Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

What Are You KNOWN For?

Posted by admin June - 3 - 2021 - Thursday

A friend of mine who sells and installs home security systems recently did some work for one of my former assistant coaches… who also happened to be a former player. Of course, they got to talking about our high school’s football program and what it was like to work for “Coach J.” I found it very enlightening to hear what my friend gleaned from their conversation.

He said that “2 things stand out in my mind after having played for and coached with Lew.” First, he was very competitive. The guy just did not like to lose. I think that it was what drove him to have such a strong work ethic.” Never a truer statement! I have been competitive since I was a youth. I did not like to lose at anything… whether it was a “friendly” game of ping pong in a friend’s basement or a championship football game. It was a blessing and a curse; for I also possessed a tremendous fear of failure. That fear ate at me my whole life. But, it motivated me to work as hard as I could to achieve success. With the help of the Lord, I have been able to “build a fire wall” between who I am (a child of God) and what I do (coach football.) Now, I still don’t like to lose but… my reaction to it is much improved!

The other trait that my former colleague stated to my friend was, “Coach J was extremely organized.” That, I think, was one of the keys to our sustained success over the years. I was meticulous about preparing our staff and our players for a practice or game. A good friend once told me to pay attention to details. Little things CAN make a BIG difference. (What a great name for a book!!! ha ha!) I wanted our guys to be properly prepared for any situation that might arise during a game. I love the old adage: “Failing to prepare (properly) is preparing to fail!” How true.

The last thing I would add is a trait that kept me going when times got tough. Though our won-loss record my last 23 years as a head coach was very good, the first 5 years were, at best, average. Then once we started winning more games than we lost…. there were teams at the top that we still couldn’t compete against. It was only because of perseverance that I was able to “stick with it” and become an overcomer. I learned this from a Bible lesson that I heard at an Fellowship of Christian Athletes event. The coach talked about how often, in the New Testament, that we are encouraged to persevere. My life verse became Philippians 3:14. It says… “PRESS ON towards the goal of the higher calling. “Press on!” What’s the little word in: PRESSURE? See it? Yep… press. If something is worth achieving, there is going to be pressure brought to bear. If you want to achieve that goal, you will have to press on. Most people lack the self-discipline and fortitude to see something through to the end. Don’t let the “pressure” stop you! Press on towards your goal!

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