Coaches Corner: Andy Towers

By Andy Towers

I just came home from Chicago, where we played our Week 3 games of this inaugural season in the PLL, and outside of being asked “how’s it going?” the question that has surfaced the most has been “what’s it like to coach the best players in the world?”

Frankly, this question should really be “what’s it been like to work with and alongside the best players in the world?”

My answer is relatively the same every time. First, I respond by saying that ‘coaching’ players in the PLL is a totally different experience than any other coaching ‘job’ that I’ve ever had.

The similarity is that I’m still trying to help our team win games within the framework of the rules. That has been a constant for me ever since I got into coaching, whether it’s been at the youth, high school, or collegiate levels, boys or girls. All of those respective challenges required putting together practice plans to work on improving our respective group’s skill set (stick work, stickhandling, ground ball play, shooting), situational game sense/IQ, (schemes/plans for each situation within the game), and awareness of our team’s intangibles (team work ethic, effort, unity, toughness, durability, unselfishness, etc.) in hopes that we got a little better in each area at every practice and ideally reached our potential as a group down the stretch of the season when it mattered most, in the playoffs. While each group has been unique in its own way, these three areas have always been where we focused our energies to improve.

So, how is coaching in the PLL different than the other coaching challenges that I’ve had? For me, it’s easily the fact that the players in the PLL are simply obsessed with reaching their ultimate potential as players, and the derivative of that dynamic is that they’ve simplified our jobs as coaches in the process.

Imagine coaching people that you don’t have to encourage to ‘work hard’ on their respective skill set development – these guys have worked tirelessly on obtaining a total and complete skill set for years, yet continue to work tirelessly so ‘they don’t get passed’ by others in the league that want ‘their spots’ on the game day roster.

Imagine working with guys that already possess an unbelievably high understanding of the game schematically, so you don’t have to ‘sell’ them on the schemes that you’re putting in. Instead, these guys take on an immediate sense of ownership and hold each other accountable for execution in its entirely. Does it get any better than that for a coaching staff?

Lastly, imagine being part of practices and games where as coaches, you don’t have to ask your guys to ‘run hard, work hard, be tough, stay resilient, get ground balls, make the extra pass, etc. because they ALL play that way, ALL of the time. These guys seemingly NEVER take a rep off – never. That’s WHY they’ve reached this level – they’re professionals.

So, honestly, I don’t really feel that I’m ‘coaching’ in the PLL as much as I’m really ‘consulting’ in the PLL. I don’t have to coach skill set development or perpetual intangible awareness. The players check those boxes on their own (they’re pros). My staff and I really just introduce scheme support and make roster decisions, that’s essentially what we do. We try to help them win together, and part of that is also knowing when to stay out of the way so they can do what they do, better than everyone else on the planet!

“'AOS on 3…..”

“1-2-3-'AOS!”

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