Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

The Power of Passion!

Posted by admin May - 20 - 2010 - Thursday

If you’ve ever built a fire you know that its tendency is to go out. You must feed and protect it. Not everyone you meet and work with will help you do that. This post is for head coaches and/or assistants— really anyone who works around other people!

There are 2 kinds of people you’ll meet in life: (1)Fire Lighters and (2)Fire Extinguishers. The first group will inspire you, encourage you and go out of their way to help you. The second group will throw cold water on you and your ideas. How can you tell the difference?

Fire Extinguishers use phrases like: “That’s not practical… we’ve tried that before and it didn’t work… it’s not in the budget… if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…we don’t have enough talent, experience, training, etc., … who will do all the extra work?… who do YOU think you are?!” IF you’ve heard one or more of these excuses coming from the people around you, pray for them, love them, but don’t let them influence you. If you are a Head Coach, you need to talk with them. You may even need to fire them! But, again, don’t let their negative attitude affect you or your goals.

Fire Extinguishers focus on what’s wrong instead of what’s right. They find the cloud that comes with every silver lining. They doubt. They resist change. They keep you from reaching higher by trying to put out the fire of your passion.

I had an assistant coach who had a lot of passion for coaching kids. However, he was close to being a Fire Extinguisher on our staff. He and I went to a clinic together one time and all I heard on the ride over was how this was wrong and we can’t change that. During the clinic, the coach we were meeting with said something so profound that it hit both of us like a ton of bricks. In essence he said: “Don’t look at the problem (and get weighted down by it!)— look for solutions! Focus on them.” WOW!!! We talked about it on the ride home and this coach realized that he needed to change. He became the most positive, encouraging coach I’ve ever been around. Not only with the kids but on the staff. He became the Fire Lighter for the whole team! What a spark plug. What he did best,though, was to encourage me when he sensed that I was getting down. I appreciated that tremendously… and still do!

Then we had another coach who was the classic Fire Extinguisher— everything we did (everything I did!) was wrong. It became so bad that the rest of the staff was asking me to do something about him. He was well-liked by the players so I decided to keep him on the staff but relegate him to our Head JV Coach position. This did not please him. He wanted more status— he wanted a Varsity position. He wanted that so he could use it on a resume when he applied for head coaching positions. All the talk in the world could not convince him that he was a “turn off” and a Fire Extinguisher on our staff. He finally quit in a huff one day right in the middle of practice and walked off the field. He later apologized; I forgave him but… I would not let him return to coaching with us!

You need to handle Fire Extinguishers with care. Sometimes they do this deliberately, other times unknowingly. What you need to do is spend more time with Fire Lighters! They view you not as who you are, but as who you could be. These people fuel your faith and ignite your passion.

Interestingly, I was reading about missionaries throughout history and the great things they accomplished for the kingdom of God around the world. It’s estimated that there are about 200 million Christians in the Chinese church today. One of the Fire Lighters who helped start it was a missionary named Hudson Taylor. He’s the man who said, “The sun has not once risen in China in 40 years, without finding me on my knees in prayer for the Chinese people.” That’s passion!

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