November is the month for Thanksgiving. December is the Season of Giving… Giving is the secret to success in life and football.
This post marks the start of my third year writing this blog and I hope it’s given you as much as it’s given me. Thanks for following along over the last 24 months, and if you’re new, thanks as well for joining the journey.
In a social media-soaked world often highlighting consumption, greed, and near instant gratification, I think it’s important to begin the New Year focused on others. While attending the AFCA convention 20 years ago, I had the pleasure of sitting in on a presentation by Zig Ziglar. He entertained and inspired a room of 1,000 coaches for over an hour; but there was one line he said that has stuck with me for the past two decades, “You can have everything you want in life if you start by giving others what they want.” Soon after, I began using the Eugene Sue quote, “The hand that gives, gathers.”
Arm yourself with these two quotes as you enter the New Year. Do not focus on what you want. We all want to win a state championship. We all want to go undefeated. But that cannot be your focus. Success in coaching comes from providing your players with what they want.
To know what your players want, you need to understand the Millennial Generation who make up today’s teams. If you are coaching your players the way you were coached, I feel confident in saying that you are not giving them what they want (or candidly, what they need.)
Today’s generation of football players is team oriented. They want to be a part of something and they want to understand the big picture. While pride in belonging remains consistent, the Millennial generation’s respect must be earned. My generation gave deference to the position of coach and respect, at times, out of fear. This generation of kids often raised by helicopter parents does not share the same degree of deference, respect or fear for positions of authority common to earlier cohorts. They tend to trust individuals over institutions. To quote a Marine Corps General and close friend, they (today’s generation) do not care how much you know, until they know how much you care. Today’s players want to be part of a team that is challenging but fair, and builds traits of confidence and self-reliance. A team with a culture of character, and aspirations of confident achievement.
Give them what they want, and you very well may get what you want.
Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at firstname.lastname@example.org and share http://www.olineskills.com with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for your time!