When I was first starting out in the job as head coach, we used to do an extensive evaluation of the coaching staff and the overall football program. After a particularly long and negative coach’s evaluation, the coach looked at me and asked a very simple question, “Coach, if you wanted me to do these things differently, why didn’t you just tell me at the time you saw me doing things another way?" To be honest, I didn’t have a good answer for him. He was right and it changed the course of our coach evaluations in the future. Over the years, we did our best to evaluate, observe, and correct, on a daily basis. We decided improvement was not going to be delayed until an end of the year evaluation.
1. DON'T WAIT a single day to change what needs to be changed today.
For most of the 31 years as a head coach, we had three basic goals.
1. Win the first game
2. Win the conference
3. Win the championship.
After reading a book by Joshua Medcalf called, “Burn Your Goals”, we changed our approach to goal setting. One of Medcalf’s main points was most goals were not meaningful on a daily basis. It occurred to me our three goals meant nothing to our guys pounding iron in February. Through the inspiration of another book by Jon Gordon called, “One Word That Will Change Your Life”, we decided to “burn our goals” and just have one word to describe our goal, “TODAY”. We are going to wake up every morning and focus all of our attention and effort to make TODAY the very best we can. We will have the best weightlifting session, or the best practice, or the best film session we can possibly have and then wake up tomorrow and make it even better. I encourage you to check out another book called, “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. Look at what he says about the 1% better every day: "A slight change in your daily habits can guide your life to a very different destination."
2. MAKE TODAY THE VERY BEST
I saw a picture a couple years ago of Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple. It was said to be the the last picture taken of him. After a tough battle with cancer, Steve Jobs passed away on October 5, 2011. In his last picture, he was frail, and could only stand with the help of the man standing beside him. At the time of his death, he was worth about 7 billion dollars. How much time would he have traded for that vast amount of wealth? For 7 billion dollars, he couldn’t buy another second on this earth and neither can you or I.
Everything I’ve have learned or experienced is gone when I’m gone, if I haven’t shared it. How many times a day do I have an opportunity to pat someone on the back or say a nice word? As long as I have time, I have the opportunity to decide how I’m going to use it. It is important to take every opportunity to connect with our players, coaches, teachers, and people in our community. After coaching for so many years, I have the opportunity to connect my friends with each other from all over the country. We all face the same problems wherever we coach. One of my great thrills is to connect my coaching buddy in California with my coaching buddy in Georgia. We have the chance to put like minded people together from all over the country. Some of these connections have the potential to last long after we have hung up the whistle.
New Year’s resolutions, for most of us, they just don’t last. After many years of failure to keep my resolutions, I have started to focus on a very few behaviors, attitudes, or approaches that can make me better. If I sit down today and writer down 5 things I want to do better in the coming year, the obvious question is why would I wait until January 1st to begin? I’m not, I'm going to start TODAY.