Netflix’s new docuseries, “The Playbook: A Coach’s Rules for Life,” provides a new perspective with behind-the-scenes views from five of the biggest coaching names in athletics.
“The Playbook,” a five-episode original docuseries produced by LeBron James and Maverick Carter, was released Tuesday on Netflix. The series features 30-minute episodes that profile the highs and lows of the coaches’ careers. The coaches, Patrick Mouratoglou, Serena Williams’ coach; Jill Ellis, U.S. women’s national soccer coach; Dawn Staley, American basketball star and coach; and Doc Rivers, head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers, provide a motivational and often overlooked insight to what it’s like to support the world’s highest levels of athleticism.
In episode one, Rivers sits down for a moving interview and discusses his accomplishments as a coach for both the Boston Celtics and the Clippers. The episode features game highlights and shots of Rivers’ most critical coaching moments. With postgame interviews from players as well as one-on-one time with Rivers, the episode flawlessly captures the essence of his legacy in Boston and his persistence through challenges throughout his career.
In the second and third episodes, soccer coaches Ellis and José Mourhino, manager of Tottenham Hotspur F.C., discuss what it’s like to build a championship-winning team from the ground up. These two perfectly put into words the decisions one has to make as both a coach and a player to reach peak success.
The series does an exceptional job resonating with viewers by including interviews with Ellis’ parents and incorporating memories and photos from her early childhood. Ellis takes us through the journey of her life — starting as a young girl moving to America from the United Kingdom — and details the obstacles throughout her early life that expanded into her career. The episode ends with an emotional recap of Ellis’ accomplishments, including her two World Cups as well as her progression toward the equal pay movement.
In the penultimate episode, four-time coach of the year winner Mouratoglou discusses his success as a coach and the rules he implemented to help famous tennis stars such as Williams. Mouratoglou highlights his journey from a quiet, observant child to a successful, encouraging coach. He emphasizes that he is never afraid to tell his athletes what they need to hear and his confidence enhances his athletes’ confidence, thus propelling them to success.
The series ends on a powerful note, leaving viewers motivated and inspired. Staley, head coach of the University of South Carolina women’s basketball team, said she built her entire career on her confidence, starting when she stood up to the older kids at the local basketball courts as a child. Staley sheds light on how her confidence and perseverance helped an underappreciated team climb the standings.
Throughout the series, each of these coaches discuss the adversities they needed to overcome in order to succeed. They provide their “rules of the playbook,” which are sure to provide a favorable outcome if followed. Whether it’s a championship ring or a weight lifted off your shoulders, these coaches teach viewers that through hard work and persistence there will always be some sort of reward for conquering your battles.
Although these are some of the most influential and successful coaches we have today, it would be nice to see a more diverse group of sports included in the series. With two basketball coaches and two soccer coaches, “The Playbook” could stand to incorporate more coaches from a wider variety of sports. This addition would reach a broader audience, thus growing the series platform. In the near future, I do hope to see a second season with this change made.
Despite the lack of variety in sports choice, “The Playbook” is a well-crafted docuseries that gives insight to some of the most inspirational names in sports as well as their strategies for creating success.