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What Coaching Kids Football Taught Me About Running An Agency

As the founder and CEO of DSM, a marketing agency in Bergen County, I’m typically pressed for time. However, I’ve carved out enough time over the past years to serve my community as a youth football coach. I’ve always wanted to coach kids in the context of athletics but I didn’t anticipate that doing so would actually help me run my agency.

I’m proud to say that I’ve been coaching youth football for eight years. Most of my players are in the 5th and 6th grades and participate in the Wyckoff Junior Program. Last year, my brother-in-law, Josh, actually took over the Junior Program and requested that I return to coaching after a three year hiatus during which I helped to raise my children, Olivia and Luca. When my third child is born this March, I’ll step aside and once again return to Daddy duties. Yet my time as a youth football coach has shaped me both personally and professionally.

The Evolution Of The Individual

Believe it or not, there are significant parallels between youth football coaching and managing a marketing agency in north Jersey. A large part of the reason why I enjoy my time as a coach was that I could watch the kids grow throughout the course of a football season.

Football is a difficult game to learn as it has a considerable amount of strategy, numerous complex rules and a whole lot of deception aimed at fooling the opponent. When I see one of my kids “get it” and finally round the game’s mental corner, I feel a wonderful sense of fulfillment. It’s quite motivational and it has certainly bled into my professional life as a leader and teammate of grown adults.

Team First

Football is all about sacrificing for the team and that is a mantra that more businesses should adopt. I’ve tried my best to stress the importance of self-sacrifice for the greater good to my players on the football field and my teammates at work.

Wyckoff coaches constantly remind our youngsters that the league’s theme is “We and Us”, meaning that everyone needs to keep their self-interest in check. I’ve found that imparting the same message in the professional realm has served my agency quite well. When you can persuade employees to put the organization’s collective interest ahead of self-interest, you obtain spectacular results.

The Importance Of Patience

Youth football has taught me the value of patience as a coach, a father and as a leader in the corporate realm. I’m proud to say that I’ve been blessed with a decent amount of athleticism and that I picked up the fundamentals of sports with ease.

When I first started coaching, I was challenged by some players because many of them didn’t have an understanding of the fundamentals of football. I invested a lot of time teaching them the basics and trying to get them to develop a passion for football. This process really tested my patience. I am a naturally competitive person, so it was difficult for me to teach these kids that the game of football is more about having fun than it is about blowing out an opponent.

My newfound patience directly translated to my leadership role at DSM. It’s helped me learn that enjoying the ups and downs of the journey is oftentimes more satisfying than actually reaching the destination. It’s also helped me understand that people are motivated by different things and that one’s willingness to cooperate with others is much more important than his competitive drive. This team-centric ethos is now central to both my youth football team and DSM’s core principles.

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