Netflix’s The Playbook: Jill Ellis’ Coaching Rules for Sports

Netflix’s new docuseries The Playbook: A Coaches Rules for Life shares tips and coaching rules from some of the world’s greatest sports coaches. One of them is Jill Ellis, the U.S. women’s national soccer team coach. She coached the team to win the World Cup in 2015 and 2019. Ellis had the unique opportunity of adopting the team when they were sitting at #1, and embracing the challenge of keeping them at the top of their game year after year.

Here are Jill Ellis’ coaching rules for life:

1. Mountain tops are small and the air is thin

Ellis told the team that “the top of the mountain is rented space, not one to dwell on”. She firmly believes in sharing your success and owning your failure. It’s important to know that success is not resting on your laurels, someone is always gunning for your spot. Don’t take advantage of it, but continue to build upon it. 

2. Hold fast. Stay true.

When you’re not winning, people start questioning each decision you make. Jill relates this to a story from a Navy Seal. Navy Seals’ mantra in tough situations is ‘Hold Fast, Stay True’. The origins come from an old storm story, where sailors had to hold onto something connected, tied down to a deck. And the person at the wheel had to stay true to the direction, despite not being able to see the stars. 

Coaching the US team is no different. Suddenly, there’s a moment where everyone knows the tough decisions have paid off and it comes together – the faith at that point in one another and the belief in the coach takes the team to the next level.

3. Risk is opportunity

Jill recalls her risk-taking when she decided to become a soccer coach. She knew she was passionate about the sport, but couldn’t beat the stigma around it not being a viable career. Her passion led to taking that risk and it paid off tenfold.

4. Be true to yourself

Jill has always kept her professional and personal life separate. She didn’t want her being gay to affect the teams performance, or give her opponents something to hold against her. When Jill and her partner adopted a little girl – everything changed. She didn’t want her daughter to live in the shadows like she did. Jill decided to be true to herself and tell the team everything – and it brought them closer.

5. If you want to be heard, make a statement

Winning is a long journey, but it definitely makes a statement. While it may take time, it’s worth it in the end, and it’s often the only way to get heard and be noticed. Make that statement and it will allow you to demand respect and prestige. 

For more coaching rules from Doc Rivers, Dawn Staley, Patrick Mouratoglou and José Mourinho, visit out blog.

 

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