Coaching for a Real “Win Forever”

I love  seeing coaches write about the long term effects of what coaching does to kids. Choose Your Coach Wisely I cringe when a coach tells me that his purpose is to make a kid ready for the next level. Because I know that is not right.

Because I know the next level to most coaches is high school, or college, pros. Instead it is to get them ready for now, and later in life.

From Gwinnett Sports Contributor RobfromNorCross:

Only about 17,000 freshman NCAA football positions open up every year for over 300,000 senior athletes to fill up. So about 6% of our high school athletes will get a spot on an NCAA roster.

Only 250 of college athletes are drafted each year into the NFL and most of them never play a single snap. There are only about 1600 pro football positions available total. So, less than 1 in a 1000 high school athletes will get drafted by the NFL, and much fewer than that will ever make a living playing football at the professional level.

But 1000 out of 1000 High School Football players will go on to become adult members of our communities and husbands and fathers to their families. That is what High School Football coaches should be hired to do. To leverage football and all the interest and passion it generates, and create young men who graduate from High School ready to take on the challenge of the biggest game of them all- LIFE!

Five Reasons Coaches do not properly get players ready for today:

  1.  Coaches do not know fundamentals themselves so how can they teach them? Many youth coaches are expert PlayStation Madden players. With little organizational and technical skill.
  2. A general lack of a principled philosophy. Philosophy is a word overused in coaching.  It sounds good but is seldom that it is deeply considered. When a value system is thin, ego often opts for a scoreboard win. Coaches must be held up to being stewards of the game and thus execute their mandate of a higher purpose. At that point we will see coaches teaching football as a life metaphor instead of wins and losses.
  3. The current athleticism and spread passing game has enamored coaches to steal more and more practice time away from fundamental, blocking and tackling. Instead focusing on the intricacies of timing patterns.
  4. Today’s concussion scares are allowing coaches to justify lack of fundamental coaching because of studies saying that most concussions occur during practice. (Ignoring the ones that say that they mostly occur during games).
  5. Many major colleges by October are going half gear in order to avoid injuries as thy prepare for the end of season run.

If you think these through, you will realize many of the rationalizations are not rational at all. Perhaps injuries are concussions are happening as an example because of not teaching how to properly block or tackle.

Four Reasons Coaches do not properly get players ready for tomorrow:

  1. The Al Davis Curse. Every sport has become enamored by the Raiders mantra of “Just Win Baby” . Alumni and fans are fixated on the wins. Big alumni and television money breeds a profits today mentality over a long term plan.  Ironically, ever since the Raiders embraced that corporate logo, they have never really experienced any sustained success. And as of this writing, the organization is one of the most consistently unsuccessful teams in the NFL.
  2. Poor Stewardship. If we do not see a responsibility to not just the team, organization and the game itself. Then it is a game of self more than others. One of the virtues of a team sport, is indeed teammates. Learning to not just play oneself, but for one another. To be duty bound for other. The same is true for coaches. I think many no longer operate from a long term view but having to win today. Which can cause a polarizing effect, coaching from fear of being fired and desperation. To pretend this does not effect the team is naive.
  3. Poorly Principled.  A terrific example of a high school coach who wins, but who I also understand is a worthy mentor is Bob Ladouceur of De La Salle High School who is one of the most successful football coaches ever.  From the above link the author of the movie about coach “Lad” mentions how the players assembled without any adults and did what I call, “self coach”. “They were having a conversation you would pray that kids would have on their own. They had learned their lessons so well, they had embraced the De La Salle concept so well. We stood there with our mouths opened. I was so impressed by that…This story was honed and built over 30 years; three decades of work went into formulating a program that turned our great young men,” Zelon said. Perhaps others might want to understand the roots of success, not just on the field, but in helping boys become men.This reminds me of Loyola High School in L.A.  which teaches the concept of becoming “a man for others”. A broader concept beyond football as they teach it. But certainly where is there a better place to start this philosophy than on the field?
  4. Are your guys part of something special? Great football teams have a certain swagger. They just simply know they are part of something bigger.  It isn’t necessarily intimidation factors. Its just who they are. They are part of something rooted in principles and values that sustain them through the season and in going forward in their life.  Knowing that what you got makes you special for ever  will make anyone play just a bit harder. And in a game often won by a small margin. That is the difference that makes the difference.
NCAA Football 2004

NCAA Football 2004 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So if all you think coaching is just Xs and Os. Then I would suggest getting  good at PlayStation. Snoop Dog/Lion/Todd  is great at it and I seriously doubt he can coach much.

Learning to  Xs and Os is easy. In fact it is only just math. And simple math. As one of the great local coaches here in the South Bay, Joe Mendoza mentored me that we need to create numbers to create angles, and angles create plays. That’s it.

But the human spirit will respond to spirit.  A team is a reflection of a coach. Today and twenty years from now.  The won games will soon fade from memories and into obscurity. However,  your team’s wins and losses in life will be influenced by your impact for generations.  I like that. I am a bit egotistical that way.

Football coaching is not the only issue. At issue is all adults who are involved in sports.  There is a good article here about soccer coaches yelling out to players with, “What Are You Doing!?” 

A meaningless question that would get any executive fired from a boardroom, but somehow gets uttered across fields across America.

Be the Fix!

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