It’s Coach-Giving! Exploring the Strategy and Leadership Skills of an NFL Coach
Hear from Seahawks offensive coordinator Shane Waldron — son of Schwabe shareholder Jay Waldron — on the strategy and leadership it takes to be an NFL Coach
Shane Waldron, former assistant coach for the New England Patriots, the Washington Commanders, and the Los Angeles Rams, is the current offensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks and … a two-time Super Bowl champion!
Speed Round: 10 Questions with NFL Seahawks Offensive Coordinator
- What do you love most about football?
Building relationships is my favorite part of coaching. Every year, I get to work with a diverse group of people, and each team is unique. However, the bonds I form with these individuals often last a lifetime. This is what I cherish most about coaching and being a part of a team.
- How do you utilize the knowledge gained from player relationships to win games?
At our level, there is a business aspect to this game. Transactions occur every week and there are several factors to consider such as salaries and other related matters. It’s a relationship-based business. When you bond with those you work with and truly care for each other, you’re more likely to succeed as a team. Teams that compete together and have each other’s back on game day are better than a group of individuals only looking out for themselves in a free-agent world.
- What is the longest amount of time a quarterback takes to call a play in the huddle?
We aim to simplify plays as much as possible for the quarterback, as we understand the job is challenging. Complex plays are made clear and concise to reduce information overload.
- Are the headsets one-way communication?
Yes. It’s amazing how advanced the system has become. I have a button that allows me to communicate with all the quarterbacks on the field. However, when the shot clock hits 15 seconds, the communication cuts off and they have to rely on their own skills and visual communication.
- Why do so many players leave the Seahawks only to return after stints with other teams?
I firmly believe that the unwavering enthusiasm and team spirit promoted by Coach Carroll are the primary reasons for our consistent success. Our philosophy is well-established and valued by the team. While some players may depart for better prospects, many players have returned, and a significant factor in their decision has been our culture.
- You first began working for Bill Belichick and went on to work with other well-known coaches. What characteristics do successful people have, and how can you adopt them?
I’ve worked under various coaches, each with a unique style. From Belichick’s strictness to McVay’s laid-back style to Carroll’s supportiveness, I’ve learned that there are many ways to be successful. I believe in being authentic and developing my own leadership style by taking different aspects from each coach. Belichick taught me to pay attention to detail, McVay emphasized the importance of relationships and emotional intelligence, and Carroll showed me the significance of a positive outlook and enthusiasm. I learn from every coach and assistant, taking what resonates with me. My goal is to develop an authentic leadership style.
- Can you share some insights on how you make quick decisions during play-calls, taking into account the players’ headspace and performance?
As a coach, it’s crucial to make calculated decisions and aim for the best outcome. Preparation builds confidence, but in-game situations can be unpredictable, and adjusting and adapting on the fly is essential. Knowing your players and understanding their strengths and weaknesses is key, and learning from every scenario is important. In our recent game against the Browns, we trusted our preparation and relied on our instincts, and everything worked out in our favor.
- How are you planning to incorporate technology into your training and gameplay?
I believe it’s important to have a forward-thinking approach and remain open to all the analytical opportunities that come our way. Tech can enhance decision-making and improve lives, but we must consider usefulness and unpredictable human factors by gathering information and examining human elements before making decisions.
- When you arrived in Seattle, what was the first play you added to the playbook?
We focused on installing our zone running game as the core of our offense. We built upon this foundation with other plays that complemented it, gaining enough experience to execute it confidently in any scenario.
- If you could give advice to young Seahawks fans aspiring to play in the NFL, what would it be?
I believe that to achieve your goals, whether it is to play in the NFL or work in any other field, you must embrace the process. Enjoy the journey, work hard, and good things will come. However, there will be imperfections along the way. It’s important to find the right balance of pushing yourself without overdoing it. For instance, as a parent, it’s crucial to support your child’s dreams while teaching them the value of effort and commitment. By doing so, you can ensure positive results.
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