Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Archive for September, 2013

Bouncing Back!

Posted by admin September - 24 - 2013 - Tuesday Comments Off on Bouncing Back!

We lost our first game of the season this past Friday. We played extremely well against an outstanding team— for the first half! But, momentum shifted on us in the 3rd quarter and we had 4 turn-overs in the second half which spelled our doom! The players were very upset after the game.

What do you say to a bunch of teenage boys after a big loss? I said 2 things: 1- it was a good loss! and 2- let’s look at “history” and see what can happen. In both cases, I cautioned the coaches about not being critical of an individual and his performance and to be upbeat and positive during practice on Monday. I think this is critical for any coach after a loss. Your players are looking to you for their “signals” on how they are supposed to act. If you as their coach is coming negative and discouraged, they’re going to think they’re supposed to act the same way. I watched several of the players come by my office door before practice. They tried to act nonchalant as they peered in; but, they wanted to see how I responded to them as they went by. I smiled and nodded to each of them as if to say: “It’s a new day! We’re fine. I’m not mad at you. I’m upbeat— you be upbeat.”

What do I mean by a “good loss?” We learned a valuable lesson about “continuing to play” no matter what the score is. We got ahead in the first half by 3 scores. We went in at halftime with a 10 point lead. Everyone was confident and… yep, relaxed! Too relaxed! The other team came fighting back and took the lead late in the 3rd quarter. Our kids lost their composure and it was downhill from there. What did I tell them yesterday? “We play with confidence; we play with composure. Stay focused on doing your job.” We failed to do that and we unraveled (particularly on offense) in the second half. It’s a life lesson that is far more valuable than whether we won or lost the game!

What did I focus on yesterday at practice? “History!” I asked them to recall Alabama’ situation after last year’s defeat (on their home turf) to Texas A&M. They re-grouped; played well the rest of the year and ended up as National Champions. We need to do the same thing.

Stay positive. If you don’t promote hope for those young men, who is? Correct mistakes and practice with a little more intensity but let them know… that effort is the key! You will never be disappointed in them as long as they give 100%!

Be “Single Minded!”

Posted by admin September - 18 - 2013 - Wednesday Comments Off on Be “Single Minded!”

The Bible says in the Book of James that, “He who wavers is like an ocean wave driven by the wind and tossed to and fro. That man should not believe that he will receive anything from the Lord. A double minded person is unstable in all his ways.”

Peter Marshall, who was chaplain of the Senate for years, once prayed, “Lord, give us clear vision that we may know where to stand and what to stand for.” A dream that isn’t clear won’t help you get anywhere.

What do you want to achieve? What do you want to contribute to the cause? What kind of person do you want to become? In other words (and this is key!), what does success look like to you?! Because if you don’t define it, you won’t be able to achieve it. Most people don’t get what they want because they don’t know what they want. They haven’t defined their dream.

One author writes, “The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want!!! Instead of saying, “I want to lose weight,’ say: ‘I will weigh one hundred and ninety pounds by Christmas.’ Instead of saying, ‘I need to improve my leadership,’ say, ‘I will read one leadership book every month.’ Being specific doesn’t necessarily mean having every little detail thought through before you move forward. But your main goal should be clear. The rest will unfold as you move forward— making adjustments as you go.”

The question you need to ask yourself is, “Am I single minded?”

Ring of Honor

Posted by admin September - 10 - 2013 - Tuesday Comments Off on Ring of Honor

On Friday night, the current head coach at my old high school where I was head coach for 22 years is going to honor me and 3 of our former players. I am always looking for little things that coaches can use to promote their program and Coach Gibson has found one! I want to share it with you.

At halftime of the game (not before the game— he wants lots of people to be there and actually seethe ceremony!) they are going to unveil the new “Ring of Honor” in the football stadium that the coach is establishing. I’m not quite sure how he’s doing it but he told me that the names of our 4 charter members will be prominently displayed in the stadium. It sounds a little like what the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins have done on the fa├žade around their stadiums.

Each of us will also be presented with a plaque to commemorate our induction. The players and our families are invited and will sit in a special section during the game. At halftime, we will be ushered to the field for the presentation.

Coach told me that this is just the first class of inductees. He plans to do this every year.

What a great idea to honor the players and coaches who contributed so much to the school’s football program over the years. It is just another wonderful tradition to incorporate as you attempt to build pride in your program. I have invited all of my former players to attend. It is going to be an exciting evening for everyone involved!

The coolest part, for me though, is the coach has invited me to give the “pre-game pep talk” to the players before they go out on the field! I am pumped!!! If you have a retired coach who successfully led your program in the past, invite him back to speak to your team. It builds good will and can be a bridge to the past for your players.

A Callous Spirit

Posted by admin September - 3 - 2013 - Tuesday Comments Off on A Callous Spirit

Even Jesus’ disciples had a problem with their attitude! and… Jesus called them out on it six different times in the Gospel of Luke. The first negative attitude that He addressed was that of a callous spirit.

Instead of believing that Jesus could feed the crowd of 5000 with five loaves and two fish, the disciples encouraged Jesus just to “send them away.” One of the dangers of experiencing a lot of success is that you can end up loving crowds but not really caring for individuals. As a minister, for example, you want contributors but you do not want to spend time meeting individual people’s needs!

(True story!) Years ago a man decided to visit the churches of two well-known television ministers he liked. After hearing the first, he asked if he could say hello to him. But the minister’s “handlers” said no— suggesting that the man call for an appointment. Disappointed, he went to hear the other minister the next week and was invited to eat lunch with the minister after the service. Feeling valued, he handed the minister a check for— four million dollars! You must always be approachable, available and affirming. You must keep the personal touch. Only as you stay in touch with people’s needs, can God use you to meet those needs in real time. I’ve said it many times: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care!”

So, do you care???