"This is why coaches are crazy. They have to be."
In sports, everyone believes themselves to be an expert. Whether from the sidelines, the pull-out bleachers, or the comfort of your living room couch, every fan feels they could do the job better.
Amidst the slew of self-proclaimed know-it-alls is a small number of elite coaches who have a track record to back up the claim. They've grown to dominate their respective fields, breathing life into their teams as they rise above the challenge and prove that nothing beats hard work and determination.
The Playbook offers five successful coaches, from different walks of life, the opportunity to open up about their philosophies, both on and off the court/field. The first season, which consists of five episodes, allows each coach a platform to revisit the decisions that helped shape their career and the journey that transformed them into one of today's industry leaders.
In traditional fashion, each segment focuses on a single coach, allowing their story to take center stage as they lay out their rules for life. Interestingly, each episode features a single interview, that of its main subject. The entire series concentrates on our leaders, and it never interrupts their retelling, only occasionally interjecting game and news clips to further the larger narrative.
Though an unusual approach, the style works, permitting the series to remain laser-focused. We learn core fundamentals from each coach as they recount their upbringing, history, and ultimate rise within their chosen field. Here they are permitted to speak openly as they tell their story in their own words.
This season's subjects include LA Clippers' Doc Rivers, South Caroline's Dawn Staley, two-time FIFA World Cup-winning Jill Ellis, Premiere League's José Mourinho, and Serena Williams' famed instructor Patrick Mouratoglou. Together, they offer various perspectives, each giving us different (though undoubtfully relatable) take on what is required to be a champion. Ultimately everyone carries the same mindset; it's the follow-through that is personalized.
For sports fans, The Playbook is an exciting look into the minds of some of today's most prominent leaders. Their fight and determination are on full display, even if each moment doesn't get the time to mature and fully develop. Listening to coaches discuss their lives, showcasing more of their personalities as they attempt to connect and inspire their fans, is an absolute treat. To this, the series succeeds.
But within the sports realm, there lies a plethora of qualified leaders, and this season doesn't diversify itself enough. Two basketball and soccer coaches are featured, yet none from baseball, softball, football, or hockey. It's hard to get a fully encompassing viewpoint when some of the most respected professionals find themselves on the sideline, a fact that would cause any coach to cry foul.
*This series is streaming globally on Netflix. All six episodes were reviewed.