Taking Steps Toward Leadership

Here’s my background:  I have a degree in Music and one in Business.  I am certified and licensed as a Series 65 Stockbroker, a Life and Health Insurance agent, a John Maxwell Speaker/Coach/Trainer.

Let me coach your football team.

???!!!!  NOOOOOO You’re not qualified to coach MY team!  Get out!  What’s the matter with you?

What if I could?  I’d be a much different coach than you though.

When the team came in and saw me, they’d be confused at best, skeptical and dismissive at worst.  Then I’d open my mouth and they’d be absolutely sure I’d lost my marbles.  I’d say, “What shall we do in practice today?”  What kind of answers do you think they’d come up with?  “We will be here for 2 hours and you would want to make some progress I assume so that you can win games, right?”  Well…  It’s August and HOT as HECK, let’s practice inside.  “Ok.  Practice what?”  Um…  “What kind of activities do you need in order to be successful on the playing field?”  Some bright spot on the team would say speed, another would say strength, another–teamwork, another workable plays.  “Ah!!!  Now we’re getting somewhere!  Shall we start with the gym and do some conditioning or start with the game films?”  Have the defense go to the conditioning exercises and the offense go to the game films.  Then switch halfway through.  “OK, let’s see how that works.”

Do you see where I’m going with this?  The team is coming up with the procedures and the methods.  Do they now have a vested interest in their success?  What happens when the linemen on offense and defense work together and the offensive back line and the defensive back line works together?  What happens when the special teams watch all the kick offs and kick off returns and critiques them and discovers a way to make sure they always put the opposing team at a disadvantage.  They OWN that.  What happens when the teams watch the films and find their own weaknesses and talk out how to change them to strengths?  They OWN that.  What happens when the team comes up against a much stronger opponent?  Will they be able to improvise on the field?  What happens when they face a running team that shuts down every other offense in the league?  Will they come up with a strategy and tactically work the ball down the field or stop the opponent’s progress?  They will OWN that too.  Do they still need trainers and teachers?  Yes, but now they seek them out.  They all know how to play, but they don’t need someone else to motivate them to win and play their best.  That comes from within now.  They don’t throw their hands up when things don’t go their way, they interact and think like a team.  They know that losing a game is not a character flaw.  They don’t need fixing because they already know what to do.  They start asking themselves the awareness questions that helps them to achieve a higher level of performance than they could get from someone yelling and berating them for doing something wrong.  They will adapt their playing style to their own strengths instead of the ideal someone else has for the perfect team.  And next year, the dynamic of the team may change, but the process can be repeated and new strengths will arise with the maturity of the experienced players and the talents of the newcomers.

My part in coaching?  Asking the right questions.  No, I don’t have to have a football degree and 12 years of experience.  But believe me, when those kids watch college or professional football, they’ll do it with different eyes.  When they go into the gym in the off season, they’ll work to improve their speed, agility and strength on their own, and maybe with gym buddies.  They’ll think, “Hmmm, I got tired about 1/2 way through the 2nd quarter.  I should work on my stamina.”  Or “Wow that guy pushed me all over the field!  I need some more leg strength!”  “My quarterback and I don’t really connect on the field when we’re in a passing situation.  We need some time together to get into each others’ rhythms.”  They all know this stuff instinctively, but my questions and their own questions bring the information to the surface.

Coaching makes the player more aware of what’s going on around him and in him, and that brings solutions to mind quicker.  Quicker solutions mean better performance and brings up new questions.  Each time the team grows, they grow the capacity to grow, and there’s no upper limit on that.

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