Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Archive for April, 2015

Turning Failures Into Success!

Posted by admin April - 30 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off on Turning Failures Into Success!

There are 2 things on my mind today: One being the irresponsibility (foolishness, if you would) of some of these college football players who are on the verge of making their life-long dream come true starting tonight as the NFL Draft begins and 2- how we let our circumstances control our thinking; which in turn controls our attitude; which, ultimately, controls our behavior.

First, the Shane Ray saga. I was so disturbed by Ray’s comments after being issued a citation for having marijuana in his car that I composed an open letter to my players this morning. In it I shared what I’m sharing with those of you reading this… Ray said, “This is not an indication of who I am. I made a bad decision.” “HELLLLLO!” The strongest indicator of “who” you are is determined by your decisions! Too often, we fall for the “self-serving bias” where we claim too much credit and… accept too little blame! This is not a 15-year-old kid. He’s 22. The easy way out is to make excuses. How are we ever going to see a change in our culture until our children are taught to be held accountable for their actions? It worries me.

Then, I talked with a coach the other day who was lamenting about not being able to get guys in his school to come out for football. His program is mired in a bad losing streak which is impacting the whole student body. I encouraged him to realize that failure is a tremendous teaching tool. In fact, the greater the failure, the greater the opportunity to learn from it!

But first, you have to change your attitude about failure. From a personal standpoint, we can’t allow others nor ourselves to label us as failures just because we’ve failed. I was watching a video on Facebook last night entitled “Successful Failures!” (Sounds like an oxymoron to me!) Did you know that Dr. Seuss had 39 rejections for his first book before a publisher took a chance on his writing? Or Ophrah Winfrey was fired from her first TV news reporting job and told she’d never make it on TV! Walt Disney was fired for “not having any creative ideas!” and Abe Lincoln lost 8 straight elections before he finally won one… President of the US!

So, we have to acknowledge the “teaching potential” in our mistakes or misfortunes and make a commitment to learning, growing and changing as a result of it. I stand by the statement that “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” (It’s one of the reasons that I’ll always run this antiquated, “broken-down” Delaware Wing T offense!) But… it’s just as important to recognize that, “if you want to go somewhere you’ve never been; you’re going to have to do something you’ve never done before.”

Thomas Edison “failed” about 10,000 times!…before he and his team finally invented the incandescent light bulb in 1979. Edison had the right attitude about failure. He said, “I’m not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.” Despite his checkered work history, Edison said, “I haven’t failed. I’ve found ten thousand ways that it doesn’t work!”

You need to stop labeling your failures as negatives. I like what I read recently in my Bob Gass ministries devotion book: “There are very few real failures in life— only options. Some options work, others don’t.”

I believe that the truth is… with God on your side, you’ll win if you persevere!

How Are Things On The Home Front?

Posted by admin April - 24 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off on How Are Things On The Home Front?

Coaches: How are things at home? If you have children, how are they doing… in school? in their sports? in their peer relationships? in their relationship with God? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you may be too engrossed in your coaching career and… spending too much time with other peoples’ kids instead of your own!

The Bible story in 1 Samuel is a classic example of a dad who was wrapped up in his work (a godly job for sure, but)… did not pay attention to what was going on at home. Eli was the high priest in Israel— a very prestigious job. He seemed well-suited for the job, too. Yet, he failed miserably on the home front! The Bible says, “His sons did not walk in his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice” (1 Sam. 8:3 NIV). God was not pleased. God said that “… his sons made themselves contemptible, and he (Eli) failed to constrain them” (1 Sam. 3:13 NIV).

As a parent and the leader in your home you need to answer this question: If God applied the same standard to your family as He did to Eli’s, how well would you measure up? Eli ended up losing his credibility and his children and, in the end, his career as high priest too.

Eli “missed the mark” because he made some critical errors in how he conducted his job and how he reared his children. Let’s see what we can observe and learn from Eli’s mistakes: 1) Eli had the wrong emphasis. He was a godly man and did a great job of being high priest for the nation of Israel, but not to his own children. 2) Eli had the wrong expectations. He thought that his sons would “get it” because they were around him at home and at church. Thus…. 3) Eli set the wrong example. It’s pretty obvious that Eli did not live out at home what he did at work. He was totally focused on his job, but where his family was concerned he was “blind” to his own shortcomings.

Leadership at home is not about exerting power or control over your family. It is about giving of your time, your energy… yourself to the people in your life who should matter the most.

Maybe it’s time to step back and evaluate how you’re doing on the home front! I love the saying about the old man who, on his death bed, looked back on his life and wished he’d spent more time at work!!!! (I don’t think so!!!) Your kids are only young once. Make sure you’re pouring yourself into the lives of your own children as much or more than you are the lives of your players— other peoples’ children!

3D Coach… Part 2

Posted by admin April - 14 - 2015 - Tuesday 1 COMMENT

This little book is revolutionizing the way I look at coaching! Coach Duke does such a good job of bringing out the key elements of going beyond just being a “First-Dimension” coach into the realm of being a “Second-Dimension” coach.

Chapter 11 is entitled “JOY.” He breaks down what he calls the “Emotion Matrix”— showing how powerful emotions are…. particularly to an athlete and how he functions in a competitive situation. For an athlete, emotion is usually related to activity and its eventual outcome. During a game, for instance, there is a constant flow of emotions as the contest evolves. The emotions that a player is experiencing can ultimately influence the outcome.

Obviously, some emotions enhance performance while others hinder it. But, did you know that some pleasant emotions can actually hinder performance? Duke calls these “pleasant-harmful” emotions. While some unpleasant emotions can actually be helpful! I’m not going to explain in depth because I want you to get a copy of this powerful little book and read it!

Finally, Dr. Duke talks about “Joy Robbers” in this chapter and presents some practical examples of how to bring the joy back to the game and your team. I love this statement he makes, “As I’ve studied the difference between first-dimension coaching and second-dimension coaching, I’ve come to the conclusion that the teams that succeed are the ones that don’t outwork their opponents but rather outplay them.” At first, you might reason that he’s talking about “playing better” during a game… I did! But…. THAT is “first-dimension” coaching. He actually means playing— as in having fun! Let me give you an example that he uses with his high school team in Florida (a very successful one, by the way!) He shares how on occassion his head coach blows the whistle and yells “Upside-down Time!” and the players go nuts! For the next 5 minutes or so, they run their Team Offense but… the Line gets to be the running backs and the Backs play the line! He says the kids love it! I can’t wait to try it this fall!!!

You want to create an atmosphere of JOY in your program. I’ve said it before… WHY do kids play football at your school? Why do they play for you?! When kids love what they do, all of you involved in your program will find unspeakable joy!!! That’s what sports are supposed to be…. right???!! We don’t do it for the money, do we??!!!