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.
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!
From the New York Times this last weekend:
“Ryan turned one of the N.F.L.’s most clandestine operations into an open book. The Jets collapsed at the end of 2008 in part because of the tense atmosphere. Ryan changed that, changed a culture, changed the way people felt about coming to work.”
This comment from a media source caught our attention in that the last part of it is what every coach would love to see happen on their team. When your players want to come to practice, 2-a-days, the games, the meetings, the PR functions, the press conferences, etc., that says something. It does not matter what level you coach at. When your team “wants to come to work” it says something about you as a leader. To motivate people to follow a vision takes those individuals buying into what one believes in and as a coach, inspiring a team has to start in your heart and then be transferred to your players. To play as a team requires a total collective buyout and not just a few team members. One of Rex Ryan’s former players, Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens was quoted as saying that Rex had the heart of a father. Your leadership as a coach has to begin with caring more about the player than the plays he makes. Otherwise you prostitue the player and he becomes just an object to your own selfish motives. When you care about someone, then you can lead them somewhere.
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.
Well, a new era in coaching may be dawning. With the movement of Lane Kiffin to another coaching position we see where a coach gets his dream job and then what ramifications others have to deal with. The timing of these moves place student athletes in positons of conflict as to what they should do. The domino affect of a coach’s move continues to cause warious emotions of anger, confusion, heartbreak and even excitement in the lives of others who have depended or will depend upon the word of that coach. The coaching business has really come to the forefront with this incident as student athletes are really taking the brunt. Listen to talk radio and look at the blogs and you will obtain opinions about what people are really thinking of some coaches who are making a move on the ladder of the coaching profession. The era of climbing this coaching ladder has gone to skipping a ladder wrung. Buyouts and breaking of contracts have gone to a new level. As the coach of a recreational league team or a professional team or the in-between levels, one must decide and walk out what they believe about one’s word to a team and the athletes that will be playing for that individual. TCC stands firm in it’s belief that coaches must carefully weigh their words and “their promises” to an athlete before they proceed with exhaling those words out of their mouths. The timing of a coaching move affects more than just the coach and his family. Has the business of athletic coaching and his W-L record overrun the character of a coach being a good platform to hire a coach? Recruits who depend upon a coach’s word in choosing a place to get an education and play a competitive sport need to evaluate what personal character is inside the coach before the recruits commit to a team.
Last Saturday I was invited to Celina, Tennessee, a small community about 120 miles away from Nashville. The high school there was honoring a long time former coach by naming the new football stadium after him.
John Teeples coached football from 1955-1969 and in that time had only one losing season. He also won two major bowl games that would be considered state championships now. He did all of this while coaching without one single assistant and often having less than 20 players on his teams.
About 70 of his former players surprised him at the luncheon. Men who were as old as 70 came from all over the area and out of state to show their love and respect. They stood and talked about how Coach Teeples shaped their lives by being tough yet fair and at all times caring for them. He’d pick up the ones that lived in the country and bring them to school and would take them home at night. He was their Sunday School teacher and his wife was their adopted mother.
Here they were, grown, even old men, with tears in their eyes hugging and loving a man who was so overwhelmed that he simply sat in a chair teary eyed. Coach Teeples called it the greatest honor of his life. What it told me was that if you “Coach for Life” you can leave a legacy behind that can affect generations to come.
If you’re a coach now, what kind of legacy are you leaving behind? Only the players you’re coaching now will be able to answer that question.
I got an email the other day from a woman with a son who she said was very depressed because he’d injured his neck during practice with his high school football team. It wasn’t life threatening and there wasn’t any fear of his being paralyzed, but he was told by doctors that surgery, to fuse two discs, was required and that he would never play football again.
She told me the surgery went well and he couldn’t wait to go out to football practice just to see his teammates. As he was standing on the sidelines, wearing a neck collar, a number of his teammates came over on their way out just to wish him well, but only one of seven coaches stopped to ask him how he was doing and it wasn’t the head coach.
The mother told me it bothered her son a great deal and her as well. The coaching staff went straight out onto the field and got busy “coaching”. This young man was no longer any use on the field, so he was no longer important, or so it seemed.
I don’t want to be overly critical because I don’t know the coaches, but it’s a stark reminder that anyone in the the coaching business is “Coaching for Life” and to get so wrapped up in the game could mean that you’re leaving behind a trail of tears.
Is that worth it?