Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Coaching? OR… Winning?

Posted by admin November - 18 - 2020 - Wednesday

I feel the need to address a subject that seems to always come up at this time of the year. For those of you who got to actually play this fall, I hope your season was “successful.” I put that in quotes because it is important that you know in your heart what your definition of “successful” really is.

The subject that I alluded to in my first sentence is the issue of a bunch of coaches (prematurely) “retiring” at this time of year… invariably to “spend more time with my family.” At least, that is the reason I read most often when coaches who haven’t seen much success in the win column step down from their head coaching position. They lost a lot of games and so they “retire.” They walk away rather than persevere. Thus, my title: why are you in coaching? What is your purpose? Are you in this profession because you love to COACH? Or, are you in it just because you like to win? It’s a matter of what you value and what your priorities are.

Let’s look at a definition of success that I’ve always adhered to. It says that “success is peace of mind…. in the knowledge that you DID your best, to BECOME the best you are capable of being.” I took that from legendary UCLA basketball coach, John Wooden. Most of you probably remember Coach Wooden as leading UCLA to 10 national championships in 12 years, including a record 7 in a row! Though UCLA was successful under Wooden from his first year at the helm, they did not win their first national championship until Wooden’s 14th season! WOW! I wonder how many coaches would have “retired to spend more time with their family” if they had to wait 14 years to grab the brass ring?!!!

On a personal note, it took 12 years before one of the teams that I was the head coach of won a District championship. Heck… our record for my first 5 years was barely above .500. But we persevered. I made sure that I set aside time for my family throughout my career. I didn’t magically have to give up coaching to “spend time” with them. Our son, from an early age, went with me when I scouted. Our daughter was a star Field Hockey player. I rarely missed a game. She was on the Homecoming Court at our school both her Junior and Senior years. I went and sat with my wife during halftime for the presentation of the Court. My assistants could handle the halftime activities for one night. Sooooooo.. “come on man!” You make time for the things (and people) that are important.

You are a role model for your players— whether you like it or not! The values that you establish in your program will be the things that are “caught” not “taught.” Who you are when nobody is looking represents who you really are. Sure it’s frustrating to lose. But as Winston Churchill said during England’s darkest hour during World War II, “Never, never, never give up…. and never give in!”

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