Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Ultimate Goal???

Posted by admin May - 30 - 2017 - Tuesday

I was discussing “philosophy” with a coach the other night. He was explaining his helmet sticker-award system. “Of course, everyone on the team gets a sticker when we win. And… nobody gets any stickers when we lose,” he stated. OK, that sounds reasonable. Right? We want to reward good behavior and punish bad, right? There is one fatal flaw in this thinking, though. What about that time that you’re playing the best team in your area and you come out on the short end of a 10-7 loss? Your defense played “lights out!” They get NO recognition for a great performance??!!! And the converse… you beat a poor team 35-28! You won, but you played poorly and (probably) with little effort or enthusiasm. Hey.. you won! So everything’s ok and everybody gets a reward??!!! I don’t think so. The question becomes: What is your Ultimate Goal for your team for any particular season?

If your ultimate goal is: Win A State Championship! and, you come up short (lose in the finals in triple overtime!!!)… I guess that means that the season was a miserable failure, right??? NO!!!!!!!!! Not if you think more in terms of EFFORT and EXECUTION for your players as the measure of success and/or failure.

I have been a disciple of legendary college basketball coach John Wooden for years. Coach Wooden was talking about the process long before Nick Saban came on the scene. I’ve always liked Wooden’s definition of success. It’s: peace of mind! A settled, contented feeling that’s a result of “doing your best to become the best you are capable of being.” In other words, effort and execution.

Our ultimate team goal each year became: BECOME THE BEST TEAM WE ARE CAPABLE OF BEING.

Each week, our team was “graded” on how much effort they gave and how well they executed their assignments. Whether we won or lost had no affect on whether players earned awards or not. The criteria for being rewarded was based on effort and execution. You have probably guessed that there is a direct correlation between how well we play and how hard we hustle and… whether we win or lose a ball game! It’s not a 100% truth but… enough that you can count on those 2 factors strongly affecting the outcome.

Our emphasis became fixated on the “2 E’s of Success.” When we played poorly yet still won, it was not a time for great celebration. If, perchance, we played our butts off but came up short against a great team, we could hold our heads up knowing that we accomplished we wanted to achieve: great effort and execution. This perspective allowed us to stay focused on the process and not the outcome.

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