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A NEW WAY TO COACH

I was recently talking to a high school football player.  His season was over and he commented about what went on with the new craze of 7 on 7.  He came to me asking what I thought he should do.

         I did not answer him directly.  What I did was inquire as to how much fun he had playing football this past season.  He said it was OK.  The team had done well, he started, but you could tell there was something missing.  I probed further.  He told me of a game where he was playing defensive back.  The game was out of hand and one of his coaches kept screaming at the players on the field.  He was directing them and shouting instructions.  When the ball was snapped, he was not in position to make a play.  The wide receiver went by him in a flash and scored a touchdown.
       The next time they got on defense, the coach was yelling at him about his last play and demanding that he not let the wide receiver get past him.  He said he had to tune out the coach so he could do his job.  He stopped talking and asked me with his eyes what I thought.
       Here’s what I told him.  “If I was your coach I would have pulled you aside and told you, ‘Listen, I watched two hours of tape on this wide receiver.  Every time he points his right foot inward he runs a slant pattern.  Next time he does it I want you to jump the route.  If he fakes and goes long, I’ll take full responsibility for the play.  But it is important to me that you know I’m behind you and giving you an opportunity to use your skills to the best of your ability without having to worry about consequences.  I think you will play better this way and have a lot more fun.’”  His only response was, “Mr. Stanley, with knowledge from the heavens.”
      You see, it is not about winning and losing. It is about getting better, feeling good, and enjoying playing sports. Ask any DI athlete, and they will tell you some of the best games they played did not end in victory. Winning is the result of doing the little things right, embracing fundamentals and team sacrifice.
      This young man told me he is still thinking about what I told him that day. That should be our goal as coaches and parents. Not to have the children be our own personal joy stick or robot for our own status, but not to need us, be independent and grow, while maintaining and building upon the things we taught them, and they behavior we modeled.

Written by : VJS