Paul Roos is a former AFL (Australian Football League) player and coach. He played a total of 356 games for Fitzroy and Sydney and was a two-time All-Australian captain. He also coached Sydney and Melbourne. Roos was the coach of the Sydney Swans in 2005 when they won their first premiership in 72 years. Roos is a member of the AFL Hall of Fame and currently works in the media.
When Roos finished his playing career after 16 years and 356 games (only 12 people have played more games) he sat down and made a list of 25 things “I liked and disliked about coaching and playing. I wanted to make sure I never forgot what it was like to be a player.” (Page 5)
The list became the basis for his coaching at both Sydney and Melbourne.
The secrets of the Roos method: 25 points to success
- Always remember to enjoy what you’re doing.
- Coach’s attitude will rub off on the players.
- If coach doesn’t appear happy/relaxed, players will adopt same mentality.
- Never lose sight of the fact it is a game of football.
- Coach’s job is to set strategies: team plans, team rules, team disciplines, specific instructions to players.
- Good communication skills.
- Treat people as you want to be treated yourself.
- Positive reinforcement to players.
- Players don’t mean to make mistakes – don’t go out to lose.
- 42 senior players – all different personalities, deal with each one individually to get the best out of him.
- Never drag a player for making a mistake.
- Don’t overuse interchange.
- Players go into a game with different mental approach.
- Enjoy training.
- Make players accountable for training, discipline, team plans – it is their team too.
- Weekly meetings with team leaders.
- Be specific at quarter, half, three-quarter time by re-addressing strategies – don’t just verbally abuse.
- Motivate players by being positive.
- After game don’t fly off the handle. If too emotional say nothing, wait until Monday.
- Surround yourself with coaches and personnel you know and respect.
- Be prepared to listen to advice from advisers.
- Keep training interesting and vary when necessary.
- Team bonding and camaraderie is important for a winning team.
- Make injured players feel as much a part of the team as possible (players don’t usually make up injuries).
- Training should be game-related.
Paul Roos, Here It Is: Coaching Leadership and Life; Viking, Penguin Random House, 2017, Pages 21-22.
This is a classic list manifesto. What stands out in reading his book is that he demonstrates and examples of each of the principles and how he used them throughout his coaching career.
The most interesting thing is the insight – to be a good coach, I need to remember what it’s like to be a player.
This applies in some many places. For instance:
- To be a good manager I need to remember what it’s like starting out in your career
- To be a good presenter I need to remember what it’s like to be an audience member
- To be a good writer I need to remember what it’s like to be a reader
I think most of us can apply that rule to our own work in some way.
Paul Roos podcast – he shares these lessons applied to work, life and business
Dr Alan Goldman – A Toxic Leader Manifesto (a great comparison – how many show up on both lists?)