The Art Of Coaching: Molding Talent Into Champions The Bobby Cox Way

Kyle HuguesContributor IMarch 19, 2010

Intuition, intelligence, respect, and interpersonal relationship skills make up the character of the game's greatest skippers. What separates a common manager and a winning guru?

Bobby Cox of the Atlanta Braves, Joe Torre of The Los Angeles Dodgers, and Tony La Russa of the St. Louis Cardinals are perfect examples of what differentiates a club-house full of talent, to a unified team, striving to reach a common goal.

It must not be easy, having many different personalities, egos, and common disputes raging through the room. On a equal plane, the task of earning the respect and trust of those players is demanding.

The ebb and flow of the game takes the utmost concentration alone. Then there is knowing your team, the game's situation, and an individual's ability to help the team succeed.

Behind the scenes and the reports of the media, occurrences take place in which as the leader of team, a manager must take proper action.

During the course of an entire year, players are bound to be rubbed the wrong way by managerial decisions. Not because of a personal vendetta but rather a proper perspective of the situation and it's possible outcome.

When a team goes bad for a few games, the team is discredited, when it is over a long period of time that struggles continue, it is the manager that catches the heat.

That is why it is astounding to know that a man like Bobby Cox has managed in the same organization for twenty consecutive years.

Players, colleagues, and opponents all share that mutual respect for a man that clearly knows baseball and who has a proud love of the game.

Connecting with each individual on a team, and allowing them to speak their minds is essential.

What makes a coach great is the ability to sit with that player and explain in a respectful manner how he can get better and the steps it will take to get to that point. This is how players reach their maximum potential.

The process does not happen overnight, more like a over a few years. Keeping that bond with your team is the key to success. Trusting players in tight situations and essentially becoming their biggest fan (and toughest critic) builds both credibility and respect.

Understanding, patience, persistence, and doses of constructive criticism define how a coach will fare.

There are different degrees of these traits and only the best know how to apply them at the right times.