Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Turning Failures Into Success!

Posted by admin April - 30 - 2015 - Thursday

There are 2 things on my mind today: One being the irresponsibility (foolishness, if you would) of some of these college football players who are on the verge of making their life-long dream come true starting tonight as the NFL Draft begins and 2- how we let our circumstances control our thinking; which in turn controls our attitude; which, ultimately, controls our behavior.

First, the Shane Ray saga. I was so disturbed by Ray’s comments after being issued a citation for having marijuana in his car that I composed an open letter to my players this morning. In it I shared what I’m sharing with those of you reading this… Ray said, “This is not an indication of who I am. I made a bad decision.” “HELLLLLO!” The strongest indicator of “who” you are is determined by your decisions! Too often, we fall for the “self-serving bias” where we claim too much credit and… accept too little blame! This is not a 15-year-old kid. He’s 22. The easy way out is to make excuses. How are we ever going to see a change in our culture until our children are taught to be held accountable for their actions? It worries me.

Then, I talked with a coach the other day who was lamenting about not being able to get guys in his school to come out for football. His program is mired in a bad losing streak which is impacting the whole student body. I encouraged him to realize that failure is a tremendous teaching tool. In fact, the greater the failure, the greater the opportunity to learn from it!

But first, you have to change your attitude about failure. From a personal standpoint, we can’t allow others nor ourselves to label us as failures just because we’ve failed. I was watching a video on Facebook last night entitled “Successful Failures!” (Sounds like an oxymoron to me!) Did you know that Dr. Seuss had 39 rejections for his first book before a publisher took a chance on his writing? Or Ophrah Winfrey was fired from her first TV news reporting job and told she’d never make it on TV! Walt Disney was fired for “not having any creative ideas!” and Abe Lincoln lost 8 straight elections before he finally won one… President of the US!

So, we have to acknowledge the “teaching potential” in our mistakes or misfortunes and make a commitment to learning, growing and changing as a result of it. I stand by the statement that “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” (It’s one of the reasons that I’ll always run this antiquated, “broken-down” Delaware Wing T offense!) But… it’s just as important to recognize that, “if you want to go somewhere you’ve never been; you’re going to have to do something you’ve never done before.”

Thomas Edison “failed” about 10,000 times!…before he and his team finally invented the incandescent light bulb in 1979. Edison had the right attitude about failure. He said, “I’m not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.” Despite his checkered work history, Edison said, “I haven’t failed. I’ve found ten thousand ways that it doesn’t work!”

You need to stop labeling your failures as negatives. I like what I read recently in my Bob Gass ministries devotion book: “There are very few real failures in life— only options. Some options work, others don’t.”

I believe that the truth is… with God on your side, you’ll win if you persevere!

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