This post is an excerpt from my book about the 2011 State Championship Head Football Coaches and the common characteristics of their programs. 108 coaches from 42 states were involved in this ground breaking research project. Coaches Choice is publishing this book. You can pre order it here, save 20%!!
It is interesting to have a chapter in a book about building a championship-caliber football program that is titled “It’s Not About Winning.” It is like reading a book about riding a bike telling you that it is not about pedaling. However, one of the most common statements I received back from the 2011 State Champion Head Coaches is “it is not about winning.” Coach after coach made statements to me like “if you want to win a state championship, do not think about winning a state championship” or “do not focus on winning” or “winning is simply an afterthought.”
At first it was hard for me to decipher if these coaches really meant this, or if it was just easy for them to say since they had just won a state championship. Many of the coaches surveyed have won multiple state championships, and have career winning percentages which are heavily lopsided towards the winning side. Isn’t it easy for them to say “don’t worry about winning?” How many 0-10 coaches say “do not worry about winning?”
But when you read through all of the research, they really mean this. Winning can’t be one of the sole focuses of your program and your purpose as a coach. If it is, and you don’t win, you will have a very, very long season.
WHY DO YOU COACH?
WHAT TRULY MOTIVATES YOU?
It is time to dig deep here! A gut check. Halftime in your coaching career so to speak. You know that time when you go in to the locker room to circle up with your coaches, to look back on the first half of the game in order to evaluate what has happened? This is that time for YOU! Why do you coach? For what reasons are you in this profession? I know it is not about the money!
Have you ever made a list of why you coach? Have you ever written a mission statement for yourself as a coach, to help guide you?
Most of you probably got in to this profession because of the reasons I did. You love football, you love working with teenagers, you love teaching, you had a great high school football experiences with great coaches who you admired. So, at a young age, probably during high school or right afterwards, you made a decision that you wanted to get in to coaching because you wanted to be like those men who devoted so much of their time to shaping you as a person. Does that have anything to do with winning? Absolutely not.
You probably started coaching for peanuts, or maybe just a free hat, t shirt and jacket. You wanted to be a part of a coaching staff and football program so bad that you made decisions to sacrifice financially; to miss things your friends were doing during the summer; and maybe you even to take a job at a less desirable school. But you did it to coach. Do not lose sight of that. Remember, the reasons you wanted to coach probably do not have much at all to do about winning. These state championship coaches testify to the fact that if you grind and grind it out just to win, you will be empty if that doesn’t happen, and you will be empty if it does happen.
So, I will close with this for you to think about today:
WHY DO YOU COACH?