Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Archive for September, 2011

The “Mighty” Have Fallen!

Posted by admin September - 27 - 2011 - Tuesday ADD COMMENTS

I have written many blog entries over the last 3 years encouraging those coaches, and others, who find themselves in a “hopeless” situation NOT to give up hope! If any of you ever thought, “that’s easy for Lew to write… he’s never experienced what I’m going through right now in this season,” then take heart! I’m right there with you, Coaching Friends! We are now 0-4! It’s the worst losing streak I’ve ever been associated with in my 26 years as a head football coach. I now KNOW exactly what some of you are going through. However, I am not feeling what a lot of you may be experiencing. Why? Because the Bible says that “we, who are in Christ, are more than conquerors!

Having problems doesn’t mean that we are a failure or the focus of God’s displeasure. The storm that Jesus talks about in Matt. 7 (vs. 24-27) battered the house of both the believer and unbeliever. But… the key is: the believer’s “house” overcame it. So, what is God’s goal in all of this suffering that you and I (those of you who are “0-fers” right now?!) are trying to deal with? To make us overcomers— NOT escape artists!!!

Yes, those of us who are Believers— God will deliver us, but first He will develop us. There are problems that we can’t avoid (injuries, lack of talent, inexperienced coaches) and must deal with; but, through it all, God is saying: “Don’t Give Up!” He has something that He is trying to teach us in this. For a lot of us, it’s simply to continue to trust Him and love Him during the storm. Like the Casting Crowns song says: “I will praise You in this storm and I lift my hands for You are who You are… no matter where I am… I will praise You.”

I have shared with players and coaches over the years that “God loves you just as much whether you are 10-0 or 0-10.” Now, I’m living it! In the midst of the frustration, I have God’s peace. I KNOW now that God does love me in the midst of this losing streak— He has not foresaken me. He is not punishing me. He does have my attention!— and I’m listening to see what He is trying to teach me through all of this.

One thing He has shown me is that I need to get rid of any bitterness and unforgiveness (grudges) that I am carrying in my heart. It’s in the storms of life that our ears are opened to the spiritual aspect of life. I am seeking God and His will. I am claiming the verse in 1 Peter 1 that says, “There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure… trials.”

Many of you know of Mary Kay Cosmetics. Mary Kay Ash was a real person who accumulated a massive fortune franchising her concept of running a business for women. It was not an easy start, though. For a woman in the 1950’s trying to get respect from men in the corporate world, it was extremely frustrating. She retired in 1963 and wrote a book designed to help women in the business world. Her accountant and her attorney discouraged her, but with her husband’s support she created a new cosmetic line, recruited and trained an all-female sales force. Her motto was, “God first, family second, career third.” Never underestimate someone with vision and determination! Though we, coaches, are facing adversity right now.. don’t give up! “There is wonderful joy ahead.”

Faith and Fantasyland!

Posted by admin September - 21 - 2011 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

This is a reaction to a couple of articles I recently read on “faith.” This is the Word of the Week (Faith) for our team so I thought it was appropriate.

A lot of people have been sold a bill of goods when it comes to goals and dreams. The saying, “If you believe it, you will achieve it,” is simply NOT true. Ever watched American Idol during the first try-outs? Some of the “singers” (and I use that term loosely!) are clueless when it come to their ability. They are awful! And when they’re told by the judges that they have no talent, these wannabe singing stars pitch a fit and say, “That’s just your opinion. I’m an awesome singer.” We all need a reality check. Faith is not fantasy. It’s not “mind over matter.” It’d be nice if the attitude of “I’ll just show up at the right place at the right time and my dream will come true” were true. But it isn’t.

