Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Archive for May, 2015

Stephen Curry, MVP

Posted by admin May - 22 - 2015 - Friday ADD COMMENTS

I am so pleased that a “good guy”… a “team player”… a godly, Christian man who loves his wife and daughter was selected as the MVP of the NBA this season!!! When I heard the words in Curry’s recent interview that, “the Holy Spirit is moving through our locker room” I was thrilled. He is an extraordinary young man. And to think that my Hokies didn’t even think he warranted a B-ball scholarship! He wanted to play there like his dad but… wellllllll, a stupid decision on their part.

I saw an ad in SI last night from a sports apparel company congratulationg Stephen for his award. The statement in the ad grabbed my attention. It encapsulates a thought— a concept— that I’ve wanted to state to my players any number of times. It just never crystallized in my head like I wanted it to. When I read what was written in the ad, it was an epiphany for me. It doesn’t say that these are Stephen’s words (a quote from him) but that doesn’t matter. If you know the road he’s traveled to get to the pinnacle he’s on now, you know this is Stephen Curry’s philosophy.

“When nothing seems to help. I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without so much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.” WOW!!!

Every rep in the weight room. Every sprint on the practice field. Every hit and drive of that 7 man sled. Every block; every tackle; every snap of the ball during a game… they all build to that “tipping point”— where the rock breaks in two.

If the stonecutter had walked away in frustration on the 100th hit of the hammer, think of how close he was to achieving his goal!!! Just one more… just one more!!! I’ve ssaid it before and it’s soooooo true: Philippeans 3:13 exhorts us to, “press on toward the goal to win the prize.” Press on…. just one more try! Never give up; never give in.

What’s YOUR Mindset??

Posted by admin May - 12 - 2015 - Tuesday ADD COMMENTS

I just finished reading an article in the latest issue of American Football Monthly magazine. If you don’t subscribe, you should! I also had the pleasure of hearing Bryan Stinespring of the Virginia Tech Hokies football staff speak at our local sports club luncheon yesterday. Interesting how both the article in AFM and Coach Stinespring’s talk related to each other! The article in AFM is entitled “The Mindset of Excellence” by Tim Mitchell. In both the talk and the article, the coaches emphasized pursuing excellence and the attitude you must have if you’re to achieve it.

Coach Mitchell’s description of a “losing program” really hit home to me. He writes, “They weren’t a losing program because of their record (yes, the record was bad). They were a losing program because the past coaching staff set limits on possibilities.” He later points out, “When you define the young men on your team by the won-loss record, you have officially crossed the line and become a losing program.” I say “Amen” to that!

Coach Stinespring shared about some of the struggles that the VT team had to deal with last season. How, their record of excellence (10 straight seasons of 10 wins or more), had become a goal but at the same time something of an “albatross.” Once they fell to 7 wins, everyone was screaming for their heads. Funny how a LOT of programs would love to have a 7 win season!!! “Stiney” shared how their head coach, Frank Beamer, never faltered. He related how Coach Beamer suffered a serious burn when he was young. Instead of letting Frank feel sorry for himself, Frank’s mom came into the hospital one day and told young Frank, “Walk the Hall.” She made him walk past the hospital rooms of burn victims more serious than his. Patients with diabetes who’d had a limb amputated. Kids dying of cancer. It was a real wake up call for Frank… and something he never forgot. So when things got bad for the Hokies last fall, Coach Beamer exhorted his staff and players to “Walk the Halls.” There’s always someone worse off than you. Be appreciative of the blessings that God has provided you.

As Coach Mitchell says, “To be a program that touches excellence, you must be a coach who has no limits. A coach who believes losing is simply an opportunity to grow…”

We had a situation last fall on my team that forced me to take some drastic measures. We had suffered several majors injuries and we were playing the meat of our schedule with as many as 7-8 starters missing games. It was the first time in my 26 years as a head coach that we had a 4 game losing streak. We were getting pounded pretty good late in the 3rd quarter of that 4th game. I sensed that there were a lot of players who were on the verge of giving up. I’ve always stressed to my players that effort comes before excellence… and victory. Our guys were not giving much effort— for the second week in a row. I was very frustrated… and a little ticked— to put it mildly! I called the team over on the sideline late in the 3rd quarter and let them have it pretty good. I probably said something that I shouldn’t (I threatened to submit my resignation on Monday if they quit on me again!) but we needed something powerful to wake us up! It worked because we scored 3 times in the 4th quarter and held them scoreless to “make it a game” toward the end of the contest.

I later caught a little “grief” from some of my players for that statement! I explained that I had NO intentions of stepping down. We were on “life support” and I needed to “apply the paddles” to resuscitate them. We were not giving our best effort and that was disappointing. I am going to spend a LOT of time this summer in presenting activities to our players to develop mental toughness. That simply means that I want them to learn to give their best effort no matter the situation. To get a little better each workout. Don’t whine; don’t complain; don’t make excuses when they DO fail. I want them to give their best effort when we challenge them. Then the next time to get a little better when faced with adversity. I want them to “Walk the Halls”— stop feeling sorry for themselves and give their very best each time they compete.

Carrying It Home With You!

Posted by admin May - 6 - 2015 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

The first 5 minutes!

What you say in the first 5 minutes can set the tone for the next few hours that follow. Effective public speakers know that they must grab their audience in the first 5 minutes or risk the loss of their attention and the opportunity to impact them. The same principle, coaches, applies to your family! The first 5 minutes when you walk in the door after practice or a game and greet your wife and family can influence your interaction for the rest of the evening. Likewise, the first 5 minutes of the morning can determine what kind of day your kids will have at school. For example, a snarl or complaint on your part as the kids gather for breakfast can sour their attitude for hours.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way in your home! When you’ve been apart from your loved ones, you can do an “attitude check” and reset your mood before you walk in the door. It’s ok to share your concerns; but, as a general rule, you should leave football-related problems at school. Or… at least wait until later when you and your wife can sit down alone after the kids go to bed to share with her. My sweet wife of 42 years doesn’t know a lot about football (though she’s been a coach’s wife for all of those 42 years). She doesn’t even like football all that much! But, she knows me and she knows people… plus she knows Jesus! She is the one I go to with problems (at the proper time!) to get her take on the situation. Holy Spirit has graced her with the Gift of wisdom. I always run things by her… again, at the proper time!

Here’s where the rubber hits the road! Question: Does your family look forward to you coming home each night? If not, why not? I didn’t find out until our kids were grown and gone from the house that my family would sit up until I got home from a game. If we’d won that night, they were there to greet me with hugs and smiles. But… and again, I was too upset to even notice!, when we’d lost— my wife would get the kids in bed and tell them, “if you hear Dad come in, pretend to be asleep if you’re still up!” I’d walk in after a loss and the house was silent as a tomb!!!

A little sensitivity on your part can go a long way and… bring you a lot of benefits!

The Bible says in Proverbs that, “the tongue can bring life or death.” (Proverbs 18:21). Leave your bad mood, anger and worries at the front door. Make sure that your family runs TO you when you walk in the house… not away!!!

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