Sunday, March 30, 2014

Talent Isn't Enough

One of the funny things about athletics is that anyone can win on any given day. Sure, the team with the most talent is the team you would expect to win, but how many times have you seen the more talented team lose? How does a Mercer beat a Duke? How does an Appalachian State beat a powerhouse like Michigan? How does a program enjoy sustained, consistent success?

The fact is simple: TALENT IS NOT ENOUGH! And yes, I said it in all caps. Over the years I have had numerous players who had talent. A few of them went on to have an opportunity to play at the highest level on Sundays. Others went on to play college football where they earned a degree. And a few of them, unfortunately, thought they could get by solely on their talent. Most of them never had a chance to follow their dreams. Why did some of them enjoy great success while others did not?

They all had five things in common, that made them uncommonly good!

1. A Great Attitude
They were always positive regardless of the situation. They had tremendous enthusiasm. They had a joy about them that people were drawn to. They rarely, if ever complained about anything. They were always fully engaged in every activity we did. They listened and asked questions.

2. Relentless Work Ethic
The greatest players had the greatest work ethic. Those who enjoy great success rarely, if ever, miss a workout. They never cut a rep or set. In fact, they do much more than what they are asked to do. Every rep they put forth their best effort. They are drenched in sweat regardless of the difficulty of the workout. They learned to embrace the grind to the point it wasn't a grind.

3. Mental Toughness
They are able to overcome adversity without a loss of enthusiasm or effort. They like to be challenged, and in fact, thrive when they face pressure and adversity. They don't complain when things don't go there way. They are always searching for the solution.

4. Tremendous Discipline
They rarely put poison in their body. These guys all made a choice to avoid drugs and alcohol. They put their long term goals ahead of their short term desires. Self-discipline is simply about making right choices. When faced with a dilemma, they made the choice that would take them one more step towards reaching their goals.

5. Bring out the best in others
They were able to help those around them perform at higher levels. That is when you are truly a championship quality player. When you can help elevate the game of others, you are well on your way to being a great player. Michael Jordan exemplified this fact.

I have seen first hand what happens when players, coaches, and programs think that talent is enough. They consistently underachieve.

Our job as coaches is to do everything in our power to develop our student-athletes to be the best they can be. This takes time. It is hard. Putting a plan together is not easy. Coaching the details takes effort. This is why most programs are not able to enjoy tremendous success. They are not willing to do the things it takes to be their best.

As coaches, it is our job to do everything we can to help our players perform in the five areas listed above. It is our job to build a culture that leads our players to accomplish more than they should. If we expect them to outwork their talent, then we have to outwork ours.

There is nothing that disappoints me more than when coaches give mediocre effort. And then, they try to justify that mediocrity. We have to look in the mirror and know that we have done everything in our power to develop our players to be the best they can be. Anything short of that is cheating our athletes.

In January of 2016 I published a couple of iBooks that can help your program with X's and O's. The first is on Installing RPO's into any offense. Here is a link to the iBooks version: The ibooks version includes explanations, diagrams, and video clips on multiple RPO Concepts. It will give you a simple process for implementing them into your offense.
If you don't have an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, you can order the Amazon version for the Kindle. It has everything except the embedded video. You can order it here:

I also wrote a book on Tempo. It will greatly help you build a multiple tempo system with simple communication that will allow your kids to play with confidence. It also had over an hour of video clips! You can order the ibooks version here:

Order the Amazon Kindle version here:

One of the keys to our success was tremendous preparation!The key to  preparation was our outstanding group of documents we used for all three phases. If you are looking for fully editable and customizable documents that you can tailor to your program, I have made mine available. 

Here is a link to my offensive game planning documents:
It includes everything from a scouting report template, to practice plans, to a two-sided color call sheet, and more! Each of the nine documents are fully editable and customizable! Order today for under $15 and download them tonight!

Here is a link to the defensive game planning documents. It includes 12 fully editable and customizable documents.

And finally, I put together a special teams resource. This has everything you need, included drill tape, practice tape, and game footage. It includes teaching presentations and scouting forms just for special teams!

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