Leading the Charge

The college and high school football seasons are already underway and pro football teams will play their first Sunday games this weekend. As the seasons move along, there is a lot of talk about what a complex game football is. There are many different parts that make up a team - offense, defense, special teams- that all have to be on the same page in order to succeed.

Making sure that all of these parts are working together is one of the toughest jobs in sports. It's a job that belongs to the head coach.

On the sidelines: Whether you watch a game on TV or are sitting in the stands, you'll see the head coach on the sideline, marching up and down the field along with the action. Usually, the coach is wearing a headset. This is so the coach can talk to assistant coaches stationed at other parts of the field. It is the coach's job to decide which play to run on offense and what type of defense to use. In order to make the right decision, the head coach will listen to the advice of the coaching staff.

Teamwork: In football, it's very important that all players know what is going on. A quarterback always needs to know where the receivers will be; lineman always need to know where the half back is going to run. The entire team has to know when the center snaps the ball so no one goes off sides. On defense, the players have to make sure every opposing player is covered. It's the coach's job to make sure that everybody does what they are supposed to do and work together as a team.

Patience: At all levels of football, coaches need to demonstrate patience. This is particularly true in youth leagues. Football is a complicated sport. It takes time to learn all the positions and plays. Coaches of young teams have to take the time to teach the sport to their players. In high school and college, football coaches have to teach incoming freshmen all of the team's plays. They also have to help them adjust to a new school and a new atmosphere. In the pros, many players change teams in the off-season and have to learn the new plays. In all of these situations, a coach must exhibit patience while individual players gel into a unified team.

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