Leadership requires hard work and dedication.
Any goal worth setting and achieving requires a large commitment of time and dedication to accomplish it. The truly successful continually set, achieve and reset their goals. Being an effective coach is no different.
The in-season life of an assistant coach in the NFL is a pure grind as far as the time spent in the office preparing each week. Usually coaches will spend 12-18 hours a day in the office. Most coaches are highly competitive. When their assigned tasks are completed and if there is still any fuel left in their usually depleted gas tank, they will find new ways to create more work for themselves to find an edge against the competition.
It seems coaches aren’t satisfied until they feel they have completely exhausted themselves.
Most coaches were athletes themselves at some level so in order to make it through the insane hours and pressure, some coaches will find the early hours before the grind begins to get a workout. I being one of those coaches felt the workout (which was anywhere between 30-60 minutes) helped get my creative mind alert and active just before the day began. In my younger days I would begin the workout at 6am at the facility. Depending on the commute that meant a 5am wake up at the latest. As I got into my last 5-6 years, for some reason this workout began earlier and earlier. My final 3 years started with a workout at 4-4:30am. My alarm was set for 3am (crazy!).
After the workout, the rest of your schedule varied somewhat from team to team or more accurately Head Coach to Head Coach or Coordinator to Coordinator.
In most organizations there would be be a staff meeting to begin the day with either the HC or Coordinator at 7am on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday which are heavy work days. Monday varies because of travel or the time of Sunday’s game. Saturdays are a walkthrough, travel, and evening meetings. Sunday is the normal Gameday. I will describe in detail in later posts what each day of the week resembles.
On Tuesday and Wednesday which are the heaviest days for workload, the day would normally end between 10pm and 12am. If you happened to be one of the early risers you could be talking about an 18 hour day easily. Thursday is a little shorter, ending anywhere from 5pm-8pm depending on your boss. Friday would end between 4-7pm and most coaches looked at it as their family or date night. From purely a total hour standpoint you can see it is not for the weak of heart or for those expecting to eat dinner at home or see their kids off to bed for 7-8 months of the year.
On top of what seems like endless hours, there is the stress that comes with the pressure of performing well at your position. If you happen to be short on talent or just don’t meet the expectation level set by the Head Coach or Coordinator, you can find yourself fired no matter how hard you’ve worked.
The ironic aspect of life in the league as an assistant coach is it doesn’t matter if you are winning or losing. The Head Coach is most certainly evaluated on wins and losses but that is not the case for the position coach. It is one of the aspects about the league I believe is unfortunate because as much as it is a team game, this reality tears down the team building. Coaches with families have the added stress of leaving their home life to a single parent for 7 months. Single coaches sacrifice social life or relationship building for 7 months.
If you are looking for a job with high stress, long hours, insecurity and relocating often: then coaching professional football is right for you! But really any profession where you want to be the best there ever was, requires hard work and dedication. Go forth with lofty goals and set about achieving them. The hard work will be worth the effort.