3 Reasons Football Coaches Must Be Salesmen


Guess what, you’re in sales even though your coach wasn’t

Take minute and ponder the answers to the following questions:

  • What percentage of your players truly believe in your offensive and defensive schemes?
  • How often do you field questions from parents regarding the validity of various aspects of your program?
  • How many of your players are seeking coaching or training outside of your program because they don’t believe your program offers everything they need to be the best they can be (this includes offseason strength and conditioning)?

It’s April which means at Lincoln Christian School where I coach we have entered the sales season of the annual football calendar. We don’t officially refer to April as sales season, but that’s what it is. My head coach and I have come to embrace this time of year. It is, as they say, what it is.

What do I mean when I refer to April as sales season? I mean we are vying for as much of our players summer break as possible. We’re lining up our summer camp schedules, organizing our summer strength and conditioning workouts, and plotting out when our players will get together for individual workouts. We believe if we can get 100% attendance our summer schedule will prepare our players to come together as a team and have a highly successful season on and off the field.

But do our players believe the same thing? This is where the season of sales comes into play.

Coach, like it or not, you’re in sales. Here are 3 reasons you have to be a great salesman as a coach even though your coach wasn’t.

  1. Informational Symmetry—this is a term I first heard from Daniel Pink. The idea here is that your players and their families, thanks to ESPN and technology, have access to all the football information you do. They may not have any clue how to apply that information, but they have it. The information they have about football has made them highly critical of you as their coach. Your expertise is no longer assumed; it’s questioned.
  2. Truth has been redefined—most of you grew up believing “if it is true it will work.” You expected that what your coach said was true and that if you did things the way he recommended it would work. Your players don’t see things that way. They believe “if it works it’s true.” This means when they follow your advice as a coach they expect it to work in their favor immediately. If your advice doesn’t produce immediate results than it must not be true.
  3. Your players feel entitled—“Two great lies have been promoted in our culture during the past 20 years.
  • If you work hard enough, you can be anything you want to be.
  • “You can be the best in the world”—Hugh Whelchel

Your players expect lots of playing time, lots of wins, lots of accolades, and a college scholarship. Why? Because they’ve been told it’s possible from day one.

You’re players think they know as much as you do, they perceive truth differently than you do, and they expect everything will work out perfectly for them. Coach, you’re not coaching the kids your coach coached. You’re coaching an emerging generation whose perspectives are changing the way coaches coach.

The questions we must ask ourselves is “What are we going to do about this?” I think the answer lies in building a platform. What’s a platform? That’s the subject of my next post. Until then, what are your observations on this generation of student-athletes? Do you agree or disagree with the ideas presented here?


2 thoughts on “3 Reasons Football Coaches Must Be Salesmen

  1. Chris Post

    Love the article. I am following your blogs regularly now! Thanks for a well written blog with great food for thought. – Coach Chris Post –

  2. Cassidy Kotte

    I am already looking forward to the next part of this series. As a former high school/current middle school football coach and the dad of a senior about to be freshman football player at a small NAIA school I agree with your assessment. I see the problem and know that we need to do at least three things: educate and have a response to the culture, secondly make sure we are professional and thirdly exert positive influence within the group we associate with. If you are like me you might feel like you are swimming upstream in class 6 rapids. But I think the kids are worth it and I am thankful for coaches like the ones on this site who believe the same way.

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