Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

“Values Determine Culture”

Posted by admin January - 19 - 2017 - Thursday

My pastor is a wise man. His message on Sunday has been resonating through my mind all week. I decided it was time to put my thoughts in writing. I placed the (above) title in quotes because this was Pastor Michael’s main point. It’s his and I want him to have the credit. It sure does answer a lot of questions about why some organizations succeed and others fail… or why some football programs always seem to finish near or on the top while others struggle. Families; schools; churches— any team/organization where there is a leader and he/she is expected to “lead” can look at the “culture” surrounding that team and see what the head man’s values are. Or… maybe, that he doesn’t haven’t any values! Yes, we should “lead by example” but the example we set is based on those qualities that the leader holds most dear.

For example, the head coach says he values hard work. He can model it for his staff and players all he wants. However, if he does not value it enough to expect/teach/demand that those under him accept that value too… the HC is going to be frustrated and he’s not going to have many people who work for him very highly motivated. If a player is loafing during wind sprints, do you look the other way? Or… do you rationalize his lack of effort by saying to yourself: “welllllllllll… he’s our best player. I need to cut him some slack.” BALONEY!!! If you value hustle, then you hold people accountable for hustling. And if they don’t hustle, then there have to be consequences. Staying after practice and have a “tutoring session” with the HC where he has the player run a few more sprints— but, THIS time… they only count if the player runs them hard! That’s sending a message! By expecting that everyone hustles, you building a culture where players and coaches are always moving at a fast pace. One of my expectations when I was coaching was: “We’re going to run (not walk) everywhere we go.” The players crossed a bridge from the school grounds to the athletic fields. At that point, they strapped on their helmet and they jogged the 50 yards to the edge of our practice field. When I blew the whistle at the end of practice for the team to gather around me, they were expected to RUN over. If they didn’t, I’d tell them to go back where they were (even if their group was at the other end of the field) and let’s try it again!!! We simply did NOT walk on the football field. Hustle is something I valued and we built a culture of being known as a hustling team. I thought it was important and I feel strongly that it was a contributing factor to our success over the years.

What do YOU value? If you don’t know, you need to sit down with a pen and paper and ask yourself: “What is most important to me?” and… if you say “winning!” then your values are misplaced! Winning is the byproduct of study and determination and striving for excellence and showing respect and being a man of integrity. Don’t ever think that these character traits aren’t important to your personal success or the success of your team. They are the building blocks of success!!!

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