Emerson once stated: “Shallow men believe in luck… strong men believe in cause and effect.” When our God gives us a dream, that’s different! We need faith to bring it to pass. So the question we need to ask ourselves is, “Is my dream from God? When it it, you will be provided with the necessary gifts, talents and resources to fulfill it. When God gives us a dream, He gives us all that’s needed.

and… this point really impacted me: The more UNrealistic your dream, the more you’ll be tempted to depend upon things that you cannot control (such as luck!) We need to balance the boldness of dreaming with the reality of our situation.

Yes, I agree that we need to reach beyond what we think we’re capable of; but, at the same time, base what we do on our strengths and other factors within our control. The more concerned we become with things we cannot control, the less we’ll do to improve the things we CAN control. And when we do that, we live in Fantasyland. When God gives us a dream, it will play to our strengths.

I have a team of young men who are as motivated and hard-working as any high school football team I’ve ever coached. Unfortunately, we have gotten off to a bad start. We are currently 0-3… while leading in 2 of those games in the 3rd quarter. We simply lack the skill-level and experience right now to compete for 48 minutes against the teams we’ve faced so far this season. We were the underdog in all 3 games and battled like mad… we just couldn’t finish. I know some of the guys are disappointed with our start. They had dreams of conference and state championships. What I’m learning from this experience is that we are constantly being tested and refined. We face a situation where we have to re-evaluate the goal or dream that we have and decide if it is a “realistic” goal or just fantasyland? My job is to continue to motivate, challenge and encourage these kids to prepare properly (mentally and physically), keep a good attitude and work hard during our preparation (practices) so that we are ready to give our best this coming Friday.

I would never want to be the one to dash the dreams of a teenager. Reality is the best teacher. God works through these hard times to teach us things about ourselves, life in general (life is a “test!”) and… Him. I know He is with us; guiding us; holding us up. God WILL make a way when there seems to be no way. As the Bible says in Isaiah, “those who trust (wait) in the Lord… shall RENEW their strength.”

Are You Just Beginning?

Posted by admin September - 12 - 2011 - Monday 2 COMMENTS

I just wrote a coach to encourage him to “stick with his plan.” He’s a new coach who’s trying to run the Wing T offense like we do. He’s experiencing some problems (like we are!) so I told him: “don’t let the naysayers talk you into abandoning your system! It works… it’s a proven entity. Keep working your plan.” As I wrote to him I realized that I was writing to myself also! I am in the first year of running a program and the system is brand new to the players AND the coaches. I know it works. We won over 160 games with the system at the school where I used to coach. As the Bible says, we cannot “despise the day of small things.”

Everything big begins with something small. Our attitude in the beginning often determines our success in the end. We need to delight in what God gives us to start with, because He does! Thank Him for your small beginnings.

Before the drought ended and the rains came, Elijah saw a cloud the size of a man’s hand. That’s pretty small, but he rejoiced over it because it was a sign of bigger things to come. We can’t destroy our seed by doubting its potential. God gives us a seed of hope, something small— but something is than nothing. Take that seed and plant it, pray over it and believe God for the increase. A lot of us, unfortunately, throw our seed away. When we “despise” something small, we diminish it potential; we don’t care for it, we take no notice of it. When we don’t care for what God gives us, we lose it. And if we lose our seed we never get to enjoy the harvest.

I was ready to resign my head coaching position in 1989. I was frustrated and my AD was giving me little support. I had written my letter of resignation and was going to deliver it to my principal on Monday. But God spoke to my heart on Sunday after church and impressed upon me that “your ministry isn’t finished there yet.” I stayed. We finished 5-5. The next year was another break even season too. But the next year, we went 7 and 3 and it was the worst record we had over the next 15 years!!! 5 championships later, I retired knowing that I had “fought the good fight” with God leading the way.

The Bible tells us to be content with what we have, then goes on to say in Hebrews, “For He (God) Himself said, ‘I will not in any way… let (you) down.'” That’s why we can be content during our small beginnings. We know that what God commences, he completes. So be patient, be expectant and keep moving forward. “Do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise” (Hebrews 10:35-36.)
Amen? Amen!

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