June 18, 2009
It is always very difficult for me to put down in words how I did or do things; therefore, I have a tendency to ramble a lot (as you well know). So, I’ll give it a try.
The way I coached at the beginning of my career is a great deal different than I do now. Over the course of time, coaching has evolved for me. It has grown to what it is today out of a period of introspection about coaching. After the first three years of coaching football and baseball, I left teaching and coaching to take a good look at what the Lord wanted me to do with my life. Up to that point, I separated my spiritual mission with my professional one.
Either by divine intervention or me coming to my senses, I decided that they should be one in the same. I decided to get back into teaching and coaching after a year’s hiatus. But before I did, I sat down and decided that I wasn’t going to coach by the seat of my pants. So, I sat down and decided to develop a general philosophy of coaching, a mission statement (what was it that I wanted to accomplish in coaching), core values. I was going to develop a few customs and courtesies in the program. I was going to develop some expectations from the players through their performance, discipline, and training. The final area that needed to be identified was that of developing relationships with fellow coaches, players and/or teamwork.
Well, this was a pretty daunting task…but it is still a work in progress. It came out in written form and is still sitting on my desk. I look at it once in awhile to remind me of my purpose in life. I have also made copies for my two sons to place on their desks to refer to every so often.
So, what could I share with you that would be what I consider to be the most important area that helped me in my career.
I would say that when I sat down and identified my dream of what I wanted to get accomplished in my life.
Men of any consequence in this world, at some time or another, sat down and identified their dream and set down goals to reach that dream. Of course those can change with circumstances. (Sam, yours may change when you see that little face look into your face for the first time). Then, you fight like crazy to reach those goals. Everything else is vanity and like grasping for the wind.
I had to ask myself…what drives you? What is your purpose in life? What is it that pushes your button? What gives you the emotional power to struggle, and press on to reach those goals?
Sam, there are forty year-old men walking around today disappointed and discouraged because they haven’t realized their dream. Why? They didn’t have the emotional power?
My power that drives me to live this way in all aspects of my life is the fact that I want to glorify the Lord God Almighty. To get caught up in the throws of that vision drives me to walk worthy of Him and what He has called me to do. That is my calling in life.
Take that philosophy or vision and apply it to whatever your hand finds to do. It could be in the business world, the professional world, the service world. A player that is in the throws of being the best football player he can drives him emotionally farther than he or anyone else can imagine…maybe even beyond any natural limitations. He can soar to great heights and can accomplish anything. (Read or re-read “The Little Engine That Could”). The vision and dream that is the steam that drove him can be found in the human machine.
I tell players, what do you think would happen when a whole team gets locked deeply into their hearts one vision – one plan – one mission – one goal – one heart – one soul – one voice – one direction – one execution. That is what makes those in the Army, Marines, Navy, etc. so tough! They are working together because their lives depend on it…if I can get players to perform together as if their lives were hanging in the balance – what kind of team would we have?
Is that going too far for the game of football? I don’t think so. Isn’t that what we want our children to learn? Don’t we want them to learn this concept early in life and in the arena of a game rather that wait until it may be too late? Aren’t we called to win the battle of life? How are we doing in the leadership of our country, our communities, our homes?
If I can get this concept through to my players and make it a part of their attitudes – it will eliminate laziness, selfishness, unwarranted pride. I believe that it might take away greed that has so encompassed our way of thinking in this society. It is then replaced with desire, determination, diligence and discipline – all ingredients for victory. What is victory? The total release of yourself toward a goal.
You can want something more than any other player or team…but if you don’t put in the total effort…you will go begging at the end of the season.
There is an author named H.A. Ironside has written three little quips that I like and have tried to make it a truism in my life:
“Talk and walk must go side by side!”
“Words and ways should be synonymous!”
That is my philosophy of coaching. I will leave you with a quote and two names to google and read their stories:
“If you aim at nothing in this world…you will hit it every time!”
Alexander Graham Bell – had a vision to educate deaf people.
Henry Ford – had a vision to produce an affordable, reliable, efficient automobile.