By Leonardo Cervantes
Netflix’s “The Playbook: A Coach’s Rules for Life” delves into the mind of some of the most brilliant head coaches across the world.
What these coaches all have in common is how they preach repetition and focus. They approach life the same way they do coaching, studying and analyzing the game as well as life.
Doc Rivers is the head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers and strongly believes in routines. That is how he approaches life and coaching.
Since he was young, he never said he was practicing. Instead, he always said he is playing basketball. He instills this same mentality on his team. When Rivers was young, a teacher asked him what he wanted to be in life and he said a basketball player. The teacher repeatedly told him to be more realistic, but he kept insisting it was his dream.
His father also told him to be realistic but told him,” Whatever goal you have, and right now it’s too early, but when you settle on one, just finish the race.”
During the 2014 playoff, Rivers had to navigate through a scandal that the team owner Donald Sterling caused. Sterling was caught on tape saying racist comments and his predominantly African American team was outraged. They had intentions of boycotting playoff games, but Rivers was able to galvanize them and they ended up playing.
Jill Ellis was the U.S. Women’s national soccer team head coach for five years before stepping down in 2019 when they won their second consecutive World Cup.
However, success did not come easy and Ellis went through many growing pains.
The team was struggling and rumors began to surface that Ellis would be fired but did not let this distract her.
Ellis made rash lineup changes causing some players to feel uncomfortable due to lack of chemistry with one another.
At times, Ellis even doubted herself but kept moving forward. In 2018 her team was down 1-0 to Brazil and the feeling of dread came up once again.
They were able to adjust and ended up winning the Tournament of Nations. “To be a leader, you must make tough decisions,” that mentality benefitted Ellis and her team.
In 2019 the team held the title as champions, and their platform kept growing they were able to spread their message of equal pay.
José Mourinho has won 20 titles in 10 years across four countries, and is extremely successful with every team he has coached.
He is often brash and overconfident with the media because he doesn’t like interviews, but that attitude is why he succeeds as a coach.
Mourinho has an unorthodox way of recruiting new players. Instead of spending millions on superstar players, he likes to scour lower-ranking leagues for diamonds in the rough. This way he knows his players will always give their all on the field.
In 2003, his brilliance showed when he took his team, FC Porto, to the Champions League. Manchester United was ranked as the best team that year and as the draw ceremony approached, Mourinho had his team mentally prepared. The selections are totally random, but Mourinho told his team repeatedly that he wanted to face the best team and that was Manchester United.
As the selection was announced, Manchester United was set to face FC Porto and Mourinho’s team was overjoyed. With Mourinho’s methods and the team’s motivation, they defeated Manchester United.
Patrick Mouratoglou has been Serena Williams’ tennis coach since 2012, and they have won 10 Grand Slam tournaments together.
Mouratoglou was never confident in interacting with people. As a kid, he had problems interacting with his classmates but he was always looking and studying their interactions. This later helped him in life as he was now able to read people, which allowed him to deconstruct the opposing players’ body language in game.
Dawn Staley has one of the most accomplished basketball resumes ever. Staley had been the back-to-back player of the year, three-time Olympic gold medalist, and All-star six consecutive years. She was always regarded as a coach on the floor when she played.
When Staley became a coach, she was the first woman to win the first SEC championship for South Carolina. As a coach, she’s a two-time Atlantic 10 coach of the year and holds four Atlantic 10 Tournament titles.
Since many girls weren’t playing basketball, she always had to play against the guys.
Every move that they made, Staley studied and emulated it. While attending the University of Virginia, the dean told her “Growth takes place outside of your comfort zone.” This instilled a new mentality into Staley and she used it on her players, preaching discipline and focus.
She knows that her players feel uncomfortable at times but it’s normal to feel uncomfortable.
All head coaches have a tough task navigating through front office desires, media backlash, and trying to lead players to a championship. They must be able to manage their players and handle positive and negative emotions in the locker room. However, these coaches have been able to work through it all and come out successful.