“Devastating Gaffe”

February 24, 2010

As we continue our series on failure, the above picture captures the sickening emotion Holland’s Sven Kramer experienced after his coach told him his was disqualified from a speed skating competition at the 2010 Olympics. Being the world-record holder in the 10,000 meters, Kramer was considered a favorite in this event.  But a gold medal was not to be.  Kramer was disqualified because he crossed over into another skating lane when he was not supposed to. How devastating to lose a gold medal because of a preventable mistake!

The interesting sidelight in this saga is that Kramer was ultimately not responsible for this mistake. His coach had gotten confused in the lap count and told Kramer to switch lanes at the improper time. The skaters alternate lanes at certain intervals to level the skating distance of an oval track with inner and outer lanes. Kramer’s coach, Gerard Kembers, told press corp members after the race that his “world collapsed” and that “this is the worst moment of my  career.” The decision and direction of this coach cost an athlete an ultimate prize.

As coaches, we shoulder the responsibility that our words/influence have on the athletes  with whom we work. In this instance we see where words have a negative effect. Trust between team members and the coach is imperative if the coach is to be effective, but that trust can be broken or “doubted.”  Sven Kramer has been slow to blame others for mistakes that have occurred during his racing career, but this Olympics has changed that. His coach is to blame for this critical mistake. We leave these last two images for you to dwell on as powerful reminders of a coach’s influence on today’s athlete–for good or for bad.


Getting To The Podium

February 15, 2010

The podium at the Olympics is a place where rewards collide with accomplishments. There is nothing like it. As an olympic athlete, reaching the podium and having a medal placed around your neck becomes a place of recognition that few rarely attain. The fulfillment of years of sacrifice culminates in your name and country going into the record books for the ages. But what is the cost of getting to that pinnacle? For some, just getting to the podium is not enough; it must be the highest spot-the gold medal spot-to be considered a success. As we have approached the area of failing as a coach and an athlete, we must examine the cost of failure and what it means for one’s future endeavors and challenges in life. Dealing with the failure of one moment, especially at the Olympics, can be paralyzing to a world-class athlete.  The bitterness of defeat can leave a bad taste that can last forever. A radio broadcast from Feb 8, 1992 caught our attention.   The link below leads you to the page where it is archived. Listen to the perspective of previous Olympians, and, as a coach, consider once more the cost of setting the podium as the ultimate goal and the possibility of disappointing circumstances that keep that goal out of reach.

Select the link below, and then select the radio broadcast number 2 about Olympic disappointments on the page. You need about 7.5 minutes to listen to it in its entirety.

http://archives.cbc.ca/sports/olympics/topics/1341/


“Five Rules of Being Human”

February 11, 2010

The Super Bowl has come and gone with a victor and a loser in the W-L column. The Olympics now loom on the horizon. Each of these competitive events contains elements that can be considered failure at some point. Not taking home a gold medal can be considered a failure . Throwing an interception can be considered as failure. Falling on the ice can be seen as letting down an entire country. Not making the tackle becomes fodder for the armchair quarterback.

As we explore this topic of failure, one of our readers sent in these “Rules of Being Human.”  Take a look.

Rule #1:     You will learn lessons.

Rule #2:     There are no mistakes – only lessons.

Rule #3:      A lesson is repeated until it is learned. (Unless you don’t care)

Rule #4:      If you don’t learn the easy lessons, they get harder.

Rule #5:     You’ll know you’ve learned a lesson when your actions change.

Coaches have the responsibility of  helping their athletes not only deal with success but also with overcoming failure. This lesson may not be learned best by winning  but by helping them see loss as a gain. Is this possible? It is not only possible; it’s a must! Coaches must model this in their own response to a loss or a moment of failure if they expect their athletes to do the same. We all have these points in our lives, yet we continue to judge success based only on wins and losses. One pertinent definition of success is “the favorable or prosperous termination (ending) of an endeavor or attempt.”  Does this mean the Indy Colts are failures as coaches and players? Are the New Orleans players and coaches the only successful ones? Is the W-L column the deciding factor here?

The above picture is a powerful statement about how to live life because our failures should not define us. If we are not  building our own character as well as helping others build theirs, then we are failing because we are not building something that will last beyond  our lifetimes. As humans we were created to represent and live out success in ways that  do not show up in the final stats. How are you defining and modeling “success”?


“Failure or Success?”

January 29, 2010

This drawing probably sums up many of the emotions a coach or player has experienced that has ever competed between the lines on a court of competition. Over the course of the next few days, TCC would like to dwell on thoughts and individual moments that people have experienced when it comes to failing at some point in their lives. It is our goal to inspire the readers of this blog to evaluate how they handle these difficult times in their lives and help bring about change that assists them in fulfilling  the destiny God has for them. There is no other experience in life that paralyzes us as coaches or as players more than failng or the fear of failing.  Everyone goes through this and every coach has experienced a situation in which a team member has posed like this drawing portrays. Sometimes our best does not bring a “W” in the “W-L” stats. The best coaching that one will ever do is during these moments. This is exactly why The Coaches Channel exists: to encourage coaches and to help build character in their coaching staff and team members.   Success only comes when we “get back up and dust off our britches” because, ultimately, failure will propel you to success. Others have experienced these moments so let’s remember to encourage each other in moving toward success through our failures.  Take a  minute to click on this link below and see some examples of this truth. 

