Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

What now?!!

Posted by admin December - 3 - 2009 - Thursday

I just received a note from an internet coaching friend from another state that he has been fired as head coach at his school. Wow!!! This is not a situation that I hope any of you have to deal with. We look jadedly at these high-priced college HC’s who get fired and think of the “golden parachute” that they’ll receive and we don’t feel too badly for them. But… for a high school HC to be fired— that’s a different story! There are not many of us who are in it “for the money.” To be let go because we failed to achieve a satisfactory win/loss record in the eyes of an AD or Principal is a bitter pill to swallow.
So how do we deal with it? It would be easy to say that you just “suck it up”; blow it off and move on with your life… but that would cheapen the time and effort and heart and soul that you have poured into your program. Plus, since we are dealing with self concept issues here, it is not healthy to just take the typical “whatever” attitude and try to just force the pain and frustration from our mind.
As a Christian, I would recommend that you talk to a pastor or friend who is a Believer and, as the Bible says, “cast your cares on Him (Jesus) because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7. We are a 3 part being: physical, emotional and spiritual. You may see it as strictly emotional but your spirit has been dealt a severe blow and it needs healing. God, through His Word, has always been a ready Source of strength for me during my career. I would refer you to a little book entitled: “Power For Living” by Jamie Buckingham. Type in the title on any internet search engine. You can order a copy for FREE! I think all of us can use some power for living—especially at at time like this!
Second: don’t withdraw. Your family needs you and you need the support, love and encouragement of your family. My tendency (when I was at a low point in my coaching career) was to retreat, sulk and have a pity party. It’s always a party of one. That way, you can have a self-fulfilling prophecy that “nobody cares about me” because you have shut yourself off from those who care about you the most. Let them minister to you. The best advice I ever heard from a professional counselor about helping someone out of depression was: get involved in other peoples’ lives. At this time of year, there are numerous opportunities to invest your time in others’ lives. It will lift their spirits… and yours!
Finally… it IS a time to re-evaluate your life goals. Find someone who will be objective, realistic and who knows you and knows your program that you were just dismissed from. Ask for some tough answers. Where did I go wrong? What could I have done better? If you still want another chance to be a HC, you have to look at yourself and determine what actually caused your dismissal. Your level of “self awareness” is critical. It is easy to blame your dismissal on “no talent”; “lack of support in the community”; Kids lacked motivation; poor facilities… but the truth of the matter is: there are many successful high school coaches who have overcome these things and are successful despite these problems. Perhaps you are simply not, at this point in your life, prepared to lead a program. There is a time of seasoning for all of us.
The big question is: what have you learned from this experience— as bad as it was? How can you grow from it?
I love the quote from Rick Warren’s “The Purpose Driven Life (another excellent book that I’d encourage you to read if you haven’t. And even if you have, read it again this winter!) that says “What happens outwardly in your life is not as important as what happens inside you. Your circumstances are temporary, but your character will last forever.”
God bless you!

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