PROVO, Utah– Coaching a group of athletes in their late teens and early twenties can’t be an easy task, especially when there are around 100 of them and everyone is completely different. It takes a special person to be a college football head coach and even more so at BYU.
The vast majority of players are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and some are not, and even within these groups, each player has their own unique personality, lifestyle, and even own football goals.
For BYU head coach Kalani Sitake and his team, monitoring this group of young men is a difficult task, and every college football coach has their own way of motivating players to get the most out of their group.
Former NBA and Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson is infamous for how he would motivate players on the team, ranging from Hall of Famers like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O ‘Neal and Scottie Pippen; plus the last guy on the bench who might have a short stint with the team. He always had a message for every player and his success was there with 11 NBA championships as a coach.
During this week’s edition of The Players Club with BYU quarterback Jaren Hall discussed how Sitake’s message to his players isn’t always a cookie-cutter sentiment, but is a unique massage for what the team needs to hear at any given time.
“The main thing about Kalani this year is how every time he talks to us – anytime during or after a game – he tailors it to what we need in the moment,” Hall said. “It could be how we feel emotionally, after the game or what we need to hear. It’s never just a ra-ra thing every time a lot of trainers do to pump you up.
This style of coaching is a little different from the norm. There are still trainers that look like drill sergeants and their way or the highway, but that style is dying out because it doesn’t work as well as it used to. There are those who are considered ‘player coaches’ and who are almost buddies or overly friendly with their players whom they must direct and motivate.
From Hall’s comments, it seems like Sitake is fair with his players and somewhat of a combination of those styles in his motivational tactics.
“He is real with us. If we just had a bad game, he’ll tell us not to be too hard on ourselves, you’re human, and it’s okay if we make a mistake to look inside yourselves.” , Hall added. “Or if you had a really good game, he’s really good at humbling us and bringing us down quickly and helping us understand where all our strength comes from and how to be humble.
“He was so composed of what we need to hear and not necessarily what he wants to tell us. It meant a lot and it got the best out of all of our guys.
This type of coaching tactic can be great for players to hear what they need to hear and not just for a head coach to jump in and maybe give a cliched motivational speech. Sitake truly understands the players and the type of program BYU strives to be and after six years he is finding his training rhythm and taking this program to great heights.
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