Why arent great players great coaches?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Big Phil, Apr 14, 2007.

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  1. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    Yes I know this doesnt realte to everyone but just generally. Why do you think a great player doesnt make a great coach quite often? And vice versa, why do poor or marginal players quite often make great coaches? Here's some examples

    Scotty Bowman - never played an NHL game (he got wacked over the head to end his career early) he's the greatest coach ever

    Pat Burns - Never played an NHL game, great coach

    Pat Quinn - Okay but not great defenseman, an although the Cup has eluded him he's been a great coach

    Ted Nolan - He's been coach of the year

    Don Cherry - Love him or hate him he was a good coach who only played one NHL game

    On the flip side here's some great players that havent been memorable in suits

    Bill Gadsby - All-star defenseman had a poor coaching record

    Wayne Gretzky - Sure he hasnt had a lot to work with but he's had a couple years, just poor results so far

    Gerry Cheevers and Terry O'Reilly were great/very good players but no more than average coaches



    There are exceptions too. Toe Blake would have made the Hall of Fame even as just a coach not just a player. But in general why is it that the greats dont usually translate their success behind the bench? Is it because it's hard ot teach players things that came so naturally to them?
     
  2. Nalyd Psycho

    Nalyd Psycho Registered User

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    There is Toe Blake, one of the all-time great coachs and a former NHL MVP. Dick Irvin was a star in the western leagues and had a few good NHL seasons, Hap Day was one of the top 10 d-men of his day and coached a dynasty.

    But, one thing I notice is that the exceptions are old school. It seems star players have a tendancy to push their players to achieve the standards they played to. Larry Robinson is an example of a good coach who tends to burn out his players. So, it seems, in the player coach era, players make so-so coaches.
     
  3. pitseleh

    pitseleh Registered User

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    I think that's exactly it. Same thing with professors here at school. Generally, the brightest minds tend to be the worst teachers, since they don't get why people don't understand things. It came a lot easier to them, so it's difficult to see where people are getting tripped up on things.
     
  4. arrbez

    arrbez bad chi

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    Larry Robinson won a Championship as a coach, although I'm beginning to think a hamster could coach the devils without anyone noticing a difference.
     
  5. Melrose Munch

    Melrose Munch Registered User

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    My Dad and I were talking about this. It seems that great coaches seems to be able to get more discipline out of players, compared to great players, who try to be the players friends. It's like parenting.
     
  6. LyleOdelein

    LyleOdelein Registered User

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    The obvious answer is coaching and playing are two different jobs requiring differing skills and assets. This is like asking 'Why don't great d-men make great forwards?' or 'why don't great scouts make great GMs?' Many people don't have the variety of skills required to be in the elite of both professions.
     
  7. MXD

    MXD Original #4

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    Jacques Lemaire, even if you can argue with the fact he's considered a GREAT player (but if Terry O'Reilly is considered a great player, I don't know why Lemaire shouldn't) isn't exactly a bad coach.
     
  8. ES

    ES Registered User

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    In the recent times I think Lemaire could be only HHOF player who would make it as the coach as well. Probably Robinson but not too sure about it.
     
  9. seventieslord

    seventieslord Student Of The Game

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    Gretzky, not a good coach? Gretzky's a great coach!!! :D
     
  10. Canadarocks

    Canadarocks Registered User

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    I've heard that Scotty Bowman was actually quite a good player. Who knows what would have happened if he wasn't injured? By the way, why does it seem that it is the Montreal Canadiens greats that made the best coaches (Toe Blake, Larry Robinson, Jacques Lemaire)?
     
  11. pitseleh

    pitseleh Registered User

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    My guess would be they learned from the best. Blake played under Dick Irvin and Lemaire/Robinson under Bowman.
     
  12. VanIslander

    VanIslander Don't waste my time

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    There were some great player-coaches (dual role simultaneously) in the era before millionaires.

    The last of them may have been Butch Goring, who was assistant coach AND player for the Isles last two Stanley Cup championship seasons.
     
  13. Morris Wanchuk

    Morris Wanchuk .......

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    Terry O'reilly an average coach? He brought an underdogs bruins team to the finals in 1988 and in that same year beat the habs for the first time in 4 decades.

    If it wasnt for harry sinden's ability to burn through coaches he would have been behind the bruins bench for a while
     
  14. Speedshank

    Speedshank Registered User

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    True great players have the natural skill to be the best when playing the game...

    Natural skill will not make you a great coach...

    Players who have become successful coaches are players who had to work hard at the game but more importantly became students of the game.

    They're players who simply accept and adopt what the coaches preach. And they're players who go the next step and want to learn and understand.

    I think it's obvious which type of player becomes a successful coach!
     
  15. reckoning

    reckoning Registered User

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    It seems like goalies rarely become head coaches. Cheevers and Glen Hanlon are the only two I can think of.

    A lot of guys from that 70s Habs dynasty became coaches. Lemaire, Robinson, Gainey and Tremblay were NHL head coaches. Savard, Dryden, Houle and Risebrough were GMs. Shutt and LaPointe were assistant coaches, Jarvis coached in the AHL.

    In Don Cherry's book, he mentioned how so many of his teammates who played for Eddie Shore in Springfield went on to become coaches.

    As you said, they learn from the best.
     
  16. VanIslander

    VanIslander Don't waste my time

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    You somehow overlooked the most experienced coach in the NHL today: ex-Hab Jacques Laperriere, a quarter century as NHL assistant coach! and counting...
     
  17. XploD

    XploD Registered User

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    Good theory.
     
  18. Nalyd Psycho

    Nalyd Psycho Registered User

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    They also mutinied against him and got him removed from the team he owned...

    Truely, hockey's greatest *******.

    Brian Kilrea was on that team.
     
  19. seventieslord

    seventieslord Student Of The Game

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    What about Bryan Trottier? His short tenure as Rangers coach was BRUTAL.

    Just another in a long list.

    I like the argument that it's tough to be in the world's elite in both skill sets. Even though the skill sets are so intertwined.
     
  20. 12# Peter Bondra

    12# Peter Bondra Registered User

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    Well, he did win the Cup as an assistant coach.
     
  21. Wisent

    Wisent Registered User

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    I think that to be a great teacher has a completely different skill set that a great player needs to have. A part might be that things come natural to greats (although I don`t believe that is the case with all the greats) but to get people to understand what you are saying, to motivate them into doing things is something completely different from doing them. There is a reason why teachers need to take pedagogy classes in order to become teachers. Coaches need a similar skill. Actually, for me it is understandable that a coach can be someone who never played the game they teach but who understands the system.
     

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