The Importance of understanding a player: A lesson from the movie ‘Blind Side.’


The movie ‘Blind Side’ became famous for so many reasons. Whilst the movie is inspirational to everyone who wants to but lacks motivation to follow their dreams, it also teaches one how much of a difference understanding and caring can make in a person’s life. While it beautifully portrays the biopic of Michael Oher, equally prominent is the character of his adoptive mother Leigh Anne Tuohy. It is a phenomenal movie to watch, especially for coaches and parents, as it gives them an important insight about their blind side; the failure to understand the players in many circumstances.

One of the biggest challenges that a sports coach faces today boils down to understanding a player’s mindset and thinking. This is not a challenge that Michael’s coach faced alone; it is a common issue that many coaches face and struggle to overcome. Michael’s story is based on a sportsman’s resilience, determination, and talent, but most importantly the basic guidance and love given by the adoptive family, which creates a world of difference.

Like any good coach, Michael’s coach identifies his talent, and knows exactly where to place him within the team, and how to train him on the blocking technique. As a coach, he understands the importance of the role and how effective Michael would be protecting the quarterback. But he fails to communicate it to Michael in a way effective enough to make him understand the importance of his role. The most significant scene of the movie is where the coach yells at Michael aggressively despite the best intentions, thereby upsetting Michael and confusing him as to how to go about his game. He is not successful in understanding the player, which makes it difficult for him to execute his strategy.

That is when Michael’s adoptive mother intervenes, walking onto the grounds and trying to make Michael understand the importance of his role. She explains to Michael how important his role is to the team, like how important his role is within the family. She makes him understand this by asking him to protect his quarterback in the same way that he would protect his family; to think of his team as his family and guard them like he would his family. Sandra Bullock, who plays the role of Michael’s adoptive mom Leigh Anne Tuohy very successfully, resonates with him. She understands the game, understands the role, and most importantly, understands Michael. She walks out of the field telling the coach ‘You should really get to know your players’.

The difference between the coach and Tuohy is simple; while the coach fails to understand how to communicate with Michael, Tuohy understands Michael and knows exactly how to communicate with him. This is not an issue faced only by Michael’s coach; many coaches find it challenging to understand the players’ individual personalities, and how it motivates them.