Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Archive for February, 2012

Beliefs Determine Behavior

Posted by admin February - 21 - 2012 - Tuesday Comments Off on Beliefs Determine Behavior

Our pastor has just finished a series entitled: What If? His main point throughout the messages was: Our beliefs determine our behavior. This is how our attitudes are formed. This is important to understand because our ability to succeed in life can come down to a single choice. How we’ve reacted to what has been done to us in the past or is being done to us right now is oftentimes the determining factor in what we choose to do in that situation. Your attitude is formed because of what’s happened in the past. How you react when confronted with a new (stressful) situation is based on that attitude.

For example, there’s the famous story of Dr. Victor Frankl who endured the Holocaust by adhering to this principle just stated above. The Nazis killed his family, placed him in a concentration camp, starved and beat him. When the war ended Frankl was neither broken, bowed nor bitter. When asked how he had endured such treatment with a positive outlook he stated, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of human freedoms, to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances; to choose one’s own way.”

Ground Zero was for a long time just a massive canyon where the Twin Towers once stood. Over 2000 people lost their lives there. How did New Yorkers choose to respond? A sign was placed at the edge of Ground Zero which proclaimed, “The human spirit is not measured by the size of the act, but by the size of the heart.” That’s an attitude that terrorists will never conquer. It’s also the attitude that God’s Word challenges us to adopt: “Whatever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report… think on these things.”

Every day we choose the clothes we’re going to wear, the food we’ll eat and… the attitude we’re going to adopt. There are really only 2 kinds of attitudes— good ones and bad ones. I start my day by trying to establish a good attitude. I recite what the Psalmist exclaims in Psalm 118, verse 24: “THIS is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it!” I challenge you to make this your attitude too!

Joe Ehrmann

Posted by admin February - 16 - 2012 - Thursday 2 COMMENTS

This guy’s name, Joe Ehrmann, keeps popping up as I talk with coaches. I read Jeffrey Marxx’s book, Season of Life, several times— it’s powerful! and recommended it to all of you who read these posts. It’s truly a life changer.

I just talked with a friend who met Ehrmann at a book signing in Dallas and bought a copy of Joe’s book and had it autographed. Cool!

I want to “borrow” from Season of Life and share some things for you as coaches/men to think about. Erhmann talks about the importance of teaching our players to become better men. Erhmann believes (and so do I— cuz I’m a product of it!) that our society does a horrible job of teaching boys how to become men… and “that virtually every problem we face in our culture can somehow be traced back to this failure.” Winning football games is our prime responsibility but, I believe that another of our responsibilities as coaches is to teach our players how to become better men!

He talks about 5 key components to becoming a better man. Get Marxx’s book and you can read about all of them. I want to comment on the first one. Erhmann calls it: “The 3 lies of false masculinity.”

Our society has built up 3 standard criteria that are constantly held up in our society as measurements of manhood. Erhmann says that, “those are the 3 lies that make up what I call ‘false masculinity.'” Those 3 lies are:
1- athletic ability
2- sexual conquest
3- economic success
The problem with these is that they set men up for failure! Why? Because they give us this false concept that what we need to do as men is compare what we have and compete with others for what they have. We compare; we compete. That’s all we ever do. Erhmann says that it leaves most men feeling isolated and defeated.

The first step in helping boys become real men is to tear down this false standard of the 3 lies! He offers a simple but powerful solution: 1- build and value relationships. “Masculinity, first and foremost, ought to be defined in terms of relationships. It ought to be taught in terms of a young man’s capacity to love and to be loved.”

Erhmann says that it comes down to THIS: “What kind of father are you? What kind of coach are you? What kind of son are you? What kind of friend are you? Success comes in terms of relationships.”

And, in my mind, the most important relationship any man should develop is his personal relationship with Jesus Christ! I was 32 years old before anyone ever made this clear to me. “Jesus wants to be your friend, Lew!” That blew me away. Build that relationship and you learn the importance of serving others. THAT in itself will begin to diminish the need to “compare and compete” all the time.

Sound strange to your ears??!! Good! I challenge you to embrace the idea(s) here and don’t just cast them aside. Check it out. You never know what’s behind “door number 2!” It could change your life!!!

Be a Student of the Game

Posted by admin February - 2 - 2012 - Thursday Comments Off on Be a Student of the Game

I spent about 5 hours today with a couple of HS coaches who drove 3 1/2 hours to come learn about Wing T line blocking! The HC and his Line coach made the drive to educate the line coach on the techniques of down blocking, gap blocking, double teamming and trapping… since all he’s ever coached is “zone” blocking schemes. That’s dedication! These guys are committed to learning all that they can to better themselves as teachers and improve their team’s performance. Kudo’s!

What are you doing in the off-season? Lifting weights; breaking down video; maybe going to one of those mega clinics? All good stuff… and stuff you need to be doing! One of my 101 Little Things in my book emphasizes the need to take as many of your staff as can go and visit another staff. Preferably a HS staff. College coaches are great! and if you’ve got a college football program in your area, make contact and see if you can meet with one of their assistants. However, I give a strong caution here! A pitfall that some HS football coaches fall into is not realizing that things that work on the college level are NOT necessarily always going to work on the HS level! 1- the techniques are too advanced; 2- the players are too athletic at the collegiate level; or 3- we simply do not have the time available to teach the things that colleges do. A good example that I share with Wing T colleagues: in their heyday, the U. of Del. coaches raved about the Sally play and how efficient a play it was for them! They’d diagram it, show all the blocking, draw this/draw that, show a lot of video clips breaking big gains… WOW! This is a play that we’ve got to install!

So what happens? We run it and those stupid HS defensive linemen don’t go where they’re supposed to!!! The Delaware line stepped this way and the college D-linemen read it correctly and went that way and the play broke. We’d run it and those D-linemen we faced just ran like chickens with their heads cut off! The dadgum play never broke for us!!! Why? Because most HS D-linemen aren’t coached anywhere near the level that college D-linemen are!

One more example… ever try to throw a screen pass (for us it was a middle screen to the fullback) and a defensive lineman who decided to “take a play off” so he was too lazy to rush the passer as he dropped… makes the tackle because the fullback catches the pass, turns and runs into that lazy tail???!!!! So, moral of the story: visit successful high school coaches. They are successful on the same level that you are. They have answers for problems that you are seeking solutions to. Most HS coaches would be flattered to have someone just come and visit and listen to what you have to share.