Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Bouncing Back

Posted by admin September - 19 - 2010 - Sunday

I was saddened to watch my former team/school lose a heart-breaker in the last minute Friday night. It meant they’ve lost the last 2 games by less than a TD and… both losses came late in the 4th quarter. It made me think of 2 things that I’d like to share: 1- the margin between winning and losing is very slim. One mistake can cost you a game… particularly late in the game when it’s close. 2- It’s your job, Head Coach, to come in on Monday with your head up, your attitude positive and your focus on correcting mistakes so you can win that next close one.

The kids and the asst. coaches will take their cue from you. Your attitude will carry a LOT of weight— and you might not even recognize it. If you are feeling sorry for yourself or if you are mad and frustrated with your players AND…. you “carry” that attitude into practice on Monday… the kids are going to “feel” it. If the Captain of the ship is thinking it’s going to sink, then the crew won’t do much to try and bail it out!

This is why I’ve always advocated focusing on execution rather than winning. Your team knows that it’s playing to win; but if that is what you emphasize, then the “journey” gets forgotten and the destination is the only goal. Then, everyone becomes easily frustrated and the attitude continues to sink.

Rather, if you talk about execution and the minimizing of mistakes (or elimination of them), you have a goal to focus on that involves their effort and their improving the mental part of the game.

It’s why I like to show the “Bloopers” video on Monday. We review the mistakes and move on. Kids don’t want to sit there and be embarrassed in front of their peers anymore than you would. Think of it this way: You are in your classroom. You are handing back a test that your students have just taken. Is it a good teaching practice to yell at those students who failed the test?! To single them out in class about how “stupid” they are? or… “how can you keep making the same mistake over and over, Son?!” I hope you wouldn’t do that! Then, why do it to your players?

Watching your game is supposed to be a learning situation. Your players can tell by the tone of your voice whether you’re disappointed or not. IF… they want to play for you, then they are going to try and improve… to seek your approval.

It’s all about the “Little Things.”

One Response to “Bouncing Back”

  1. heath cockerham says:

    You always seem to have the right answer when I need it the most! Excellent commentary! I find myself–once again–starting over the process of building up a very young varsity team! What to tell them week to week win they are improving but not winning–YET–yes! yes! EXECUTION EXECUTION EXECUTION–Thanks gain Brother Lew for sharing your thoughts!

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