Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program


Posted by admin September - 27 - 2012 - Thursday

The “Word of the Week” for my team is: PURPOSE. I challenged them with a question today during our team’s “ceremony”: What is your purpose in playing football for this team?! I let them think about it for a minute and then responded with a variation on a great line from the football movie, Facing the Giants: “If you said ‘winning football games’ as your purpose then…. your vision of what you are playing for is too small!!!

I shared with them that my purpose for coaching them is that they will leave our program even better men than when they joined it. We want to teach them about life as we deal with the many up’s and down’s that we face during a season. I wanted them to know that they mean MORE to me than just being a “slab of meat.” Reaching their athletic goals is important too and… I LOVE to win! but…. If I don’t care about them as more than just a football player, then I don’t really care about them at all.

My high school coach is very sick. He’s been dealing with declining health for the last few years. He’s in his 80’s now and probably won’t be around much longer. (I say that but then he is a “tough old bird” and will probably defeat this health problem the same way he taught us to fight through adversity when I played for him as a 16 year old kid.) Coach O’Brien and my dad were/are my heroes! There weren’t 2 other men while I growing up who I wanted to please more than my dad and my coach. They were both tough on me but knew how to get the most out of me. I look back to my high school football days and realize that I lead my program and coach my kids with a lot of the same principles that were taught me when I played.

I want my players to respect me. They respect me because I respect them. I want my players to want to play hard for me… cuz, as the old saying goes: “No player cares how much you know until he knows how much you care.” What they do OFF the field (in the classroom, around school, with their family and loved ones and in our community) is as important as what they achieve ON the field. I heard a coach say once, “It’s not my job to help my players get into college. Once the season’s over, my job is done.” That statement made me wonder how much that coach realllllllly cared about his players. I questioned why he was in coaching. As I watched him over the next couple of years, it just confirmed what I surmised when I heard that first statement: He was on an ego trip. When his team continually played poorly, he got out of coaching. It was too damanging to his self image!

What is YOUR purpose for coaching high school football?

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