Tavern Talk: A Lesson in Composure - by Mike Lombardi

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Tavern Talk: A Lesson in Composure - by Mike Lombardi
(Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)

National Football Post

Main Entry: com•po•sure
Function: noun
Date: 1647
: a calmness or repose especially of mind, bearing, or appearance : self-possession

Here at the Post, we don’t offer English classes, but we always talk leadership and ways to manage people.

Now, I know not everyone who reads this site watches the Kansas City Chiefs and based on last year, why should you? But if you’ve never seen how emotionally out of control Todd Haley, their new head coach, gets when something goes wrong, tune in to one of their games. It will happen before the end of the first quarter. He doesn’t need a series of events to make him snap; all it takes is one bad play.

Todd Haley's frustrations have been visible all season. How will he react when his team takes on the entire NFC East in the next four weeks?

After watching him for two weeks, I’m worried about his safety. He’s liable to snap one time too often at the wrong player and have that player go all Latrell Sprewell on him.

It’s one thing to coach with passion; it’s another to lose your composure. With the next four games all against NFC East teams, it’s possible the Chiefs will lose all four. If that happens, the tension will mount and criticism will not be tolerated or handled the same way as when things are going well. Losing has a way of putting people on edge, and when a coach is out of control, it might be enough to send someone spiraling out of control.

I believe a team takes on the personality of its head coach—good, bad, calm, or nervous, serious or indifferent. The manner in which the head coach conducts business is the way the players will conduct their own business with each other.

Professional football is not high school. Players are adults and should be treated in a respectful manner. The players do need to be coached, but it needs to be done respectfully, in a way that allows teaching to occur. If all you do is yell, you’ll never be taken seriously.

I have not been in the locker room, nor have I talked to Chief players. Maybe during the week Haley does keep his composure, and maybe be does teach in a calm, respectful manner. But when the bullets are flying and the game is on the line, clear and precise thought requires a calmness and composure. It takes poise to think smart.

I often compare the NFL to chess in that it’s a thinking man’s game. Have you ever seen champion chess players go crazy after making a wrong move? No, because they need to concentrate on the next move, the next thought, the next idea.

I really hope Haley can find his inner peace on Sunday. His team plays hard, and it’s been competitive in both games. But for his (and their) long-term success, he needs to calm down.

Serenity now!

Follow me on Twitter: michaelombardi


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