Being a coach is similar to being a teacher: the performance of the athletes/students is blamed on you. Both roles require a specific type of leadership that balances knowledge, respect and trust in an authentic manner that motivates people do perform to their best ability. So far for this season, it’s Marc Trestman’s fault for the ongoing losses.
In an interview from the start of the season, Trestman wants to create a culture that expresses the “team’s character”; right now, the team’s character is garbage.
Since I have been a teacher for over 14 years, I have learned, sometimes the hard way, how to work with all types of people. As a result of my experience, I have learned to adapt mid-lesson, accept the fact that an activity I originally though of as great, is crap and have learned to read my students based simply upon their body language.
If Trestman really wants to be an effective coach, he should have learned already that he needed to change the minute he noticed this decline, like the rest of us. I wonder what exactly has he done to develop this culture in his team? In the classroom, I figure out new ways to get students to work with each other; it could be in a game, a discussion or an interactive activity. Even if students wish they could decline from participating, I simply explain: “This is the activity. These are my expectations. I’m not changing them to suit your needs.” I do coach them through an activity, but there are times, more often than not, when I participate in the activity as well.
I wonder if Trestman has even figured out his expectations? If so, has he included the players on this discussion? Does he follow through with his expectations or does he simply go through the motions during a game or a practice, then shrugs the day off to go home to sleep?
I’m not saying he should be as blunt, direct and even strong-armed as Da Coach, but he should be able to have the backbone to stick to his vision, revise it, like right now, and then move forward into a positive direction, we can only hope.
Similar to my students, not all athletes are the same. I’m sure many coaches would be intimidated by Brandon Marshall’s mental health and Jay Cutler’s pensiveness since he refuses to connect these thoughts to an emotion, other than the thought of “leave me alone.”
Maybe Trestman should have a talk with Pete Carroll, head coach of the Seattle Seahawks, who has his act together. In an interview from 2013, Carroll leads the team in daily guided meditation sessions that they are required to record their responses on their phones, they practice yoga together and are described as a happy team that quietly reflects together. I’m not saying that Carroll’s way is the best way, but it beats not doing anything and is much better than yelling.
Trestman, please use this Bye week to reflect clearly and specifically about what you want the Chicago Bears to look like. How can you get them to this expectation? What are specific tasks or activities you can do with the team; not just guide them or direct them to do, to, now, redevelop the team’s character?