Coach Greg Gaskins Q&A
Why did you decide to get into coaching after your playing career was over?
Coaching is something I’ve always wanted to do. My dad was a coach for many years, and he was my little league basketball coach growing up, so I just took coaching as something that was always in my blood. Once my playing career was over, I had played the sport for much of my life that I wanted to still be around it. And if I’m no longer playing, coaching is the best way I’ve found to stay around the sport that I love.
How did you find out about the D.C. Divas and come to coach for us?
I moved down to D.C. in 2012 and started coaching at Gonzaga High School. I was in my first year coaching at Gonzaga when the head coach there recommended me for the Divas’ job. I met with Coach Fischer and Eric Evans, the Divas’ offensive coordinator. I talked to them, and they thought I’d be a good fit on the staff, so I’ve been here ever since.
How is coaching women’s football different from coaching men?
It’s different in the fact that we actually have to do a lot more teaching with women. With guys – especially when you get to the high school level – there are a lot of things you take for granted as a coach when you coach men’s football. You expect that the players already know the basics of football – tackling, down and distance, what things are penalties, and so on. You expect them to know all of those things, so you can jump right into scheme. Because even if they haven’t been playing, most of them have at least watched a lot of football, so there are things we naturally expect them to know.
When you come to coach women, you have to realize that while some of these ladies have been playing football for ten or 15 years, for others, this is their first time ever playing a team sport. And on top of that, some of the rookies haven’t even really watched football before…they just tell us, “I wanted to play, so I came out!” But because they haven’t watched a lot of football, many of them start out without even a basic understanding of the fundamentals of the game. As a coach, that means that you really have to start with the basics – football 101. When they gain more experience, you can go from there.
What is your overall coaching philosophy? How would you like your players to play the game?
I always tell my players: Effort will beat talent any day. You can be the most talented person on the field, but if you’re not giving 100 percent effort, the person who is giving that effort will always win in the end. I also try to tell them that it’s not about the person they’re going up against. You need to focus on yourself first, because when you’re confident in your abilities and in what you’re doing, you know you can beat anyone who lines up in front of you. I try to instill the confidence in my players that no matter who lines up against them or no matter what situation they’re put in, they have the tools and the ability to be successful.