My intent is to keep this short…dunno how that’ll work! First of all, for everyone who celebrates Christmas, I hope you had an awesome one!
Here are my football-coaching related wishes for you and the sport:
For both players and coaches (especially at the men’s level), I hope you treat the game as your personal “big time”. I had the pleasure of sitting down with 3-4 other high school coaches to talk with Bob Cope (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Cope) about 18 years ago. He talked a lot about the business of the profession, and the one thing that stuck with me is this, “The Big Time is wherever you’re at right now.” I hear a lot of players (almost always men and some coaches) say things like, “It’s only semi-pro.” That drives me crazy. Why do it if you’re not going to put 100% into it? Heck, I coached my son’s 9-year old winter baseball team one year. I brought a football coaches’ perspective to the practice. I had a plan, I assigned areas of responsibility for my coaches, I made sure the practices were upbeat, organized and fun. One of the parents said something about “a lot of effort for a Little League team” and my reply was, “Do they deserve any less than my best just because they’re 9?” It’s the same thing at whatever level you’re at – semi-pro, women’s, high school or youth. Those athletes who are busting their butt for you (or the coaches if you’re a player) deserve your best. I hope you bring it each and every practice.
For coaches, may you not run boring offenses. If you do, please win. Especially at the women’s level when we are trying to attract fans, there’s nothing worse than running a boring offense and losing. Winning cures everything, so if you can be dominant with boring, OK. Otherwise, remember that we’re in the entertainment business.
Along those lines, please don’t underestimate what your players are capable of doing and learning. Stretch their limits and you’ll be amazed.
Finally, may you never stop learning. I’ve been going to coaching clinics each year since 1991. But what impressed me was seeing Herb Meyer, who holds the San Diego Section record for wins, sitting in the front row and taking notes until the day he retired. Coach John Konecki of the Chicago Force (also two-time Team USA coach and Illinois high school state champion) and I bounce ideas off each other, despite the very real possibility that we’ll be opponents in 2014. Nick Saban recently invited Lane Kiffin down to Tuscaloosa to evaluate the Alabama offense.
There’s always either something new to learn, or a new and better way of getting something done, or teaching it to your players. When it comes to helping your program, it doesn’t matter where those ideas come from.
That’s it – it’s time to settle down for the Bowl Season, which is my favorite time of the year, where teams pull out all of the stops. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in 2014.