Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Determine Your Values

Posted by admin May - 27 - 2020 - Wednesday

I love it when I, as I call it, “pan for a gold nugget” and come up with a “boulder!” It’s so important to read and listen. Don’t ever stop learning.

Over the years, I’ve spent countless hours studying leadership skills. Many of the experts point out that…. to be an effective leader, you have to set goals. But, for the first time this morning, I read something that was an ah ha moment!

I was reading in my morning devotional The Word for You Today from Bob Gass Ministries. The message was about integrity. There was one sentence in the middle of the devotion that made me sit up and go “WOW! Never heard that before!” Here’s what it said:

“So before you set your goals, determine your values.” Really? Boy am I glad that I caught that and went back and re-read it!

Setting goals is a critical element in achieving success. What’s the old axiom say: “A sailing ship without a rudder is destined to sail aimlessly… wherever the winds take it.” We need a target. We need something to shoot at and shoot for. We need goals!

However, this statement in my devotion put a whole new slant on things for me. It made me pause and think: what do we base our goals on? My answer? “Welllllllllll… on the things that are important to me?!” Those “things” are our values. When you stop and consider the things in coaching that are important to you, you’ll have a better concept of what it is you want to achieve. If you take the “Lombardi point of view” (“Winning isn’t everything… it’s the ONLY thing!”) then you set your goals based on how many games you can win. In a lot of cases that includes cutting corners or taking advantage of a person or situation… all in the name of achieving that goal.

The writer went on. He added that “Values are like guardrails on the highway; they keep you from veering off the road and over the cliff’s edge. They determine how far you’ll go on questionable issues.”

Here’s the KEY: “Knowing what matter and what you truly value is the key to living a life of meaning and purpose.”

During my coaching career, I can’t deny that I valued winning. That’s why we played the game! It was a competition. I wanted my team to come out on top. However, early on in my head coaching career I was challenged by a Fellowship of Christian Athletes talk to consider striving for the “double victory.” Hummmmm? OK… you’ve got my attention. What he meant by double victory is: we want our players (and coaches!) to win ON and OFF the field. I wanted young men who left my program after 4 years to be “better young men than when they came in.”

Thus my goal matched my value. Character was just as important to me as championships. I am proud of the championships that we won. At the same time, I am equally proud of the outstanding young men who have gone on to be great dads and husbands and workers in their respective fields. I tell audiences when I speak that I am proud of the district, region and state championships that we won. But… I am more proud of the “universe” championships that we won!!! There are 9 pastors of the Gospel of Jesus Christ who played for us. THAT achievement is what I’m most proud of!

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