Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Commitment and Courage

Posted by admin July - 4 - 2012 - Wednesday

For my head coaching friends: “It’s time!”

It’s July and if you haven’t begun your daily practice planning, it’s time to start. It’s never too early to start but… it may be too late. This is why I challenge you to do the “little things” and do them when they need to be done. It takes commitment and courage to do it.

I read recently that Terry Fox ran across Canada and raised $24 million to fight cancer. What’s amazing is that he ran on one leg! Cancer had taken the other one. His plan was to run 26 miles each day but because of severe headaches and bad weather conditions, he only managed about 8 miles a day during the first month of his marathon run. So why did he keep going? Because… the purpose in his heart was stronger than the pain in his body! They could amputate his leg, but not his spirit.

Commitment is a willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done— no matter how long it takes. Commitment is a promise to yourself that you will not back down no matter how daunting the circumstances are.

There is a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in something, you do it only when it’s convenient or as long as things remain positive. I fear too many young head coaches who don’t find success on the field in 2-3 years retire to “spend more time with their family” when in reality, they’ve resigned because of a lack of “instant” success. In my mind, they were just interested in heading up a football program and not committed for the long haul. As a long-time friend and coaching colleague used to say, “they have too much give up in them.”

When you are committed you accept no excuses— only results. Only youcan decide whether the rewards are worth the effort. I waited 14 years to finally get the “dream job” that I desired… to be the head football coach at my local high school. I was bound and determined that I wasn’t going to give it up without persevering through the tough times. In my first 5 years, we had only 1 winning season. I went through a vote of “no confidence” by my athletic director in my 6th year and an assistant coach who tried to get me fired so he could take over the program. But, I was committed to making it work.

Commitment means paying your dues. It also means disregarding your critics.
Interestingly, Jesus did just that. “But Jesus ignored their comments and said… ‘Don’t be afraid. Just trust me.'” (Mark 5:36 TLB). Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “Whatever course you decide upon, there will always be someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.”

So start mapping out your course for your season right now. When you meet with your staff the week before practice starts, you should be able to put in their hands the daily practice schedule for the first week of practice. Have a daily installation schedule ready for your offense, defense and kicking game. Know how much you want to have installed for your first scrimmage, then second scrimmage…. and finally how much you want installed and ready for your opening game. It takes commitment and courage to prepare when you don’t know where your path is going to lead you. I encourage you to persevere. Don’t drift… stick an oar in the water and start paddling. Drifting rarely leads you to your designated destination!

Happy Independence Day! “God bless America!!!” Hang your flag on the front porch and… let freedom ring.

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