Assessment of Coach Boone’s Style of Leading

Styles of Coaching

Remember the Titans:

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The Assessment of Coach Boone’s Style of Leading

Remember the Titans, a film based on real events, is set against the historical backdrop of the integration of African-Americans into Caucasian only public schools. The film explores the tensions between Whites and Blacks from a recently desegregated high school football team, with a newly appointed black coach and a white assistant coach. The tensions reach a climax when the team goes to a summer football camp where players frequently clashed because of race, including conflicts between the black team captain and the white team captain occur. Coach Boone, the head coach, forces them into rigorous athletic training where they are forced to work with each other in order to be successful. At the start of football camp, Coach Boone, in an effort to bring the team closer together and to confront the racial barrier that separated them- forced the team members out of their comfort zone by assigning camp roommates cross-race. This required the teammates to get to know one another and overcome whatever stereotypes and prejudices that they had against one another. A pivotal moment is reached at football camp when Gerry Bertier, the white football captain confronts another white player on his team for not blocking a black player following a conversation with Julius Campbell, the black captain. By confronting a player of his “own kind,” Bertier sets an example that everyone is equal on the field and that because a player is of a different race, it does not mean that they are worth not protecting on the field- setting an example and precedence to the rest of this teammates. Finally, there was also a scene in which the two captains call a meeting of the entire team and demand that they overcome their barriers with each other and work as one team as they did during football camp, and challenge the external influences that being back in their divided school and town had on them.

Therapeutic Implications

The therapeutic implications of Coach Boone’s coaching style are observed throughout the movie and prove to have a positive impact on the team overall. The specific scenes as mentioned above including forcing roommates across racial barriers during camp and also allowing the captain to yell at fellow players was allowed by the Coach because he realized the value that it would have to the team dynamic overall. Coach Boone utilized the isolation of the team during football camp in an effort to make them build connections with each other. By forcing the team members out of their comfort zone, it breaks down the initial barriers that are separating these two groups. The skill being instilled in the team is important on two levels- to instill solidarity in the team and breaking down barriers and by serving as a macrocosm of what these team members will encounter over the course of their lives. Barriers will always exist among people, for whatever reason, but by pushing the boundaries and thinking outside the “bubble” that some of these team members exist and think in, the Coach is instilling lifelong skills in these players. Additionally, another important scene is when the white captain yells at his teammate of the same race because he failed to block his black teammate in practice. Though the captain was rough on his teammate, the coach allows the emotional outburst and tirade continue as the team watches. By allowing this to continue, the Coach allows the captain to become an example and emerge as a leader of how the team should be operating- that all races are equal and that regardless of the color of their skin, a teammate should be protected. The technique that is being taught here is to make fellow peers and teammates become role models. It is a different experience being taught by someone who is older and has more experiences, but when an individual sees someone else their own age that has similar life experiences, they are more likely to emulate it.

Personal/Professional Implications

Through his many meticulously chosen actions and decisions, Coach Boone has proved to be an effective leader under un-traditional circumstances. Boone mentions at one point in the film, “I think this is a very good time for prayer and reflection,” a very powerful yet subtle statement. The implications of this statement on a professional level include his desire to be fair and to make decisions and take actions where no side is short changed and everyone’s opinions, to the best of his ability are heard. Reflection is key in any leadership or coaching position as it encourages constant adjustments and attempts to try to make something better and more effective. To that end, it helps the coaching team work together and the team work together both on and off the field. Furthermore, the personal implications of Boone’s statements are substantial. Prayer and reflection connect to players on both a spiritual and cognitive level. By appealing on a very deep personal level, it allows the players to become closely aligned to the moment and ultimately, the teammates and staff that they are sharing the moment with. It seems that the moment is no longer just their own individual moment, but rather a team moment- where everyone is sharing the moment on the same level.

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