                                              “Famous Failures


“The Superbowl Off The Field”

January 27, 2010

With just days till the 2010 Superbowl in Miami, the greatest competition may not be on the field but off the field. With much talk about the possible forthcoming Superbowl ad highlighting the story of Pam Tebow (Tim’s mother) and her decision not ot have an abortion versus having the child, TCC checked into her story and found some amazing character issues and core values at work.

Pam Tebow was serving with her husband, Bob, as a missionary to the Phillipines back in 1986. Somehow,  she contracted a disease called amoebic dysentery. This disease is usually caused by the intake of contaminated food or drink. This caused her to fall into a coma for a time. As she was being treated with strong antibiotics, doctors discovered she was pregnant. “[My husband] prayed for a son: Timothy. He came home and asked everyone to pray. Everyone prayed except me, because I already had four sons,” Pam Tebow jokingly shared at a recent gathering back in May of 2009. Once she found out she was pregnant, her doctor said that a healthy birth was nearly impossible. The doctors “didn’t think of it as a life; they thought of it as a mass of fetal tissue,” Pam said. They urged her to abort the baby, explaining that the strong medicines had caused irreversible damage. During this time, Pam nearly lost their baby four times but refused to consider the abortion. She recalled making a pledge to God and siding with her husband, ”If you will give us a son, we’ll name him ‘Timothy,’ and we’ll make him a preacher.” Even though the ad has not been shown as of the date of this posting, Tim is “preaching” today in doing this ad with his mother.

As a coach your character comes out of what you have been taught as well as what you have experienced.  TCC believes that Tim Tebow’s mother may be one of the greatest coaches of all time. She stated that, in homeschooling her children, one of her greatest goals in teaching them was to prepare them for handling disappointments. This is a definite goal of any coach. If your players can handle this issue, you have succeeded.

Tim also shares that he has been taught to lead with encouragement and not criticism. With all the furor and arguing over this one possible ad in the 2010 Superbowl, we are confronted not so much about what we believe about the abortion issue but as to what decision we will make in difficult times. It must be based upon what we believe even when we are deeply criticized for it. Character matters! Just ask Pam Tebow!


“Time To Go Home”

January 20, 2010

When a coach retires, people who have been influenced by him or her share how that individual helped to shape their lives. TCC has reflected recently upon the career of Coach Bobby Bowden as he stepped down as head coach of the Florida State Seminoles. Our attention was directed to a statement that he made in an interview recently when Coach Bowden said that he wanted to be remembered as a man who “did it the right way”. A former player on one of his FSU teams, Derrick Brooks said, “His longevity speaks for itself. Coaching generations of players from grandfathers to fathers to sons. A lot of people don’t get the chance to do that. When you start to think about Coach Bowden that way, you really appreciate his greatness. … When you look at Coach Bowden, you see integrity, a winning tradition and a coach who did it the right way. With everything that’s going on in college football now, you’re going to miss that consistency.” What a compliment!!! His W-L record is not what was touted but his integrity. That is what the coaching realm is all about. Are you able to leave your career as a coach with former players speaking of you like Brooks, a Tampa Bay Bucs star speaks of Coach Bowden? In order to win 388 games and last 43 years as a coach, your life has to have things set in order. The Fellowship of Christian athletes has even named an annual national award after him. The National Bobby Bowden Award, which honors one college football player for their achievements on the field, in the classroom and for his conduct as a “faith model” in the community is a signature of what Coach Bowden believed in. Nominees must have a 3.0 GPA or better and must also have the backing of his school’s athletic cirector and head football coach. The award is presented each year prior to the Bowl Championship Series” national title game and from all that has been written about him, those qualitities were ones that he desired for his players. The following remark sums up the order of priorities his life has taken over the years. After Coach Bowden had fielded many questions at his last press conference after the 2010 Gator Bowl game, Ann Bowden, wife of Bobby Bowden of 60 years, walked up to him and said: “Time to go home, honey.”  She gave him a kiss and hug and the crowd applauded. In walking away from this position as a coach, TCC also applauds a man who has set the bar very high for the rest of those who aspire to be a great coach.


“Strike 2 and 3”

January 18, 2010

Per a report from The Associated Press, Jose Offerman, manager of the Licey Tigers, was banned for life from the Dominican Winter Baseball League today after striking an umpre with his fist. This incident was the second one in which Offerman has “attacked” someone on the baseball field. He has been an all-star player in MLB so he has plenty of experience between the lines. TCC supports the President of the Dominican League, Leonardo Matos Berrido, for taking this action because as a coach your actions set an example for all who participate and also for those who sit in the stands. A new approach to coaching must be adopted where we recognize the responsibility of leading a team and commit to be coaches of character as well as wins. We salute The Domincan League and hope that professional baseball will follow suite in their realms of discipline.