Einstein's Advice for Coaches

Posted by Tim Nash on Dec 19, 2018 10:01:54 PM

That Albert Einstein guy was pretty smart. If you ever have some time to kill, Google “Einstein Quotes,” and scroll through them.

Face it, anyone who says, “Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves,” has done some serious thinking.

Einstein is credited with a lot of quotes we can use in everyday life – like “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value” – but he also has some advice for coaches, believe it or not. Like many great athletes, he is, after all, known by just one name.

So here is some of Einstein’s advice for coaches.

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

This is a tough one for coaches to admit. It’s also difficult to recognize it in yourself. Coaches will know sooner or later if they have explained something in a way their players can comprehend. They will know immediately by the looks on the players faces if they understand or they are more confused than they were before you started talking. If your words are greeted with blank stares and open-mouthed gazes, they have no idea what you are talking about. Coaches have to find a simple way to get their points across, and if words aren’t working use a demonstration. Or perhaps, you need to take a step back and admit you don’t know the subject well enough to explain it. Another Einstein quote can help here: “The only source of knowledge is experience.

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”

The dreaded comfort zone, in my opinion, is the single biggest obstacle to improvement. Players who resist trying anything new aren’t learning. And yes, failure is a important part of learning. We have to let them fail and have conversations with them about failing.

Players afraid of trying something new, or afraid of failing never, add any new skills to their toolbox and are the same players at 15 they were at 11. The players who spend their spare time trying to master a technique are the ones who will progress, the ones who will increase their value.


Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.

When navigating a game, players are like GPS’s. They are logical enough to get from Point A to Point B and smart enough to identify the fastest route. Even if they encounter construction or traffic, they have the ability to re-route themselves. To a certain point, that is.

But when faced with multiple obstacles – like dead ends, long delays or road closures – it no longer matters what your GPS says. Imagination, creativity and out-of-the-box thinking is needed.

Unfortunately, for some reason, imagination and creativity are not the first things we use when solving problems. We rely on logic first. But if we encourage imaginative thinking in training or team-building exercises, we are training our players to come up with creative solutions to difficult problems. And we can encourage our players to solve the problem in a way which prevents them from ever encountering the same problem again.

Tell your players that Einstein also said, “Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them.”