Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Archive for October, 2010

What are you talking about?

Posted by admin October - 26 - 2010 - Tuesday ADD COMMENTS

Note: after failing in business, Paul Gavin attended an auction of his own company. He was down but he wasn’t out! With his last $750 he bought back the department which later became— Motorola! How’s that for a comeback story?

Whenever we face new challenges like a losing streak, a bad season, a job change or even starting a new relationship, our old programming (our way of thinking and “seeing” things”) kicks in and “tells” us we’re not equal to the task. LOOK OUT!!! Even the Bible is clear about our talking: “Those who are careful about what they say protect their lives… whoever speaks without thinking will be ruined” (Proverbs 13:3 NCV).

The wonderful thing about being the person that God created you to be, is that He pre-prgrammed you to handle new situations— to change and grow. Coaches: don’t build a case against yourself by listening to old voices without or within… or speaking words to yourself that undermine your self-confidence.

I always ask my players: “Who do you talk with and listen to more than any one single person throughout the day?!” The answer? “YOU!” You are that person who talks to you more than anyone else. So, it stands to reason that the messages you are conveying in your own mind are going to have more impact than anyone else’s.

Doing something you’ve never done before usually involves an anxiety-induced learning curve that follows along these lines: “There’s no way I can do this… I suppose I can try… I’m doing it, but not very well… I’m still doing it but I’m scared… I’m doing better… Oops, I made a mistake— guess I can’t do this after all… Maybe I’ll try again… I’m not doing much better this time… I’ll give it one more shot… Hey, I’m doing better… in fact, I’m doing pretty good… I can do this!!!”

Why waste all that time talking yourself out of doing something. Dive in confidently…. plow ahead. Don’t stop till you reach the top. And, please… stop listening to the “Nay-sayer” in your own head!

The Importance of Small Things

Posted by admin October - 14 - 2010 - Thursday ADD COMMENTS

Have you ever gone to a restaurant with someone whose meal cost $8, and watched them struggle over the tip? They have $2 in change, and they know that leaving just $1 might be thought of as stingy. Yet, do they leave $2? Not on your life! That would be too much. Instead they’ll waste 10 mniutes getting change for that second dollar so they can leave $1.50 tip and save themselves 50 cents… rather than “sowing generously” and leaving a little extra.

What would have happened if they’d left the full $2? They would have made the waiter or waitress’s day! Fifty cents may not seem like much… but the message that goes along with it can mean the world to someone. It says, “Thanks, you did a great job. I appreciate you. You’re valuable.” What an opportunity. Small acts of kindness set the tone for the day.

I know this to be true… I saw it today. We won a blow-out yesterday. We were so far ahead that they had a running clock for the entire 4th quarter. Our coaches tried very hard to get all of our players into the game… for at least a play or two. We had 2 young guys waiting on the sideline (who hadn’t been in yet) ready to run onto the field as soon as the play was blown dead. Just as we sent them on, the white hat blew his whistle, held up the ball and announced that the game was over. Those 2 boys were totally deflated. By happenstance (or the Lord moving in my life!) I bumped into one of the boys today as he was walking to class. I took his arm and pulled him over to the side…. looked in his face and said, “Michael, I am soooooooo sorry about yesterday— not being able to get you into the game. I will be sure that next game, you are the first one of the subs that we get in. OK?”

“Thanks Coach,” is all he said… and walked away. Later in the day, one of his teachers grabbed me and exclaimed, “Lew, I don’t know what you said to Michael earlier… but I overheard him in class telling his buddies that ‘Coach J talked to me… with nobody else around!'”

It wasn’t WHAT I said that mattered… it was that I took the time to single him out and give him some special attention!

My question to you, Coach, is: When was the last time that you pulled that “scrub” aside and thanked him for his effort or his positive attitude? Just to let him know that HE is significant to you!—that you know who he is! You can make a kid’s day just by taking a moment to pay him that “2 dollar tip.” and it doesn’t cost you a thing. And, guys… you WILL be blessed!

Emotion and Adrenalin

Posted by admin October - 11 - 2010 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

This will be short because I’m tired. We played a make-up game previously scheduled for 2 weeks ago during “monsoon season” here in Tidewater Virginia. The game was against our arch rival. You think those of you who coach high school kids have some interesting kids to deal with?!!! Welllllllllllllll… try middle school kids. Here’s a good example. Two days before our opener, we brought out the helmet “decorations” and had each player apply his own helmet stripes and decals. We cleaned them up and they looked real nice for the game. One kid missed practice that Monday. He walked into the coaches office on Tuesday and announced that he did not get his new helmet. One of the assistants asked him to explain. He said, “I wasn’t here yesterday and I did not get my game helmet.” We’re looking like he’s crazy! He can tell we don’t get it so he states, “The game helmets… the new ones… like everybody else got yesterday!” We just about fell out of our chairs trying to keep from laughing out loud!

These same kids were so wired up before the BIG rivalry game today, that I couldn’t find anything to say or do to calm them down. All I know is: by halftime, some of our kids were so drained that they had “0” left in their tank! They were playing like zombies.

One of my mentors in coaching, Jerry Carter, once told me that you need to “sell” your kids on the idea (especially before a BIG game) that whooping and hollering and lots of emotion is NOT going to win the game. In fact, quite the opposite. If you will just go out and play with high intensity; hang with the opponent till halftime; that the other team will “run out of gas” by halftime. All the adrenalin promoted by the emtional high is going to leave the body’s systems. The result is that “2 pm rundown feeling” that one of those energy drinks is trying to sell in their commercials.

Now you can go out the second half and take it to them. Neither too high or too low. Stay focused. Play with intersity. It minimizes mistakes and helps you win games in the second half.

Chicken or Eagle??

Posted by admin October - 4 - 2010 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

One day a boy climbing in the mountains found an eagle’s nest with an egg in it. When he got home he put it under a hen along with her other eggs. When the eagle hatched he thought he was a chicken! He learned chicken behavior and scratched in the chicken yard with his “siblings.” He didn’t know any better. Sometime he felt strange stirrings within himself but he didn’t know what to do with them… so he ignored or suppressed them. After all, if he was a chicken he should behave like a chicken.

One day an eagle flew over the chicken yard and the eagle looked up and saw him. In that moment he realized he wanted to be like that eagle; to fly high, to go to the mountain peaks he saw in the distance. As he spread his wings he suddenly understood that he was like that eagle! Though he’d never flown before, he possessed the instinct and capabilities to fly. At first he flew unsteadily, then with greater power and control. Finally as he soared he knew he’d discovered his true self— the creature that God made him to be.

Phillips Brooks stated, “When you discover you’ve been leading only half a life, the other half is going to haunt you until you develop it.”

Are you treating your players like chickens or eagles? I hope all of you have read or seen the famous psychological experiment made famous in the 50’s where one teacher had been told that all of her students were “subpar” in intelligence and ability… so don’t expect much. And guess what? THAT’S just how she treated them. And very few of them succeeded in her class that year.

Another group of comparable students in intellectual ability were assigned to a teacher who was told that this was the “gifted” class…. that all of her students possessed high intelligence and were expected to do well in her class. Guess what? yep… you guessed it!

What were (and now that most of you are about half way through your regular season) your “expectations” of your players? Do you see your players as “chickens” or “eagles?” Every kid who plays for you has a desire to achieve. He wants to “soar.” Are you encouraging him to do that OR… has your attitude got him bound to that chicken yard?

Something to think about.

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