Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Walking the Plank!

Posted by admin November - 12 - 2010 - Friday

We had our Team Celebration the other night… aren’t parents great?! They took care of everything!! It was wonderful! The coaches were sitting around talking and the lamentation began: “what went wrong last week in our one loss… that kept us out of the City Championship!” There was that “one player” who seemed to break down on every play that could’ve been a big play! and… it was one guy in particular who just didn’t get after anybody all day. Our line coach brought up the age-old question: “How do you motivate a kid to give his best every play??!!!??” My response was: “Coach, if we could find the answer to that, we could make millions!”

Motivation. What drives people to succeed? What factors block them from achieving? It’s a complex question, no doubt, but there are some universal factors that any wise coach is going to be familiar with and apply when working with young people. Let me give you an example:

It’s easy to walk across a plank that’s on the ground, but raise it a little and it becomes harder. Now, imagine that same plank 100 feet up, without a safety net under it; looks scarey doesn’t it?! The Bible even talks about it: “Fear is crippling.” (1 John 4:18)

And the more that’s at stake the harder it is; white-knuckle syndrome kicks in and you develop a case of the “what if’s.” Fear is living in the future… before you get there. And among the trolls lurking under the bridge to your future are 2 things that Dr. Joan Borysenko cites as affecting your performance:

1- Fear of Failure. She writes: “When I was admitted to Harvard, I was sure there’d been a computer error and that I’d be exposed as a fraud. A Lawyer freind of mine stops just short of terror every time she has to give a final argument before a jury. Even when you’re an expert, fear doesn’t necessarily go away. Accepting fear as part of the journey instead of running from it, helps you conquer it!”

2- Fear of Imperfection. This one makes it hard to do anything, because perfectionists set unattainable goals and berate themselves when they can’t reach them. It’s impossible to learn without making mistakes; so learn, and move on.

Solomon said, “Fear of human opinion disables (you)” (Proverbs 29:25). We need to stop worrying about pleasing people all the time. When you look back at what you’ve already overcome, you begin to realize that most times failure doesn’t do permanent damage— you actually grow through it!

I saw a sign in front of a church that I drove by the other day. It said: “Change is inevitable; growth is optional.”

So stay focused! With God, you can walk any plank. Who knows, you might even begin to enjoy the challenge!

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