Contrary to the belief of some, the coach’s responsibilities do not end with on the field solutions. He is also responsible for finding solutions for off the field questions as well.
By Malik Hall
Head Football Coach
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In football, as in many other professions, coaches are hired to solve problems. Some problems can be cultural, schematic, and or developmental. It’s the responsibility of the coach to generate answers for any problems that exist during games, practice, the off-season. Contrary to the belief of some, the coach’s responsibilities do not end with on the field solutions. He is also responsible for finding solutions for off the field questions as well.
Clinics can be a great source of information for coaches in regard to how they teach football schemes and techniques that are critical to the success of your program. That said, these professional development opportunities too often avoid talking about how we, as coaches, can grow in how we coach the person (athlete). The product can only be as strong as the person executing.
Here at Penn, we believe strongly in coaching the person, not the product. The person should always be valued higher than the product (i.e. wins and losses).
“Winning isn’t everything it’s the only thing.” by Vince Lombardi is one of the most famous quotes in athletics. A strong and definite quote from a men who revolutionized the game of football. It declares a view of, and what it means to, win. Not many coaches will ever argue against one of the greatest football coaches ever.
Consider this, if you can win over people how can you not win games?
I ask my children every day after school, “Did You Win Today”? I realize that it’s a human condition to want to win. It’s something that you don’t have to teach. Winning validates your work ethic and your ability to overcome obstacles. Who doesn’t want to be victorious in the heat of competition?
Winning is the only thing, because losing isn't fun, in fact losing most often creates a desire and yearning to win. Victory can also confirm that you’ve helped your players/team reach their full potential. John Wooden, another great coach (basketball), evaluated players based on the skill sets they brought to the game. Wooden evaluations were based on a player maximizing their innate skill set. That ultimately won him several NCAA national championships. Lombardi infuses winning as discipline, and Wooden coached his players to be true to their skills and attributes. Both philosophies resulted in wins; however, those wins were the result of winning over the players, community and fan base.
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- A breakdown of the “three levels of the sphere,” which presents self-goals, winning goals and team goals including the differentiation of each.
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I’m blessed and fortunate enough to have a career in football. I thank God for Saturday mornings. Before game time I have the same butterflies in my stomach as I did when playing. No longer playing, but still on a football field seems like a dream come true. My relationship with God has given me the perspective on my dream and my purpose behind my dream. I believe football has made me a better man, father, teacher, and Christian. Football has impacted me on so many levels, that it is my responsibility as a coach, mentor, and Christian to pay forward that impact.
Coaching players to tackle, blitz off the edge, or catch touchdowns are important concepts to a winning team. However, winning a person over will have more impact on players’ futures than any football technique you can teach. Over the years, I’ve realized the importance of coaches. I’ve had conversations with a player from a family of 6 who grew up living in a 1-bedroom apartment on how important it is that he is first in his family to attend college. I have consoled a star player as he tells you his mom was killed blocks from his house. And finally swelling with pride watching a player walk across the stage with a degree in hand. All of these things are much bigger than any football technique or play.
Some players rely on their coaches to be fathers, uncles, big brothers and “life” coaches. Where are you on your players crisis list? Are you number 1, last, or are you even on his or her radar during a crisis? I personally want to be in the top 3 people a player thinks about when faced with a crisis. It’s my hope that you realize the impact you have as a football coach. Football is just the vehicle to connect and impact players lives. T.E.A.C.H. (Trust. Empower. Appreciate. Compassion. Help.) is what keeps me focused on my purpose as a football coach.
Meet Coach Hall: On June 18, 2018, Bates College Director of Athletics Jason Fein announced the appointment of University of Pennsylvania assistant coach Malik Hall as the 20th head football coach in the program's 124-year history. Hall has served as defensive line coach at Penn since 2015, helping the Quakers win back-to-back Ivy League championships in 2015 and 2016. Prior to Penn, he held assistant coaching assignments at Wagner College, Fordham, Hofstra, Central Connecticut State, and his alma mater, the University of Massachusetts. Hall and his wife Ayesha are the proud parents of Malik and Kayah.