they make. Respect is gained by giving respect. Coaches should be seen as a part of the team, not a controller of it.

Players compete because they cherish the feeling of putting their all into a game and the rewards that can come with it. However, at this level, it should be remembered that student-athletes are still growing and dealing with many different obstacles already. For many, sports can be an outlet, a way to forget about such problems.

Although lessons to be learned can be difficult, they are often necessary, and coaches can be looked to for guidance. However, there is a way of approaching said situations that can result in a better outcome for all. The player must be willing to accept criticism but this starts with the coach being able to effectively communicate it.