Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Archive for December, 2012

FAITH: The Power to Overcome

Posted by admin December - 19 - 2012 - Wednesday Comments Off on FAITH: The Power to Overcome

When we face a horrific situation like we witnessed in Newtown, CT. on Friday or when it hits closer to home in our own life; i.e., our health takes a turn for the worse or our finances take a turn for the worse, we suddenly realize how fragile life can be. We may be living on the “sunny side of the street” today, but if we live long enough adversity will come knocking at our door. When it does (and it will), you’ll discover that things like power, possessions and prestige won’t sustain you. That state championship trophy sitting on the bookcase behind your desk will not sustain you when the bottom drops out, Coach!

If power could do it, Joseph Stalin wouldn’t have been afraid to go to sleep at night or been so paranoid that he appointed a soldier to guard his teabags! If possessions could do it, fear wouldn’t have caused multi-millionaire Howard Hughes to live like a hermit and die alone. If prestige or popularity could do it then John Lennon wouldn’t have been described as a fearful man who slept with the light on and was terrified of germs. Earthly supports can only sustain us so long.

Courage for living comes from a deep, abiding trust in God. His Word says, “This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” But faith is only as valuable as the object we’ve placed it in, and my faith is in a God Who never fails! Someone asked me the other day, “Where was God while that maniac went on his rampage in that school?!” My response was, “The same place He was when He watched soldiers beat, scourge and then nail His own Son to a cross!” David said in the Psalms, “Through You we push back our enemies; through Your Name we trample our foes.” In Jesus’ own words, He said, “I have given you authority to… overcome the power of the enemy.” St. Paul said, “Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or sword?… No! In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us.”

Rather than running away from God in times of trouble, run to Him. Only God can provide the lasting comfort and support we need to get through the tough times. Nothing of an earthly nature can provide any long-lasting security or hope. The Psalm says, “Why so downcast oh my soul? Put your hope in God.”

Servant Leader

Posted by admin December - 11 - 2012 - Tuesday Comments Off on Servant Leader

Our pastor has given 2 messages in a row on “Leadership.” He points out that the greatest leader who ever walked this earth was Jesus Christ. So he looked at Christ as his example for his discussion on what great leadership is all about. What he has focused on is: “Where on the scale/continuum are you?!” At one end of the scale is the Self-Serving Leader. On the other end of the scale is the Servant Leader.

Ken Blanchard defines leadership this way, “Any time you seek to influence the thinking, behavior or development of people toward accomplishing a goal, you are taking a leadership role.” Pastor Chuck Swindoll says leadership is “inspiring influence.”

Our pastor, Jim Wall, states that, “Servant Leaders are more focused on the transformation of the people they are leading than they are the task they are trying to accomplish.” He also says, “People go into eternity, tasks don’t!”

So…. to assess your Servant Leader quotient, measure yourself on these 4 qualities: 1- Servant Leaders personally challenge others. 2- Servant Leaders build confidence in others. 3- Servant Leaders give credit to others. 4- Servant Leaders provide honest counsel to others.

Pastor Jim paraphrased the old saying like this: “God can do great things through a person who doesn’t care who gets the credit.” Teams can accomplish great things when the players (and coaches!) don’t care who gets the credit.

If you have read any of my posts over the years, you know that I am a strong advocate for teaching character to my players. It wasn’t until I heard the message last week that it dawned on me that what my ultimate goal in coaching has been over these 40 years is to have our players leave our program better men than when they arrived. It has produced a lot of success on and off the field. I talk to a lot of my former players on facebook now and it’s a joy to hear how well they’re doing in their adult life. I like to think that I helped lay the foundation of success that they are experiencing.

I want to close with a definition from the coach that I admire more than any single coach, John Wooden. He won the “right way.” Yes, he had some tremendous athletes play for him over the years. But, the one thing Coach Wooden did was… he always maximized that talent! This is from his Pyramid of Success. It is his definition of success. It reads:

“Success is peace of mind… which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing that you DID your best to BECOME the best you are capable of being.”

That definition comes from the heart of a Servant Leader!


Posted by admin December - 4 - 2012 - Tuesday 1 COMMENT

I was going through stuff that accumulated on my desk during the season seeing what I wanted to keep and what I wanted to toss. I came across (why it was still there, I don’t know!) some notes I took at a coaches clinic in 2004. The coach was a very successful HS coach in the state of Virginia. He is now an assistant at a Big 10 school. I thought it would be some “food for thought” as you guys start doing your post-season/off-season evaluations. Here are some of the things he said:

1- You are only as good as you coach your players to be. Simply said, a good coach is an effective teacher.

2- Players win games— coaches LOSE them! Study such things as clock management, use of substitutions, when to call a time out. In some cases, we need to get out of the way of our players and let them play!

3- Hold your players responsible. Players cannot rise to low expectations! Kids need to know that their actions impact not only themselves but their teammates. The kid whose middle name is “I’ve got an excuse for everything” needs to be told that “we don’t want your excuses… we want your effort and your execution.” I’m not advocating that coaches lay blame on their players for their own shortcomings. What I am saying is that kids need to see that their choices have ramifications. There is no “do over” button for life.

4- Win the 2nd and 4th quarters. Wear down your opponent. Watching Alabama break down UGa with that O line the other night was a thing of beauty. “Old school football” Baby!

5- Play your best guys. Whether it’s 13-14 or 20-21— get your best players on the field. If possible, play your O linemen only 1 way. Keep your “athletes” on the field. Get them a break on offense. In an attempt to 2 platoon, I’ve seen coaches fail to utilzie a “skilled” player. You want your “difference makers” on the field as much as possible.

6- During practice: tackle every day! It doesn’t have to be live, to the ground. But working on tackling is a key to success.

7- During practice: spend time on the kicking game every day. Practice PAT/FG at one end of the field while you practice one of your other special teams.

8- Save Team Offense for the end of practice. Practice Offense when your tired. Challenge them to stay focused.

9- Spend time on the goal line. G-L Offense and Defense is something you need to practice.

There’s some “food for thought” for you!