Interview: Mott Gaymon - A Head Coach You Can't Outwork

Photo: Lukasz Skwiot
After he suffered a bad injury last year, Mott Gaymon came back to Poland as a full time coach. Now, this doesn't sound as exciting as one might think. What spices it up is that Mott not only came back as a 29 year old HC, but he led his team, Wroclaw Giants, straight to the Champions throne.

Pre-Championship analysis is HERE, and Super Final report is HERE.

My first year coaching was back in 2008., in France. I was with Caimans, a second division team. We had a great season - undefeated until the playoffs. I was a head coach of the juniors team, and we were only one W away from the National Championship. 

My first year in Poland, I played a SS and CB for the Devils. That was in 2010, when I actually won my first Championship as an import player. While being a player, I was also a defensive coordinator. They brought me in in the middle of the season and we took it from there. The next year, we went to the Championship, however we lost by one point.

Last year, I signed with the Giants. When I look back, I've been in Europe for quite some time.

PLFA did a great job of marketing the league. I think Poland is currently the best place for football, because Polish people don't really like soccer, and, their body type fits more for football. There are some really big guys out there!

I do feel there is a big gap between the leagues across Europe, especially if we compare, let's say Germany and Poland. I think we should focus more on developing the players at a young age. When I was in France, they had football for the kids of the 14-16 age. Germany has all these programs to get the kids involved with football at a very young age. 

With time and development of the Polish players, I feel we can get to the level that Germany has.

Photo: Lukasz Skwiot 
When I was with the Devils, they kinda didn't have the HC. Their HC was the DC who had to leave because of the health reasons. I took the DC position, and I kinda took over the role of being a HC and this was my first opportunity being a HC.

I wasn't really nervous, I just felt a sense of a countability to the guys. Trust is a big thing. It's hard to gain trust, and it's easy to lose it. I wanted to make sure to put the guys in the best position to be successful. That was my focus as a HC. I did feel nervous sometimes, but I leaned on my faith in God and kept working through it.

Last year, when I played for the Giants, I felt like I let them down when I got hurt. Once I came back this year as a head coach, I had a big team meeting with the guys. I knew they lost a player/coach/vocal leader last year, and I owed it to them this year. I was ready to do whatever it takes to make sure they are in a position to be champions.

Of course, it couldn't be a one way street. I can't be there coaching myself. They had to make that commitment to themselves and to their teammates that they are willing to do whatever it takes as well. 

Once someone is being late for practices - punishment is a whole lot of running. One thing we came up with is a players committee within the team that was allowed to discipline as well. I made sure to let them know that if the behaviour issues get to me - then they know what's going to happen, everybody is going to hate me because I'd make the whole team run. That kinda helped too.  

I think it was my work habits that got the guys to respect me. If I have to work 18 hours - whole day of watching film, practicing and watching film again - that's what I'm willing to do then. I think it's hard to disrespect the person that you know is willing to do whatever it takes to put you in the position to be successful. 

My players know that I'm a student of the game. I'm constantly trying to get better as a coach, as well as encourage them to get better as players. And, if I'm encouraging the players to get better and I'm not doing the same, then that's just hypocrite to me.

No one will outwork me. I pride myself on putting the work in. I know my team will be the most prepared team.

Photo: Miroslawa Lukaszek 
Eagles came out as winners and were the more physical team once we played them during the regular season. 

Right before the Championship, coaching staff came together, we watched pretty much every single game Eagles played during the season. From that we formated our game plan. From establishing the line of scrimmage to running the ball down the field. A great thing was that we had 2 weeks to prepare. 

It took us 2 days to go over film and come up with a plan. We had 10 days to implement it. Both guys and the coaches bought into it and we worked the best way we can to get the victory. And we did.

Having imports allows us to have position coaches as well. Everybody had a role outside playing the game. Having so many guys having input in game plan gives a whole new perspective in helping the whole team be successful.

My best football moment with the Wroclaw Giants has to be the game vs Gdynia. Everything that was supposed to come together - came together at that game. The game was a combination of the whole season and us playing the best football at the right time. I knew once we reach that level, we will be very tough to beat. It was a thing of beauty. To see the guys to come from where we started, to see them to get to that moment, and to know that we're ready for that moment - can't put a price tag on that!

My least favorite moment has to be losing to the Devils. Not to take anything from them, they're a very good team, but I felt we missed our opportunity, because we didn't come together at that moment. However, it ended up being the best thing for us, because we could address the issues and mistakes we made.

Photo: Lukasz Skwiot 
Second year is when things get better. Things become consistent. I told my team after the Championship - I don't believe we played our best football yet. I believe our best football is ahead of us.

If the offense, defense and special teams stay the same - then there's not a whole lot of learning, just fine tunning. Once you get that - good luck playing against us. 

I feel like we have a very talented team, but there's now a structure, a system to go along with that talent. And I think we will be very tough to beat. I won't say Championship, but, a good contender for one. 

The thing I love about Europe is that the guys are students. Anything you teach them is exactly what they're going to do. They will ask you a bunch of questions, so you have to know what you're teaching them. If you're doing it wrong - they'll know! Guys, keep working hard! Only hard work brings results! 

Mia Bajin